Hi, my name is Janet Boxx. I’m a wife, a mother and a follower of Jesus Christ. Like many of you, my life has not been a walk in the park. It’s been challenging in a number of ways and has caused me to examine my beliefs, almost everything I thought I knew about God, with what His word actually says about Him. I’m comfortable with my struggle, but well, I’m afraid that other believers may not be comfortable with my confrontational approach as I question and search for understanding.
I am in desperate need of real answers, real truth, and am a big believer in authenticity. Therefore, I’m not known to “drink the kool-aid” so to speak. I hate platitudes and simplistic answers to complicated issues. I believe the Bible is the inspired, infallible word of God, and that every word is “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness” just as 2 Timothy 3:16 proclaims. Heaven knows I don’t always get it right, and at times I concede that I cannot find an answer, at which point I choose to trust that the Holy Spirit will reveal it in time or will enable me to find peace in spite of my questions. I’m open to others questioning my conclusions, I just ask that questions and comments are not worded as an attack. Feel free to point me to another scripture and ask that I consider it in light of the conclusions I’ve drawn.
A little background may help you understand my blog posts, so here is my life in a nutshell. I married my husband, David, in 1987. Our son, Cole, was stillborn on Father’s Day, June 21, 1992. We went on to have three beautiful daughters. Bethany was born in November of 1993, Gracen in December of 1995, and Katie arrived in October of 1997.
We noticed some developmental concerns when Gracen was about a year of age. Katie developed similar issues around her first birthday as well. Their physical issues were minor and the pediatrician was not concerned. But as Gracen and Katie grew, the issues became more pronounced, affecting both their fine and gross motor functions which impacted daily life and learning. Fifteen years and multiple doctor’s appointments and tests later, in the Spring of 2012, we finally received a diagnosis. Gracen and Katie had been born with a rare form of Muscular Dystrophy. ARSACS is a progressive neuromuscular disease. The prognosis was not pretty and we were devastated. I had so hoped a diagnosis would lead to a cure – a medication or treatment that would give the girls a normal life. During that fifteen-year time span, Gracen also developed chronic daily migraine headaches. Life was challenging, to say the least.
The day after Christmas 2013, life got harder. As we returned home from celebrating Christmas with family, our van was involved in a three-vehicle collision. Bethany and Katie died that afternoon. My first blog post was written a few months later, in March of 2014. I’ve edited that post in order to correct minor details I was unaware of when it was originally written and posted on Facebook. Otherwise, it remains as it was.
My hope is that my posts will serve to validate the feelings of others who are struggling with difficult circumstances and trying to assimilate their feelings and beliefs, as they too, try to hold on, get through, and avoid bitterness.
So welcome to our world. Join me as I continue to live life in the Refiner’s fire. In and out I go as God allows the dross to rise and be swept away until He can see His reflection as He looks upon me. Please share your thoughts (speaking the truth in love) and let iron sharpen iron as we banter back and forth struggling our way through this life until God calls us home.
March 10, 2016 at 4:57 pm
I’m lost for words ❤️
Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC
June 2, 2016 at 11:27 pm
As always, clicking “like” to a post such as this is confusing. I “like” your bravery as you keep putting one foot in front of the other and as you blog to help others by sharing your journey, and that you have a strong faith through which you can view the traumas in your life in any manner other than bitterness and despair.
I do NOT “like” reading about what happened, however — not because it makes me uncomfortable, but because I can feel your pain and I hate that you have to find some positive way to live on in spite of it.
The words below introduce the reason for a little book by that helped me deal with trauma, a gift from a Christian couple who have been amazing in their support:
“We pass much of life – if not most of life – at mid-altitude. Occasionally we summit a peak: our wedding, a promotion, the birth of a child. But most of life is lived at midlevel. Mondayish obligations of carpools, expense reports, and recipes.
But on occasion the world bottoms out. The dune buggy flips, the housing market crashes, the test results come back positive, and before we know it, we discover what the bottom looks like.” ~ You’ll get through this ~ Max Lucado
If you don’t already own it (and have the brain-power to read at all) you too might find it centering and helpful. Sending prayers your way.
(Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
– ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
“It takes a village to transform a world!”
June 16, 2016 at 5:58 pm
Hi Madelyn, and thank you for your kind comments and encouragement!
Things have been a bit challenging around here of late so I haven’t visited my blog site much other than to pop in quickly here or there. I look forward to checking out your site.
