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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Weary (05/03/12)

TITLE: Fortress
By Torey Barrett


The tree was adorned with lights and the decorations were set like they always were. My sister and I sat at our usual places next to the tree and handed out gifts to our dad. With each tear of the paper, soft Christmas music played in the background, filling the room with the well known feeling of Christmas day. The smiles that were deceptively cracked across our faces were stained with the tears and warm pain that festered in us all. Just one month earlier my mother had passed away. It was hard to jump into these festivities knowing that only so many weeks before we had all stood around a polished wooden coffin, saying good-bye to the woman we all loved more than anything in the world. God had finally lifted her soul out of that cancer laced body and taken her home. I found relief knowing that she wasn't suffering anymore, but at the same time it was like red hot pain coursing through my veins.

"Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him." 1 Thessalonians 5:13-14 -NKJV

We tried to make that day the best that we possibly could. We opened gifts in the particular order that we always had,watched the same TV specials, and later we made the same big meal. However, it was far from normal. I'm not exactly sure how my sister and father were feeling throughout the day, but for me there was this huge hole in my world. In everything we did through those hours, I found myself continuously saying silent prayers to help me make it through. Every time I felt the sadness pulling especially hard at my heart, a delicately placed image of my mother in Heaven would unfold in my mind. I could imagine her standing up with Jesus and getting to see her mother and my dad's parents again. I could see her being reunited with every person she had ever loved who might have passed away already. It was a great comfort.

At some point in the day I stowed away to my room to read a scripture that had been helping me to breathe over the past year since this tragedy had unfolded.

"Since you are my rock and fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me. Free me from the trap that is set for me, for you are my refuge. Into your hands I commit my spirit; redeem me, O Lord, the God of truth." Psalm 31 -NKJV

Every single time I read that scripture, it felt as if those words were leaping off the page and shooting straight into my heart. It was as though the writing was screaming at me, telling me that God was going to make everything ok. He was going to heal my cracked, tired heart and fill my life with sincere happiness again. I felt like He was telling me that I was not alone and I was not abandoned in my severe agony. God would never leave me. Before I went back downstairs to celebrate the rest of Christmas with my family, I sat in the silence of my room. I listened to all the hurt inside of me fighting to drain my spirit and then, I let all the anguish quiet itself with the sweep of God's hand over my heart.

Scriptures from NKJV

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This article has been read 251 times
Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 05/12/12
My condolences on your significant loss. And, thank you for sharing a piece of your heart with us.

That passage that you read to give you strength is powerful. Psalms are soothing and reconfirming of God's love and Sovereign nature. I am glad He gave you the peace you needed to take you through the process.

Your mom is at peace dancing with the angels...you will keep her in your heart always until you meet again one day.

Thank you for this moving and touching story.

God bless you,

Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 05/12/12
This is beautiful. There is nothing like grief during the holidays to make on weary. The Christmas after my mom died was so difficult. You did a wonderful job capturing all of that emotional turmoil.
Cynthia Dawson05/13/12
Your article was beautiful,sad, heartwarming, encouraging and touching. It made me think of my own mother who is still with me but about how terribly bad I will miss her when she is no longer here. So sorry for your loss.
Glynis Becker05/14/12
Those first holidays are always so difficult. Great scripture references and descriptions of the emotional upheaval that death brings. God bless you and thank you for sharing this entry.