Tonya and I went through the worse possible event a parent can go through, the loss of a child. Rebekah Jo, our youngest daughter, passed away in a tragic motorcycle accident. 

When we first received the news, we were numb. Everything stopped for a moment. We couldn’t believe it.

Then, just a few moments later, the pain of the loss settled in; it was excruciating and gut-wrenching. Tears flowed uncontrollably. Waling. Breathing became a task. I felt helpless. Eating was a fleeting thought.

The hope of future happy days seemed impossible to fathom as the weeks passed. I felt lonely even though many expressed their love and support.

A month after Rebekah’s death, we celebrated her life with family and friends. I thought,

“Surely, after her service, this pain would start to dissipate. It has to get better.”

Sadly, it didn’t. Understandably so.

I have learned that the feeling of emptiness and pain over the loss of a child never really goes away, but I will learn to live and thrive in it with the help of God and His people. Those words were discouraging but not hopeless.

It says in Micah 7:8, “Do not gloat over me, my enemies! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light.” (NIV)

There are two truths in this verse.

  • First, I will fall and be in the dark.
  • Second, I will rise and be in God’s light.

My enemies of depression, anxiety, anger, bitterness, sadness, and aloneness were winning, but not for long. They are losing now. I decided to gaze at God and His word instead of my loss. I sought good counsel, and I am receiving help.  

Though I will always feel the loss of Rebekah, I have decided to lean on Jesus and not just survive but thrive. I still cry when something reminds me of her. But here is my rise-up story; I am living, laughing, and smiling and intend to do much more in the future.

Check out the Rise Up series. It started on July 10, 2022, and ended on September 4, 2022.

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David Towner is the pastor of The Harbor Church, and the author of the book Today Is My Favorite Day. He is married to Tonya and has three daughters (one is in heaven) and four grandsons. 

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