Thanks for sharing the quote from Max Lucado – I Love him! I haven’t read that particular book yet, and honestly, these days non-fiction doesn’t hold a lot of appeal. (I think I’ve enjoyed a little too much reality to appreciate it.) I do however, consume copious amounts of fiction. There a happy ending is almost always guaranteed. Fiction also enables me to escape my own drama whereas non-fiction leads me to further evaluate my own circumstances – which is not always a good thing! I used to read a lot of non-fiction, and I’m sure I’ll return to it one day, so I will add this Lucado book to my Future Reads book list!
Thanks for stopping by and checking out Boxxbanter! I hope you find something here that blesses or encourages you!
Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC
June 16, 2016 at 6:51 pm
You’ll Get Through This is a *little* Lucado book – one of those page-at-a-time, almost (but not really) prayer pieces – but I can certainly understand your preference for fiction with guaranteed happy endings.
I can also understand needing to take time off from the internet. It was months before I was up for blogging at all – even though I still pushed myself to stop by now and then to approve comments and respond to them briefly. I am slowly reengaging with life – mostly through writing and reading, for now. We do what we are able.
Thank you for taking time to respond to my comment here. You will be welcome on my blog whenever you feel up to visiting. It’s Evergreen content, so it’s not like you will miss anything 🙂 – so no need to rush your own healing process simply because I left a comment here.
July 21, 2016 at 3:52 pm
What a heartbreaking story! I feel just awful reading about your struggle. Author Ron Dunn has a few books I really like, Faith Crisis and When Heaven is Silent. I would recommend them. I lost a son on a mission trip and it took me 20 years to finally write my book about it. I wrote it as much for myself as I did for others. It doesn’t give answers, because there are none, instead it is just a honest and raw memoir of what its like to loose both a child and question your faith. By sharing your doubts, anger, and fears here on this blog you are actually offering the best help anyone can hope for…companionship. It always best to walk through a dark alley holding the hand of someone who has been through it before. God Bless you!
July 21, 2016 at 4:08 pm
We’ve spoken before – several months back. I read about the loss of your son. Please accept my sincere condolences. Such events completely reshape us – in my humble opinion. We simply are never the same; not to imply there is no healing, we just think differently and see others as filtered through a lens of grief and empathy.
Thanks for the book recommendations. I have found I am not really able to read non-fiction at this time. I read copious amounts of fiction (my grief counselor says I’m numbing the pain – I guess through avoidance). But one day I think I will be ready to face non-fiction in lengths longer than the standard blog post. Maybe even as Gracen’s health deteriorates as I know what desperation feels like and someone who has a better grip on the scriptures than I can often make painful spiritual truths more palatable. So thank you for sharing the book titles. I belong to a faith-based bereaved parents Facebook group and I will share your suggestions there. We all need a little help!
Thanks for your kindness, Gene!
July 21, 2016 at 4:39 pm
One thing I learned over the years is that we have to lean into our grief. Avoiding the pain only prolongs it. That’s easier said than done, but it is the truth. I will pray for you. It took me eight years before I finally found the nerve to confront my grief.
July 21, 2016 at 5:16 pm
I’ve been dealing with all the spiritual issues surrounding the deaths of my daughters and Gracen’s progressive disease. But the pain, that I pretty much stuff in my own personal Pandora’s box. Part of that is knowing that my emotions surrounding Gracen’s disease affect her. She has enough of a load to carry without adding the burden of my fears, anger, despair . . . and the list goes on. I want her to be comfortable coming to me with her problems and emotions instead of feeling as if it will hurt me too much. The last thing she needs is anymore isolation.
However, stuffing my pain has become a habitual exercise and I’m not really sure how to go about opening that box in order to confront all those emotions and actually “feel” them instead of looking at them from an analytical perspective. Hence the continued grief counseling. Maybe after Gracen returns to school in the fall I will figure out how to vent those emotions and learn a new way to deal with new ones as Gracen’s disease continues to progress. Because unless the Lord decides to tarry no longer, I will walk with her through ever increasing health issues – that’s just the sad truth not a pessimistic outlook.
One thing I can say is that I don’t deny or ignore my grief. I do my best to confront it, to accept it. I don’t know if that’s what you mean by leaning in to my grief, but I think that’s what I’m trying to do.
Thanks for the encouragement!
July 21, 2016 at 5:22 pm
By the way, your daughter’s article was so insightful and very well written. Please pass on my appreciation and let her know that several women from my grief support group have shared it as well. It is ministering to others.
