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Praise Through Pain

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LaDale and Cynthia Buggs have seen the Lord’s faithfulness prevail in their marriage and, years later, carry their family through unimaginable grief with the death of their son.

LaDale: “For the first few years of our marriage, Cynthia and I were not united. We were two believers who loved the Lord but did not know how to live in unity with each other. Her struggle with pornography and my extramarital emotional affair reaped havoc on our relationship. It was only through God’s work in our lives through re|engage, Watermark’s marriage ministry, that we realized we were not alone in our struggle, and that hope could be found, through submission to Christ and in community with others.”

Cynthia: “I was so embarrassed by our sins, and LaDale encouraged me to openly share my struggles. Despite our feelings of disappointment and betrayal, we both knew we needed community. When we are stuck in our own bubble, we can get selfish. But living in an authentic, biblical community was very beneficial as we watched others and learned how to follow Jesus.”

L: “Fast forward to 2018. We were pregnant with our third child when Cynthia unexpectedly had to go to the hospital. She was there for two weeks when I got a phone call asking me to get to the hospital immediately. On my way to the hospital, I had a feeling our son, Michael, was gone. I pleaded to God for a miracle, ‘Lord, do it again. Shock the world. You’ve done it so many times in Scripture. You’ve done it in our own lives.’

“I walked into the hospital, and at 27.5 weeks, we lost our son. It was so painful to see the ‘time of birth’ and ‘time of death’ on his records were the same. As I held my son in my hands, I started humming an old tune of ‘Hallelujah’ that my grandma would sing. Cynthia, the doctors, and I sat together, cried, and began to worship.”

C: “There was turmoil and hurt, but I also felt peace like I’ve never experienced before. I couldn’t believe how we were hurting so much but still wanted to praise Jesus.”

L: “I had to tell our community group, our parents, and our daughters the news. The whole time I hadn’t been able to grieve, because I was trying to be strong for the family. The Lord really showed us the body of Christ in that time through the actions of our community and family.

“When our oldest daughter asked me, ‘If God is so good, why would He take Michael?’ Because of my faith and trust in Christ, I was confidently able to say to her, ‘Let me give you a different perspective. It’s like a puzzle that isn’t put together yet. Is it wise to make decisions with half the facts or the entire puzzle? This is why we trust God; He sees the whole puzzle put together.’

“My confidence with my daughter turned to lament when I was alone. I spent a lot of time with the Lord by myself because I knew I needed to grieve. And I did; I cried like a little baby. I knew biblical truth but felt such grief. I called out to the Lord, ‘I know it’s in Your Word. I know Philippians 3:10. But why is it so valuable to share Your suffering with Your children? Lord, Your son raised from the dead in three days. I won’t see my son until You come back.’ “My foundation in God’s Word helped to remind me of God’s promises. I knew God was hurting with me. God knows the ways I should learn to trust and surrender to Him. Like I told my daughter, I don’t know the full, put-together puzzle, so I have to trust Him in every way.”

How has God’s faithfulness remained through your hardships?

L: “We see now that God is using Michael’s death to bring people to freedom in Christ and to bring some clarity to those who’ve lost loved ones. Our daughters went through Shift, Watermark’s grief recovery for kids. There, they learned the Bible, how to apply Scripture to their grief, and the importance of a relationship with Christ. Through our experiences, Cynthia and I are able to trust the Lord even when it doesn’t make sense or is extremely difficult.”

C: “The only way we got through our marriage difficulties and our son’s death was because of our foundation built on God’s Word. It wasn’t what we wanted, but God used His people to help us. We have security and freedom in the Lord because we’ve learned to walk with His Word as our authority. Our experiences have hurt us, but He has a plan. We have hope and trust that God will move. He has never let us down – not even once.”

GriefShare is a safe place to process the hurt and loss caused by the death of a family member, friend, or loved one. Join us Tuesdays, starting February 2 at 6:30 PM.

Kids who have experienced the loss of a loved one can join us on Tuesdays starting January 28 through April 20 for Shift, Watermark’s grief ministry, support, and recovery for kids.