On this particular day, as darkness tightened its grip on my heart, the piercing pain seemed to force the tears from my eyes in unhindered cascades. I watched her go, she never once glanced back. They came, every word, every nuance; all of the memories; I wanted them to stop. But then that was the way of the darkness; cold, cruel, unrelenting and yet so very empty. When your strength fails, where do you turn?
I knew I failed her. Still, I felt lost, grasping for hope, paralyzed. Nothing prepares a parent for the sudden severing of a relationship with their child. Even today, when I reflect on events culminating in my daughter leaving our home, the pieces fail to come together. Left with more questions than answers, my heart splintered by degrees over the course of three long years.
god’s strength in my weakness
Cruelly, life demands continuation. Birthdays, holidays, even the mundane meals: her absence spoke louder than her voice ever did. But worse than the physical absence was the absence of any knowledge of her whereabouts or if she was dead or alive. As with any grief, the topic became taboo; avoided by everyone, furthering the perception: “she no longer existed”. Outwardly, I played along fearing rejection and judgment from others. Inwardly, I knew the weight of the despairing darkness intimately.
Some adversities we take in stride, while others cripple our timid steps of faith. This was just such an adversity for me. Home a mere six months from eight years on the mission field and my world lay in shattered fragments at my feet. Somehow all of the things I shared with others about navigating suffering, mocked me in the brokenness.
Picking Up the Pieces
As with any mess, you begin by picking up the pieces. Memories, like broken glass, sliced through my heart at any attempt of exploration. Sitting in the room she called her own for a brief time, the last conversation on replay, the familiar sick feeling in my stomach intensified.
While my hands held photographs left behind, my mind drifted to my son and youngest daughter downstairs. Offering comfort and guiding them through their grief seemed impossible when my own grief throbbed in my chest. I knew the brokenness must be addressed, but where to start?
Words used in counseling others flooded my mind: “When you find yourself in the middle of intense suffering, you lose perspective and tend to focus inward. This clouds your vision and isolates you within the suffering.” Though I knew the truth of the words, everything in me desired nothing more than retreating into my own inner pain.
Picking up the pieces is the first step towards healing when navigating suffering. This involves a bit of soul searching and courage facing the chain of events leading to the current crisis. Picking up each broken shard, knowing it will never be the same, but holding it anyway.
“A woman’s strength isn’t just about how much she can handle before she breaks. It’s also about how much she must handle after she’s broken.”
Join me at Calla Press as I share my story of how God’s strength stepped into my weakness and revealed a fatal flaw in my attitude. Through His healing, I learned a valuable lesson and share practical advice on what to do when your strength fails.