Friday, June 5, 2015

Memorial Weekend

We went to one of our favorite places for Memorial weekend, Trout Lake Camps. Trout was one of Matt's favorite places, as well. We went for family camp, and it was great. I think, for once, the joy and the grief were equal partners. Grief no longer takes precedence, though it remains a constant. We had wonderful weather right up until the morning of our departure. However, even that wasn't so bad because, well, who doesn't love shooting off rockets in the rain?!

For the most part, it was a weekend of relaxation and fun with my family. It was a much needed time away, though it wasn't without its moments of testing. See, when grief shows up, it doesn't come alone. He brings a few friends along. Friends like Fear and Doubt, for instance. Fear, like grief, is good at the art of ambushing. It showed up strongly at one point during our weekend and then once again after we got back from vacation. I wrote the following on my Facebook wall last week after fear had attacked:

Me and Fear? We didn’t use to be friends. Not really. More like occasional acquaintances that would run into each other on rare instances. But after losing my son, fear likes to pretend to be my best friend. Fear stalks me, constantly trying the door handle of my faith to see if I’ve left a way in for him. Fear shows up at the most opportune moments. Like today. Today I saw this headline: "More than 500 people killed as heat wave bakes parts of India."

Oh, nice try, Fear. Nice try. You know that tomorrow my husband leaves for India for two weeks. You know that I trust God, but you take advantage anyway, always trying to shake my footing and make me fall. You sure did a good job at that last weekend, too, by the way, when my daughter went missing. Though she really wasn’t missing, I just hadn’t gotten an account of where her camp group had gone and then freaked out when they didn’t return at the stated time. Nicely done, Fear. I’ll give you ten points for that one.

I won’t lie. You scare me, Fear. You do, because I know the reality of actually having a parent’s worst nightmare come true. It happened, and I lost a child. And there are no guarantees that I won’t lose another child or my spouse. And now I’m left, like Eve in the garden, to choose. Unfortunately, Eve made the wrong choice. I don’t want to make the same mistake. I want to trust God. I want to live in faith.

You terrify me, Fear. But God? God laughs at you. He knows that you are finite. He knows that you hold nothing on Him. He knows that the ropes you throw around me and others are dissolvable. He knows we speak, Fear. He is aware of our conversations, and He knows that I am weak. He is patient and stands waiting for me, waiting for me to take my eyes off of you and turn to Him, to look at Him. Him, whose motives are pure, who does everything out of love. You wouldn’t know about that, though, would you, Fear? Because you are not from Him. He is love and you are not. He is love, and perfect love casts out all fear. I will choose to ignore your scare tactics and lean on God, the Only One who has the power to render you powerless. He is mighty to save. Goodbye, Fear. Rattle the door if you must, but I’m not answering it this time.

I struggled Memorial weekend with fear, and I felt like a failure. Instead of trusting God, I freaked out. I listened to the voice of fear whispering in my ear. When my daughter didn't return at the time and place specified, all I could think was, "I don't ever want to experience that kind of pain again. Ever. Please, God, No." The pain of losing Matt was horrific. I don't wish that kind of pain on anyone. To this day, I still have moments where I am struck by the horror of it all over again. It takes an inordinate amount of strength not to "go there" with my thoughts. But I did go there at camp, and I'm not proud of it.

However, it did reveal something to me. It revealed there's still work to do, still some growing to do. But I realized something else, too. I realized that it's ok. My Father knows the pain I've endured. He knows my fears. He knows my anxiety and doubts. And He loves me through it all. He has been my God, and He will never leave me. My "God-nod" for the week has been this song:


  1. Beautiful song - thanks for sharing. Like you, music is one of my strongest coping mechanisms.

  2. Music is powerful, and there is so much truth in it. When I think how much it's helped me, how amazing it is, it makes me wonder how much more so the music in heaven is going to be!