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A Sword Will Pierce Your Soul

“Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” Luke 2:34-35 (NIV)

When Jesus was a baby, Mary and Joseph took him to the temple to present him to the Lord as was the custom in those days. A man called Simeon, who we are told was “righteous and devout”, took the baby Jesus in his arms and spoke the above words.

What stands out for me is that Mary was told that as a result of all that her son would suffer “a sword would pierce her soul”.

Jesus came to earth to die for our sins, which is incredibly good news. Was Mary told “don’t worry, be happy“, because this would all work out for the best? No, Mary was told “a sword will pierce your own soul“.

Even two thousand years ago, there was a profound understanding of the love of a mother for her child, and the utter devastation that a parent feels when their child suffers and dies.

Our daughter Leah faced death with serenity and without fear. I know that she’s in a much better place and that she is rejoicing forevermore – a princess united with her King.

However, for my husband and me, Leah’s illness and death is like a sword in our hearts. Leah’s passing has left a gaping hole in our family. Sometimes my grief is so overwhelming that I wonder if my kids feel like they’ve lost their mummy as well as their sister. Grieving just drains our emotional energy as parents.

There’s so much to process. Leah had just nine months from diagnosis to death. We’re still trying to take it all in. Sometimes I even struggle to believe that the events of 2013 really happened.

One of the big supermarket chains has a slogan called “rollback” where they claim to rollback their prices to a time when things were cheaper. Since Leah died I’ve often fantasised about being able to roll my life back to an earlier time when ALL four of our kids got off the school bus at our house every day and I had their dinner ready.
However, that is not an option, we can’t go back, we can only go forward, trusting that each day we will be given the grace and strength that we need for life’s journey:

The sovereign Lord is my source of strength.
He gives me the agility of a deer;
he enables me to negotiate the rugged terrain.

Habakkuk 3:19 (NET)

Vicky Whyte

Vicky lives in Northern Ireland with her husband and two younger children. All she ever wanted in life was to get married, have kids, serve Jesus and love other people. Just quietly and without too much excitement. Her favorite spare time activities are catching up with friends or getting lost in a good book. Then, in 2013, family life changed forever. Leah, the second eldest of their four children, was diagnosed with a rare genetic mutation and went through a bone marrow transplant. Nine months after her initial diagnosis, Leah developed a rare side effect of her treatment and died shortly after her 16th birthday. Devastated and heartbroken by her daughter's death, Vicky has found that blogging helps her to trace the rainbows through the rain and see God's hand in everything.

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