My mom passed away one year ago on January 31st after a six month battle with cancer. This event rocked my world physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. During the battle and after she died I told everyone the “right” things…. “I’m focusing on Him.” “I’m looking for the goodness in all of this.” “I know this is glorifying to Him somehow.” In some ways I believed this deep down. I knew His truths but it was still hard to focus on them. God gave me just enough glimpses of His goodness and His mercy through this storm in my life that I did cling to Him. Not in the way I needed to or thought I was, but just enough to keep me grounded in my faith.
As I write this, I can look out the window and see trees covered with thick ice. Some are leaning, some are so weighted down they are almost to the ground. I am reminded that we, His children, are just like those ice covered trees. So weighted down with life, worries, grief, anger, unforgiveness, loneliness, brokenness that we are bending and leaning almost to a point of breaking. God brings these storms, but he also brings the calm afterwards “Quiet! Be still!” (Mark 4:39)
In this brokenness we WILL find God if we allow it. The bigger God gets the smaller the weight gets. When we experience true humility, true faith, and complete trust in God the “ice” on us starts to melt away slowly. “The Lord is my shepherd…your rod and staff they comfort me…surely goodness and mercy shall follow… (Psalm 23:1, 4, 6)
I remember feeling so frozen…frozen in time, almost like life and time weren’t moving after my mom died. Like if I moved I would somehow be leaving her or it was somehow unfair to her to live life without her. This was my quietness after the “storm” that rocked my world. I wasn’t seeking what the Lord wanted from me; I was just trying to survive day by day. I just didn’t realize I wasn’t…I was STUCK! Stuck in a place of sorrow and grief. Little did I know that during this quietness God was equipping me for His service.
God led me to a verse shortly after my mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer, when the fear was eating me alive. Fear of what was next, fear of what the future held for all of us. He led me to Romans 8:6 in one of my darkest moments. It says… “The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the spirit is life and peace.” Those words from God helped me to choose life and peace instead of fear in those times, but sadly it was quickly forgotten. That was until the Lord led me to it once again three weeks ago during my morning quiet time. It wasn’t a coincidence. I was praying and searching. Searching for a “next” in my life, searching for a way out of my quietness, searching for Him and His will for my life. I was in tears when He led me to it. It was like I heard Him speaking to me saying… “Child my words brought you through your storm, my words will bring you to the other side of it, where you will experience life and peace again.”
He was right, as He always is. These past three weeks God has shined a light on my life like the sun and melted away some of the “ice” that has weighted me down. He unfroze me!
L.B. Cowman says in the devotional Streams of the Desert, “Sorrow is God’s tool to plow the depths of the soul, that it may yield a richer harvest.” Sorrow makes us move more slowly but that helps us examine our true motives and attitudes. “Sorrow is better that laughter, because a sad face is good for the heart.” (Ecclesiastes 7:3)
This tribulation was my door to triumph. God allowed me to remain in my sorrow until I was ready to receive His goodness with open arms. He wanted me to scream and cry out to Him so that is what I did. That is how He brought me to the other side of this storm. He is still working in and through me, and I still have sadness, but I have joy and peace again too. I cannot wait for what is next in my part of HIS story. The process of life is slow and sometimes painful but we must “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” (Romans 12:12)
Stephanie Cole lives in Jonesboro, AR with her husband and daughter where she serves her family as a stay at home wife and mother. She is very involved in the Women and Student ministries at her church. Her goal is to live every day in obedience to Christ so that she may encourage others and so that He may use her and her stories to reveal himself to others. You can follow her on Instagram: sryancole.