Have you ever found yourself lost whilst trying to get somewhere new? The feeling of fear and confusion that washes over you as you realize you are not at all familiar with your surroundings is uncomfortable to say the least.
That feeling is a perfect description of how I have felt over the last several months…lost. Not in trying to find a physical destination so to speak, but trying to find my footing in this new season. After losing my Dad, caring for my Mom and her passing within 16 months of my Dad’s passing, I felt lost. I felt lost in my grief, in my identity, in my security and even in my faith. I felt as though the world around me was moving and carrying on but I was at a stand still not knowing which way to move. The grief I was experiencing was wrapped in trauma and present in both the life and death of my mom. I realized after her passing that I had been grieving my mom the entire time she’d lived in our home. She wasn’t well and sickness had taken her personality, her zest for life and her ability to show and communicate emotion in ways she always had.
When I watched her take her last breath, I was shaken like I never thought possible. I tried to carry on and “do” all the things I knew to do but nothing on the inside was shifting. The lost feeling I felt kept deepening instead of lifting. Hopelessness began to creep in that I would never find my way back to any kind of normal. For the first time ever as a believer, when God would try to speak to me in comfort it was like I’d put my hand over His mouth because I began to believe that nothing He could say could make me feel better about my Mom’s failing health and ultimate passing. It was the hardest two years caring for her and it ended in her death…it was not fair and I didn’t want to hear Him. I never even realized I was doing this and refusing to engage with the Lord until I found myself in an awful downward spiral…my physical, mental and spiritual health were suffering, I needed help.
I found myself on a silent retreat on an old plantation in Louisiana and the Lord met me there. I grieved, I cried, I repented and I began to let God heal my heart. I stepped out of my hopelessness and into His arms as He gently whispered renewed hope to my spirit. I am slowly finding my way, by the grace of God. He has shown me that even in death and grief that He is indeed a good, good Father. I heard a pastor say recently that mourning can either lead you to God or to unbelief and my independent processing of my grief was thrusting me towards unbelief. But, I’m thankful that on a dirt path alongside the Mississippi River God grabbed my heart in such a powerful way that I could almost tangibly feel Him walking beside me, like an old friend. I KNEW He was with me and He was healing my heart. My faith was being renewed, my unbelief was diminishing and my feet were made sure on the path back to the security of who I am and who He is in my life. He is everything I need and I can trust Him.
Friends, I encourage you, whatever you’re walking through, engage with your Heavenly Father. It doesn’t take a retreat (although I know a great place) it simply requires an engaged and open heart willing to receive. Open your heart and mind to hear Him and allow Him to lead you through and heal those broken pieces of your life. What He constructs from our brokenness will be far more beautiful than our finite minds can imagine. No matter how lost you may feel in your situation, God knows right where you are and is ready to be everything you need. Also, if you are struggling with grief of any kind, please reach out to someone. There are several great resources I could point you to for grief support, if it would help. It is a process, but you can make it through.
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23 (NKJV)