Not long ago, when I traveled to North Carolina to minister to others, I was reminded of that horrific era of grief. While out walking, I viewed the crumbling plant life and stared at the leafless trees, barren bushes, and brown grass. The pre-winter gloom took me back to that dark time in my life, and I reflected on the feelings and emotions that pummeled me after the death of my son, Lucas. My journey through anguished grief challenged me in ways I had never imagined, let along experienced as a mother. As I looked at the vegetation, I grabbed a dry leaf and decimated it with my fingers, furrowing my brow. I fought back tears as I watched the wind carry the pieces away. My heart was as dull and barren as these dormant plants. Recalling the many days, months and years following my son's death, stepping one foot in front of the other took mustering energies in maintaining daily tasks that had become suspended and disrupted in oppressive grief. My life had suddenly come to a halt from normal and I was stuck in this period of waiting. I can vividly remember waiting for my new normal where I intimately craved the living waters of God’s Spirit to wash my stagnated heart, reviving my body, soul and spirit.
Just as these plants were being nourished by an unseen source of life, so was I being nourished by the hidden source of the Spirit’s power in that place of sorrow and death.
It was in this sphere of a dark, cold, hibernating state of being, I had encountered an experiential reality of what it means to walk by faith. In finishing my walk this day, I was reminded not to rely on what I can see, feel, taste, or touch with my human limited understanding. My belief and trust in God as my source for all I need became the raw material aiding me to walk in the valley of the shadow of death. There were days and months when I found it impossible to believe this cold season would ever end. But one day, I woke up and realized my pain did not feel as intense. I discovered I could laugh without feeling guilty. A sense of peace settled my weary soul and gave me the energy to face a new day. I, once again, could breathe without heart crushing pain. I felt as though I had suddenly awakened from a long slumber. My breath flowed easily, smoothly, without restriction. There was a deeper understanding that my faith is not determined through tangible sensing of God’s presence; even when I feel alone. I’ve learned God is still with me, regardless of what my emotions are telling me. I can still have faith even when everything feels desolate, barren and dull. During that season, God nurtured my faith and taught me to depend on the truth in Scriptures, where His promises steady my soul. Although I will always treasure the honor of being Lucas’ mom, I had to learn how to continue my spiritual journey in this world without him.
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