There’s nothing quite like having the reality of your immortality slap you in the face, as you walk through the gravesite to the plot of where your loved one lays…to be put to rest. Death…that five letter word haunts me. The pain. The suffering, the loss…the grief. These emotions that I know are not derived from the Spirit, though they fill me, I can hardly breathe. I’m trying to swim my way out of it and it’s drowning me faster than I can get out.
Let me go back for a minute…
For awhile now, I have walked with what feels like a dark cloud over my head. It surrounds me like a hawk circles its prey before coming down to devour it’s next meal. Fear ruling my world. It follows me. Consuming my every thought. One minute, I find myself fully functioning in the strength and confidence of the Lord. The next minute, I’m full of doubt and fear. Struggling to stay with Him. My arms extended, reaching for Him as I’m pulled harshly, unlovingly in the opposite direction. It wants to paralyze everything I have inside me. It almost did.
Over the past two years, we have to been to three funerals and walked through five deaths, all sudden or tragic of people that we love. In April, I flew home to Chicago for the hardest funeral so far. The pain of loss…the regret…and fear were unbearable. I was not prepared for this. I didn’t see this one coming.
A week later, I came back home to Texas with my two children. For about five weeks I didn’t leave the house without them. I didn’t let them go to friends houses. If we went somewhere I wanted us all together. If something was going to happen at least we were together. Morbid? Yeah I know. My husband walked out the front door every morning and I was angry. I knew why he was leaving. He was doing nothing wrong. Inside, I was fighting fear that he may not come back. That it could be the last time I saw him. I was angry the enemy was taking over. His grip on me was fierce.
Before I knew it my daughter was getting ready to leave for England to see her father (that in itself was producing anxiety that strangled me). She wanted to see friends before she left. The realistic me knew I couldn’t keep her inside forever. So I dropped her off at our friends house. Hours later, I came back to find out she had fractured both wrists falling off a skateboard. My first reaction was that I should have never let her go anywhere. I should have kept her safe. It was then in that moment that I realized, I can’t control any of this. I can’t keep our lives in a bubble. I can’t anticipate nor can I predict the next day. God has gone before us. He is the only one that knows what is going to happen and how it’s going to happen. I’m wasting away each day believing these lies. She was in the care of people I trust. This could have happened in my care! God was faithful and used it. He used her adventurous spirit to reveal to me again to trust Him. Trust His plans. Is it God’s fault she fractured her wrists? No. Is it my friends fault? No. Is it my fault for letting her go? No.
That is when my fear of death became the death to my fears. See, I can’t protect us from everything. There will be bad experiences. There will be hurt. There will be pain. There will be joy. There will be things to walk through whether we want to or not. In this world, there is no avoiding it. Here’s what I do know. God made my sweet girl adventurous, curious and brave. With that will come joy and heartache. These people that we’ve lost. They’re now living in pure bliss with their maker. They won’t experience any of this again. The joy I have in knowing they were believers is one I can’t fully express in words.
So what I’ve had all along, but this time won’t be reluctant to rest in, is that calm still voice. It pushes me to keep going, keep trusting and believing in His goodness. It’s this presence in my heart that pleas to fight against the paralysis that can so easily happen inside me. It’s faith over fear. It’s bracing myself for living this life on earth braced by faith and nothing else.
Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Jesus. 1Thessalonians 5:16-18