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July 21, 2016 at 5:27 pm
Thanks, she’ll appreciate hearing that. She has been journaling as she goes through her own personal hell right now. She read it to me and I asked her if she’d allow me to post it. I thought it was a great analogy.
July 21, 2016 at 5:29 pm
I’m sorry to hear she is going through a rough time!
November 7, 2016 at 10:31 am
I pray for your family often. I grew up at Blue Ridge Bible Church and know the Boxx family well. Your faith is a true inspiration to me.
November 7, 2016 at 12:18 pm
Your name is familiar to me, but I can’t remember if we have ever actually met in person. Please forgive me for that! You should make a point of saying “hi” next time we attend a Blue Ridge service which will likely happen between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Thank you for your prayers! I don’t really know how to respond when anyone refers to my faith as inspirational. I, of course, see the struggles and failures – the ugly. I guess that’s why the Bible tells us that God’s strength is perfected in our weaknesses. The Holy Spirit shines through the cracks of our brokenness. Maybe I just need to stand here broken so others can see Christ through my obvious imperfections! I do appreciate your kind words as it is a fearful thing to lift the veil, so to speak, and allow others to see the pain and struggle. It leaves me vulnerable to judgment and criticism at the very heart of my being; to which I am hyper-sensitive! That’s the cost of authenticity. It is still a very fearful thing for me!
The genuine authenticity of your faith is inspirational to someone as well.
I have the best in-laws! Pass a hug on to Donna and Sunny from me the next time you see them. It will make their day and earn me brownie points. (I can just imagine their smiles)!
February 5, 2017 at 10:51 pm
I am so sorry you lost so many! My belief is God will not give us more than we can handle. I lost my father at 47 yrs old in 1982, 3 yrs later, my baby sister was called home at 15 yrs old in 1985, then my brother lost his baby girl at 7 days old, in 1987. It was 2003, when MY son was MURDERED, a whole different set of grief. Every one of my losses from my dad, then my sister, then my niece, and HOPEFULLY last, my son.
The only reason I am still here, is Psalms 23:4. Yay, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death….the grief for each loss, was very different. I followed in the footsteps of my mother , almost identically, so we have that special bond. We both lost our youngest child. She lost her husband, my dad, I lost my husband to him rejecting both of our boys not wanting anything to with them. Then my brother lost his baby, born 3 months premature. She was too small to make it. But he says he really didn’t have time to get attached. (Different from a mothers). My ex-husband. ..doesn’t know his boys at all. The circumstances in my mother’s life and mind, seem like a coincidence, but I don’t believe that. I don’t believe in circumstances. God has a plan. But I have no idea what it could be. I grieve just like my mother, but it never stops hurting. Peace to all grieving parents. ♡♡♡
February 5, 2017 at 11:52 pm
Thanks for reading and commenting, Dottie. I’m so very sorry for the multitude of losses you have faced yourself. I think Isaiah 57:1 is the verse that gives me the most comfort. The heart – it heals it it always longs for those who are absent. Always longing for reunion and for redemption. And one day we will experience the most glorious of reunions!
February 11, 2017 at 6:09 pm
Really enjoyed you as I read your words…Some sad moments some comfortable and familiar moments but I felt a connection. A good one. I love the Lord very much he is my Everything. My Strenght to continue Living. Its been a difficult life…then my son died. Well there is so much more. Ive had a very Experiential miraculous conversion but Im very cautious of Religion, preachers, etc and have a very investigative nature. The Word is my guide and I too pray the Father show me the way in his way and time. Life is Winderful and worth living Because of him. Would love to get to know you better. So sorry for your Pain and Loss. Sincerely, Cathy.
February 11, 2017 at 6:15 pm
Thank you for taking the time to reply to my blog post. I’m sorry to hear about the loss of your son. Of all of life’s difficulties the death of my children have been the most crushing. I’m a pretty open book in my blog. You will get to know me fairly well as you read through my various posts. I hope you will write back again and let me get to know you as well. Praying God’s blessings for you, Cathy.
February 12, 2017 at 12:21 am
So glad to have found your blog. You seem to be one for whom only the Truth will do. I share your desire for real answers and real Truth and look forward to reading more of your material. Blessings in the Lord to you.
February 12, 2017 at 9:07 am
Yes, only the Truth will do. What good are lies except to deceive ourselves and bring more pain further down the road when they are proven untrue. Thanks for stopping by Boxx Banter. I look forward to reading You Can Trust Him!
