Monday, October 17, 2011

What Do You Do?

A week ago today was a tough day.  One phone call and a friend's deep and sudden loss trickled through the telephone line and took root in my heart.

My heart was been broken over the death of her husband.
What do you do when your life is turned upside-down?

My heart was grieved for the kids in the loss of their dad.
What do you do when one day changes your life forever?

My heart was pierced with fear, anxiety and a desire to cling to my loved ones.
What do you do when peace flits away?

All week, this question of "what if it happened to me?" has hovered around my head.
All week, a sense of dread has settled on my heart, freezing me in place.
All week, a feeling of grief has shadowed my days, sudden tears sneaking out at unexpected times.
All week, my eyes have been opened to the hard parts of life ... losses, hurts, tragedies.

For the most part, my life is sheltered from those painful feelings.  My life is full of typical routines and normal activities.  We go and do and go and do ... and go and do each day with a measure of joy, and ease and peace.

But then a tragedy strikes and that curtain that I have pulled around my life that gives me a sense of security and peace, gets pulled aside a bit and I am faced with a terrible glimpse of the pain of life.  The grief and sadness and cruelty of loss.  It may not be my intimate loss, but there is a loss.  A loss of peace and security.  I want to pull the curtain back around me and hide in its illusion of safety, but the reality is that this darkness is also part of life.

What do you do in the midst of this valley?

This week I found myself responding in a variety of ways.  And in each reaction, I can now see how my faith in my good God wavered.
  • Clinging to my kids and husband ... sometimes quite physically.  If I never let them out of my sight (or grip) then I won't lose them.
  • Cringing at each phone call ... another grieved conversation.  If I stopped talking about it, maybe it would all go away.
  • Fretting over what to do or say to my friend ... anxious to do the right thing.  If I do something wrong, I'll only cause more pain.
In each instance above, my fear and anxiety had their roots in the fact that I was struggling to see God in the midst of this heartache.  I knew that He was present, but I had yet to invite Him in.  I was longing for peace, and the only true source of soul-soothing peace is the Prince of Peace Himself.  Nothing I can do, no curtain that I create, no precaution I can take can replace the peace that comes from Jesus.

As the days pass, the waves of anxiety have also begun to pass.  When I kissed Brett goodbye this morning, my heart didn't constrict with fears of car accidents and freak fires.  When I walked the kids to school this morning, I didn't fret about getting them allll the way safely to their classroom door, but instead said goodbye at the crosswalk.  Like usual.  When sat down to check email, I didn't dread the messages waiting for me ... more sadness to process.  And I think that's good.

I don't think God intends us to live in the shadow of that fear ... in the shadow of "what if's".  He has given us the Holy Spirit with the purpose of sustaining us in the midst of a world that is not kind.  He never promised us a life without pain, but He has promised to give us a Helper when life gets painful.

26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:26-27, emphasis mine)

So I guess that is what you do.  You go to the Prince of Peace and ask Him to remind you of all His promises, everything He has said to you, and let His peace sooth your heart and mind.  I believe He will be faithful to give you His peace.  Again.

It doesn't take away the pain and it doesn't change the circumstances, but somehow with Jesus' presence and His peace, we can see and feel and move through the hard parts of life with less desperation and more dependence.

So that's what I'm doing today ... living within God's peace.  It's enough.


  1. Wow! What a powerful post! I needed to read this today! Thank you for sharing! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! =)

    Have a great day!

  2. Such a gifted writer with a powerful reminder. So sorry to hear about your friend's loss. Big hugs.


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