I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Psalm 91:2 NIV
When you hit rock bottom and have nothing to cling to but the Creator alone, that is when you learn how to trust God. When life seems so impossible and you cannot figure out how to breath your next breath, that is when you learn how to trust God. When you have never studied the bible, never opened it up aside from church, but that is where you are drawn and the only thing that will bring you comfort and hope, that is when you trust God. When your world is upside down and you realize that you have control over nothing, that is when you trust God.
Losing my son almost 7 years ago put me in all of those situations, at once. As devastating as his death was, what followed was unbearable at times. Life went on for the world around us, but we were still stuck in this abyss of grief. Friends and family went back to work, back to activities with their kids, back to the grind of daily living. We were still. We couldn’t move or breath.
When we tried, we were punched in the gut. For instance, I vividly remember the first time I went to Target after losing my son. I went to grab the diaper bag…. expect I no longer needed it. (Punched in the gut.) I remember trying to set the table each night and seeing the place where my son’s booster seat was. (Punched in the gut.) I remember glancing back in my rear-view mirror in the “family van” we bought after I found out I was pregnant with my son. I saw my beautiful daughter, but my son’s seat was empty. (Punched in the gut.) I could literally go on and on. Everyday for years this feeling happened.
The other part of this journey was the feeling of being out of control. When you are a person who feels like they have everything under control and you can handle whatever comes at you, and then your son is diagnosed with cancer, you learn quickly that you have no control over anything. I was terrified. Before he was sick, I would look at families suffering illness or tragedy and feel sorry for them, then I would think, “That could never happen to us.” That was my security blanket of control that kept me sane. When my son got sick, my security blanket was ripped out from under me and thrown away. After he died, I had no control, no sense of security.
I thought my husband would die in a car crash on the way to work. I was afraid to send my daughter to school in case she fell off the playground and cracked her head open, etc. The only fear I didn’t have was if I died. (I probably would have welcomed that!)
Over time, I learned that I still don’t have control. (Not feeling warm and fuzzy yet, I know!) However, I learned to not fear as much. I learned to let go of my fear and trust in God. I started reading Scripture more and really digging deep into the meaning. I started attending church regularly and reading books to learn more. I couldn’t stop leaning on God. I couldn’t stop hearing his messages and promises. I needed more than ever to keep learning.
As I began this spiritual journey, my grip on controlling my fears loosened. Not all at once, but slowly. My pain numbed, not all at once, but slowly. My heart grew and my mind opened. My trust in God blossomed and my faith exploded!
I realize more than ever that control is not something I was ever meant to have. I also realize that fear is also something I was never meant to have. These things I have given to God. I am living a much more peaceful life since I have released these things to Him.
“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.” Psalm 28:7
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6
Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you. Psalm 9:10
But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. Psalm 13:5