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June 10, 2017 at 2:46 pm
It pains me to even read this. I’m so incredibly sorry for the heartache you’re enduring. 3 beautiful lives gone in a heartbeat. Stay strong, mama. You are in my thoughts x
June 10, 2017 at 7:22 pm
Thank you so much for your concern and encouragement. I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment on my blogpost. I will be stopping by our site as well.
June 15, 2017 at 3:15 pm
so so sorry for your loss Janet. My Lydia 23 took her life 16 months ago. I pray for the day I die so I can be out of this unbearable pain. My Lydia did not believe in God, so because of my beliefs, I believe she is not with god and not at peace. this is my unbearable pain!!!
June 15, 2017 at 6:12 pm
Sandy, I’m so sorry for the loss of your daughter, Lydia, and the torment you have been living with ever since. Grief is hard enough, but it is exponentially worse when you fear and despair for your child’s eternal future. I have stood in your shoes, but for not nearly as long.
My oldest daughter Bethany was walking far from the faith of her youth when she died. In fact Bethany proclaimed herself to be an agnostic several months before her death. Sometime in the week before Christmas the year she died, she told me that she thought Christians were immoral because they push their teachings on others then judge and criticize them. My heart was broken as my mind flashed back to the scripture that tells us that in the end times good will be proclaimed evil and evil good. I distinctly remember turning away and thinking, there is time. Time for her to see the world around her differently as she experienced life as an adult and on her own. I knelt by her side on the highway’s shoulder that day and was struck by the fact that I didn’t know where she was at that moment. This torment is indescribable and I felt as if I could not talk about it because I knew what the Bible said. Nothing makes that reality any easier to live with.
I will, however, ask if there was ever a point in her life where she made a profession of faith, whether she was five or 18?
Bethany was young when she got saved. In the face of her belligerent rejection of Christianity, I tortured myself with wondering if she understood what she was doing when she prayed for salvation at such a young age. Three months after her death I found a journal entry written when she was sixteen years of age. In that journal she verbalized her faith in Christ and a desire to follow Him. That was an enormous relief to me. But still . . . I fear.
I’ve chosen to believe that she was saved in spite of her more recently acquired beliefs. John 10:28 is prominently displayed on her headstone. It reveals my fear as well as my desire to cling to the truth of God’s word. Below find John 10:28 and 29:
“I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them out of My hand. My Father who has given them to Me is greater than all. No one can snatch them out of My Father’s hand.…”
The picture those verses describe is that Jesus holds His children in his hand, then God the Father covers Christ’s hand with His own. He firmly states that NO ONE can pry a believer from either hand. I think God knows and understands our fears in the face of death. If we believe in the power and character of Christ we should be able to simply believe that our loved ones are safe in Christ’s care, but fear drives us to worry anyway. What if nags us. How can we be confident that Christ’s power is adequate? Yet, instead of rebuking us for our fears His word provides a second layer of assurance that both His hand and a Christ’s hands hold us tightly and safely.
A former music minister used an adoption analogy to address the subject of assurance of salvation. It is a controversial subject subject among various Christian denominations, for sure, but one I chose to accept and embrace long ago. He said when you adopt a child a new birth certificate is issued that shows the parents as the adoptive parents, not the birth parents. Likewise, when we become believers, a similar exchange takes place, we are adopted into God’s family. We only come to God through adoption. Should an adopted child rejects his parents, turn away from them and never see them again, and refuse to acknowledge them as his parents, it doesn’t change the fact that they are in the eyes of the law, legally his parents. Denial and rejection mean nothing. The same is true of God our Father. We are children of the king whether we acknowledge that truth or not.
My hope is that you can look back and remember a moment or a time period where Lydia became a child of God. It only takes faith the size of a mustard seed (the smallest seed in creation) to be saved.
You may not be able to point to such a moment, however, as we are not always a party to those moments. But we can hope. We can hope. The truth is that in spite of finding Bethany’s journal entry, there are still moments where panic assails me. She is the first person I hope to see when I step into eternity. I’d say I’m probably 80 percent confident she will be there, but I will always carry some level of doubt and fear.
On the subject of death, I spoke to one of the founders of the While We’re Waiting Bereaved Parents Support Group quite awhile ago and she told me she thinks almost every bereaved parent desires or welcomes death in the aftermath of their loss. Most have no plan to act on those feelings, but those thoughts and feelings are common. You are normal (in case you thought you were losing your sanity).
