When people ask me how I’m doing, “Just fine” is my reply with a smile.
It’s the easiest answer on most days. Sometimes it’s even the truth. Other days, it slips off my tongue without even a thought to the ‘real’ answer. It seems more kind to the person asking to hear that I’m doing fine, great, never better.
I do all the things in order to be fine, and ‘well‘. I exercise regularly, sleep 8 hours a night, eat well (most of the time), pray and do my devotions, worship, and get fresh air. Oh yes, and I visit my counsellor regularly. She helps me process the harder, more traumatic things happening in my life right now. Things, like grief, pain, shame, fear, and then more grief. She gives me the tools I need to set healthy boundaries, journal for clarity (doing it!), let go of things I cannot control and reframe my thinking. In this safe place, hope and healing has been placed over gaping wounds.
Looking back now at my younger self, I wish I had known and seen the value of having a godly counsellor. It may have helped with the grief and loss that came from losing my young husband in a car accident on the very day our son was born. It would have helped me process the pain, trauma and grief during that time in my life.
I was a Christian, and had loved Jesus since I was a very young girl. I knew the Bible stories and had memorized countless Bible verses and Hymns. My faith was familiar, secure and sincere. I knew God loved me and had a plan for my life. But in the days and weeks following Arthur’s death, as I began to pack up dreams and memories, God’s healing presence and peace were my strength – literally.
I can’t explain to you the peace He gave me each day to keep walking in hope and faith. It’s that unexplainable peace expressed in Philippians 4:7
…and the peace of God which passes all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:7
Verse 5 in this chapter also reminds us “The Lord is near”. As I leaned into Him, through prayer and worship, He met me in my weakness and gave me a beautiful, amazing peace.
Standing on His strength, hope and peace – a young single mom at nineteen years old – I turned the corner into a new life. I married my husband Alex. He adopted my son and we added two beautiful daughters to our family. Thirty four years later we are still crazy about each other and our growing family. We love the life we’ve made.
It hasn’t been an easy road at times, with health issues, the loss of beloved family members and the heart-wrenching trauma and grief that comes from watching a loved one struggle and wander in crisis.
Change has been constant, with many valleys and deserts along the way, but God has been a faithful and kind Good Shepherd through it all. Constant in His unfailing love, peace, grace, hope and faithfulness offered to me and my family – even the wandering ones.
In the seasons of grief and trauma, like the one I am walking through currently, when my tired feet limp and my heart aches, He stands by my side, offering me everything I need to keep walking.
But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength. – 2 Timothy 4:17
Yes, He does, and I claim this verse as I speak it over my life again and again.
My beautiful Father. He is the gentle presence in the brokenness and in the beauty. He is my ‘wellness’ on the ‘unwell’ path. He is my hope, peace and daily portion – my Manna.
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. – Psalm 73:26