Being Brave….The very word conjures up visions of of a barechested warrior with painted face, crossbow and arrows galloping barebacked on a sinewy stallion. Or on a more contemporary note, a firefighter in full gear rushing into a burning building to save the desperate ones trapped inside.
But me? “Brave”??
Hmmm…no thank you! I’ve lived long enough to know what it means to be brave…..long enough to know the costs.
As much as we’d love to have bravery similar to the great epic films onscreen, for most of us, bravery is something as simple as finding the ‘strength’ to carry on another day.
Have you ever wanted to simply, quietly, just slip away? Has life ever beaten you down so badly, you just wanted to close your eyes and simply stop. everything? The betrayal of a husband. The doctor’s report of a terminal disease. The loss of a loved one. The untimely death of a son/daughter.
In 2011, that last one was the one that almost took me down for good.
Because quite frankly, a mother is simply not supposed to bury her own child. Not her firstborn son. Not in the prime of his life.
So, what do you do with that? What do you do when life completely contradicts your faith? And it does you know. These are things that no one wants to delve into. Because there is no rhyme or reason. No pat answer. Can’t just tuck it into a neat little box or explain it in 3 points and a conclusion.
Jo Ann talks about this in her book, “When A Woman Finds Her Voice”. In chapter 8, she talks about “The Courage to Process Grief”:
“This hard conversation may well require the most courage. When life cuts deep, the groans linger. The sheer loss of something precious overwhelms, chokes, intimidates. We riddle ourselves with despairing thoughts about how we should have done something differently, how this pain will never go away.”
We have a tendency to tell people, “well, now you can have closure’.
But can I be ‘real’ with you right now? Time really does not heal all wounds and closure…well quite honestly, when it comes to a child’s death, closure is completely overrated. I know. Because I thought I would have it (closure). But it never came. Time has not ‘healed’ the wound. And it probably never will. Not in the way we expect anyway. The sharp loss of breath as I think about it, isn’t as piercing, but the dull ache, the empty space, well that is and will always be there.
Instead I learned that the only way you can carry on is to trust in God’s innate and unchangeable goodness. Because, trust you must. If you’re going to keep away from the danger of bitterness and complete shipwreck of faith, you have to ground yourself in the fundamental truth that God is good. God is sovereign. God loves you with an everlasting love.
“God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change…”
That’s it. That’s as far as I could go. Just that one line. Repeating itself over and over and over in my heart like an invisible ‘lifeline’ that marked the boundary which kept me from going over the edge.
It was this thought that sat with me on my porch one morning, long after the burial, when I once again in my life, surrendered my will, my thoughts, my heart to God and His Will and Sovereignty. As I asked Him to please give me the ‘peace’ to accept this which I could in no wise change, the next portion of that prayer came softly to me…The “courage” to change the things I can.
It would take more courage to live than to die. More strength to carry on than to give up. I still had two girls who needed me. No they weren’t babies. They were both grown, young adults but they were my girls. And they needed me. My grandchildren needed me.
- And so I kept breathing. And did the most courageous thing I had ever done in my life to date….I gave my son back to God. I gave my pain, my grief, my unanswered questions to Him. And I said to Him what He said in His Word.
“The things You reveal to me Lord belong to me. The things You do not…those ‘mysteries’ belong to You.” I trust You because I know that You love me and would never ‘harm’ me. But I so desperately need your help. Help me breathe. Help me make it. Help me not be bitter. Help. me. live.”
There is a benefit to losses in this life, on this side of eternity. They help you detach from the love of ‘this’ world. This world is not our home. And, If you ask me today, I will tell you, I have THREE children, not just two. Two here and One waiting for me in the Halls of Heaven. He’s restored. He’s healed. He’s reunited with His Heavenly Father. He’s waiting for me in the halls of eternity. He is ‘Safely Home’…and I am so looking forward to holding him when I get there!