I am praying that God will reveal something like Bethany’s journal to you that will end your torment and grant you peace. My heart hurts for you as I know that of all the things we deem important in life, when it comes right down to it, only faith in Christ matters in the end. Ask Him to provide for you what you cannot do for yourself. He does not want you to live in endless torment! He invites you to cast your burdens on him and to reason with Him. He knew exactly how you would respond to Lydia’s death. He wants to comfort and console you.
And should you find some assurance that Lydia trusted in Christ for salvation, then consider this verse for why God might have allowed her to exercise her free will and take her life.
“The righteous man perishes [at the hand of evil], and no one takes it to heart;
Faithful and devout men are taken away, while no one understands
That the righteous person is taken away [to be spared] from disaster and evil.
He enters into peace [through death];
They rest in their beds (graves), . . . ”
Isaiah 57:1-2 (AMP)
God bless you, Sandy!
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November 30, 2021 at 8:19 am
I cannot thank you enough for your honesty and transparency. I am so sorry for all you have endured!
I, too, am a mother and follower of Christ who has lost two of my three children, one just recently to Covid.
I do not understand why God allows the things He does, but am trying to be faithful.
I am grateful for your willingness to share your story. God bless you!
November 30, 2021 at 11:40 am
Jan, I am so sorry to hear of your many and great losses! My heart aches for you! Thank you for reaching out.
If I could give you any advice at all, it would be to do what I failed to do well myself. Stay in the word! A chapter. A paragraph. A sentence. There is power in the Word of God! If you read Hunger Strike you will see the truth of my failure to do so. Don’t use it as an excuse to do the same as it is my biggest mistake and greatest shame. Use my testimony both good and bad as encouragement and determination to do better for your benefit and His glory! Stay in communication with Christ even if it is to tell Him that you don’t understand, that you’re angry, hurt, confused, frustrated, resigned, discouraged, defeated, broken, utterly shattered, or that you want to run away and hide from Him and His plans because right now they hurt. He has broad shoulders. He knows it all anyway but wants you to cast it upon Him—to be open and honest and your true and vulnerable self with Him. He can handle your thoughts feelings. His character is unchanging so don’t interpret His feelings toward you based upon your circumstances. Look for His daily mercies. Remember that feelings aren’t facts and thoughts aren’t necessarily true. And know deep in your soul that He will redeem all the sorrows of your life in His time. He will!
I recently watched a YouTube video of a ladies conference on 10/29/22 in which Sunshine Meister spoke about an accident in which her young son suffered a traumatic brain injury and the things she’s learned through suffering. Her response puts me to shame. She also reveals that this trauma isn’t the only one she’s suffered in life, lending authority to the wise advice she offers for suffering with strength and courage. A link to her message follows and begins @ 38 minutes. I hope it will bolster you as you navigate your journey from grief to healing. But if you chose not to watch it, or if your grief is too raw to listen to the entire message please allow me to give you a few nuggets for meditation that spoke to my heart.
1. Suffering is a sacred trust.
2. Jesus is WORTHY of the testimony of our faith and our trust that He can and will carry us through the very worst of circumstances because He is WITH us through it all. (He’s already proven that He can do so in your life. He won’t fail you now!)
3. In acceptance lies peace.
If you are not aware there is a faith-based, non-profit ministry that has been a great help to me. It’s called While We’re Waiting. They offer free retreats to bereaved parents and a private Facebook page in which you can connect with other bereaved believers mourning the unique loss of a child, podcasts, etc. all of their services are offered free of charge. You can learn more online at whilewerewaiting.org. You will find support, encouragement and a safe place to vent and work through your thoughts, feelings and questions. I hope you will check it out!
Joining Christ and the Holy Spirit as they intercede with the Father’s from His right hand and within your heart today. May God fill you with peace beyond comprehension in the midst of your sorrow and reveal His near presence through the provision of your needs and kindness of friends, family and strangers as you wait with the patience of Abraham for God to fulfill His promises, secured by His oath. Hebrews 7:13-20 (which was part of my Bible study plan this morning—surely not a coincidence!) God is your comfort—the secure and steadfast anchor of your soul. He will experience every heartache and fear with you and the Holy Spirit will meticulously transform your broken heart and renew your mind as you share your suffering with Him. He is faithful! You are His beloved!