Until last September, I was focused on being 50 plus and fabulous. September 2014 ushered in a new season of death that touched the lives of my classmates, several close friends, and members of my church family. By October, I could literally feel the ground shake and crack beneath my feet. I nearly came undone when I found myself returning to the same funeral home in less than seven days for another wake. Emails from my church notifying me that another member of the congregation died became so frequent that I considered unsubscribing from the church’s list serv. Previous seasons of death had always been at least one generation removed. In this season, death rocked my very foundation because it took the lives of my classmates’ parents. My parents have always handled major family crises including death and funeral arrangements. They are strong and unflinching in the face of loss. I merely play a supporting role. This season of death showed me that I am quickly transitioning from a supporting to leading role that will require me to demonstrate the same unflinching strength that my parents have displayed. As I watched others walk through wave after wave of loss, I wondered if my mother and father were next. I developed a pit in my stomach. I even began “mentally preparing” myself as if I could somehow take the sting out of my parents’ death by pre-grieving.
I do not want to feel death’s sting or experience the often disabling grief associated with major life losses such as the death of a parent. My concerns are partly rooted in fear; a fear that an emotional storm of grief will plunge me into a debilitating bout of depression so severe that I will not recover. I fear the unraveling that occurs in the midst of the messy chaos associated with reconstructing a new normal after a hard season of grief. That said I know that God’s grace is sufficient to sustain me in my brokenness, grief, and through the happy, painful, and hard.
God quickly removed that heavy spirit of foreboding that fell upon me during this most recent season of death. He ever so gently shifted my focus from the deaths that occurred to what is true, authentic, beautiful, and worthy of all praise. In my life there have been seasons of joy, laughter, and love. I have also had seasons of pain, loss, and overwhelming sadness. God used these hard seasons to mature and prepare me for His purpose. He has used my messy and chaotic circumstances to strengthen my faith and draw me closer to Him.
As a believer in Christ, I know that death is the birthing room between my physical and eternal lives. I cannot say that I have faith in God and then not trust Him in all things including the death of a loved one. I do not know when I will receive the call that my loved one has died or how I will handle it. I can only hope to demonstrate the same unflinching strength that my parents have shown. So when my hard season of death comes I will run directly to the Strong Tower, my Solid Rock for healing, rest, and protection. In this space God will reconstruct my new normal and keep me in His perfect peace.