Planning Funerals that Won’t Happen Today

by Lysa TerKeurst August 22, 2019
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“My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Psalm 139:15-16 (NIV)
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Several years ago, my then-teenage son came to me and asked if he could take his brother and sisters to go get ice cream. How fun! How thoughtful! "Sure," I said, "Let me grab my keys and we'll go."

"No, Mom — we sort of want to go just us kids," he quickly replied.

"Oh," and that's about all I could get my mouth to say as my brain started racing and reeling. In my mind, pictures started flashing of a terrible accident, a phone call from the police, planning a funeral and then thinking back to this moment when I could have said No.

And it was that strange sense that everything depended on me and my decisions that made me want to say: No. Absolutely not. You will stay home today. You will all stay home forever. I have to keep you safe.

Most of us moms live with this gnawing, aching, terrifying fear that something will happen to one of our children. We carry the pressure that ultimately everything rises and falls on whether or not we can control things. And mentally, too often we plan funerals that won't happen today.

We do it because we know the realities of living in a broken world where car accidents happen. Tragedy strikes old and young alike. We have no guarantees for tomorrow. And that's really hard on a mama's heart. When I was a teenager, I lost my baby sister in a tragic way — so I know devastating realities can happen.

If you’ve lost someone you love, I wish I could reach through this screen, squeeze your hand and whisper, “I’m so sorry. I understand. It’s such a deep, deep pain.” And a pain that we fear happening again.

That’s where I was as I stood at the front window of my house fretting and watching as the entire contents of my mama heart piled into one car.

And I realized I had a choice.

I could run myself ragged creating a false sense of control that can’t really protect them. Or, I could ask God to help me make wise decisions and choose to park my mind on the truth, which is:

God has assigned each of my kids a certain number of days.

My choices can add to the quality of their life, but not the quantity. They could be at home tucked underneath my wings, and if it's their day to go be with Jesus, they will go.

Our key verse confirms this: "My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be" (Psalm 139:15-16).

Jesus conquered death so we don’t have to be afraid of it any longer.

Of course, the death of anyone I love would make me devastatingly sad, heartbroken and absolutely dazed with grief. But I don't have to be held captive by the fear of death.

"Since the children have flesh and blood, he [Jesus] too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death — that is, the devil — and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death" (Hebrews 2:14-15, NIV).

Death is only a temporary separation. We will be reunited again.

In 2 Samuel 12, when David's infant child died, he confidently said, "I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me" (v. 23b KJV). David knew he would see his child again — not just a faceless soul without an identity, but this child for whom he was longing. He would know him, hold him and kiss him. The separation death caused would be over.

I know these are heavy things to process on a Thursday morning. And I certainly don’t claim that these truths will help you never, ever fear again. But I do hope these truths will settle your heart into a better place. A place where your heart is consumed with truth instead of fear.

Dear Lord, the fear of something happening to one of my children is so raw. But if I focus on this fear, it will consume me. Instead, help me focus on You, so I'll only be consumed with Your truth, Your love, Your insights and Your power. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Matthew 6:27, "Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?" (NIV)


Perhaps your heart is broken because you’ve recently walked through the difficult pain of an unexpected funeral. Or maybe you’re grief-stricken over the death of what you thought your life would look like. Discover how to navigate these hard realities with real help from God's Word in Lysa TerKeurst’s new book, It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way. Order your copy here.

Do you feel like you’re running on empty? Download the free “God, You Are Enough” declaration and place it by your bed, on your desk or next to your mirror and remind yourself that God is always by your side, no matter how chaotic life gets. Get my free download here!


You can connect with Lysa on a daily basis on her Facebook and Instagram.


Are there any fears concerning your children you need God to help you overcome? Join in the conversation here.

© 2019 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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