It’s a funny thing.
If you’ve never faced anything very frightening, it’s easy to think that those who do and march on through are somehow immune to fear.
But nothing could be further from the truth.
Courage is not the absence of fear but the mastery of it.
Yet you cannot master something you deny. You cannot resist that which you claim doesn’t exist.
Child loss is frightening.
So frightening that those not forced to walk this road usually choose to pretend (in practice if not in words) that it simply isn’t part of the world they live in.
It’s so frightening that most bereaved parents experience a period of time we would describe as “being numb” and “shock”.
It was probably six months until my heart truly understood the fact that Dominic was not coming back.
It was frightening on so many levels-I had to face the fact I was not in control, had to face the fact my life was never going to be what I had envisioned it to be, face the fact that my surviving children would be shaped by grief in ways neither I nor they could anticipate, face the fact that I would live out my years carrying this heavy burden, and face the fact that no matter how hard I wished things were different, they were never going to be different-my child was dead.
And when the numbness began to wear off and fear creep into my heart, I had to choose: Was I going to embrace and experience this awful, devastating fear or was I going to try to deny it, distract myself from it or try to dismiss it as inconsequential?
Facing fear requires facing my own weakness.
Facing fear means becoming vulnerable-admitting that I am hurting, admitting that I cannot do this on my own, admitting that maybe, just maybe, I can’t climb this mountain without help.
Choosing vulnerability was its own challenge.
What if others mocked me? What if no one helped me? What if I just wasn’t up to the task?
I decided that NOT facing fear was not an option. As long as it lurked in the shadows I would be its prisoner.
So I turned and looked it square in the eyes. And I found, with God’s enabling help, I could master that fear.
Two verses became my touchstone:
When struck by fear,
I let go, depending securely upon You alone.
In God—whose word I praise—
in God I place my trust. I shall not let fear come in,
for what can measly men do to me?
Psalm 56:3-4 VOICE
When I admitted my weakness, His strength was sufficient.
Choosing vulnerability and facing fear opens the door for God to show His power in and through me.
Child loss is still scary.
I’m still afraid.
But the Lord gives me strength to master the fear.