It was a typical Saturday morning when the dreaded phone call rang that would change my life forever. Alerted by my husband’s serious tone and blanched face, my blood pressure immediately began to climb. Something was wrong…very wrong.
It would be a painstaking amount of hours later that I waited for the news that would introduce me to a world I could only get glimpses of through raunchy reality TV.
The fear that was welling inside of me had me pacing from one end of the house to the other. I couldn’t think of anything except I was terribly disheartened that my son had a DUI, but there was something else lingering over me like a cloud before a storm and it was taunting to me “Something is very wrong.”
When I finally saw my husband pull into the driveway with my son in the back seat looking tired, dejected and devastated, I quickly went to the front door.
I was told to sit down and it was then the bomb was dropped on me. “The guy in the other vehicle died,” rang through my ears and caused a rush of blood to every part of my body feeling like I was about to burst.
How could this be? My mother had just died 8 weeks earlier. My son had died three years earlier. My life was finally adjusting to a New Normal. I was just beginning to stand on my own two feet and get back into life, but now my carefully planned reentry would force me back into that all familiar jaded limp.
I didn’t think we could ever survive such a blow and especially because it struck an innocent family that I had no control to help, encourage, or take away their pain.
At the initial onset of this news, I struggled to breath. The days and nights lengthened and peace and rest eluded me. I would stare unblinking up at the stars each night and cry out “Why God have you forsaken me?”
The multiple burdens of pain and disappointment seemed almost too much to process. My son was now the ‘villain,’ the ‘bad guy,’ the ‘drunk driver’ that recklessly took the life of another human being. My mind was in total confusion and I couldn’t make any earthly sense of it all. He was going to prison and suddenly every ounce of my fiber wanted to just stay under the covers and hide from the world.
Deep and abiding sadness weighed on me as I tried to make sense of the mess. That feeling of melancholy lingered day after day and a pervading sense of sadness clouded my thinking.
Yet through the passage of time, the trauma kept bringing my heart back to one pervading reality: That God is real and He is always faithful. And it was when I loosened my grip on my dark circumstances that I was able to see God ‘s light shine through most brilliantly. It was like He dispatched a choir of angels to sing into my ears at night when I laid my head upon my pillow. Hymns. Worship music all night long. I could almost visualize the angels hovering above me stroking my head and praying for me.
He sent so many beautiful symbols through His nature, His people, and most importantly His Word to comfort my heart. And it was only through understanding the character of God that I could continue to walk through the mud with my head and heart pointed to God.
It was not easy, but I have learned that His grace is sufficient, and in my surrendering -- my prayers evolved into a plea for His divine purpose to prevail through the mess. I prayed that I might bear it for His glory, and offer it up to encourage others about His faithfulness.
I learned much about hope in the valley. And my hope is not rooted in my circumstances but in Him alone. Spurgeon wrote, “I owe more to the fire, and the hammer, and the file than to anything else in my Lord’s workshop.”
Andrea Maher is the former editor-in chief of PARENT ABC’s, a monthly magazine dedicated to helping parents navigate the everyday concerns of family life. She is the author of the newly released book, SLAMMED: Overcoming Tragedy in the Wave of Grief, A Survival Guide She has been married to her husband, John, for 40 years and are the parents of four sons, and enjoy their six grandchildren in Cape May, New Jersey where they reside. You can connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.