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What Does Jesus Offer in the Darkness?

I lost a child just over seven years ago. My two remaining children both have medical issues that could take their lives. One of my children has the same disease that took my oldest, Hayley. I deal with PTSD from the events of the day Hayley went to be with the Lord.

For me, PTSD has been an evolving beast. In the beginning, I dealt specifically with flashbacks of the day we lost Hayley. As the years passed, more triggers kicked in. For the most part, anything medical can set me off, CPR will always set me off. When Callie or Ezra go through sicknesses, I tend to be triggered, and my mind goes into panic mode that I will lose another child.

A few months ago, we had a bit of a scare with Callie. It ended up being a fluke, but for a bit, we thought she had an allergic reaction. In those moments of watching her, I can’t even begin to express the darkness my mind crossed into. Terrified doesn’t even scratch the surface of the thoughts that were in my head. Luckily, God gave me a calm and collected husband who worked through the situation while also dealing with my crazy self. We let her sleep in our bed because it was the only hope I had of settling for sleep after being triggered so deeply.

As I laid in bed, with my arm around the tiny waist of my seven-year-old, my mind still reeling from the experience, I did what I do best when I feel my heart and soul have lost reality; I prayed. As I reflected with the Lord on what I feared, that thankfully didn’t come to pass, I realized I’ve had a dangerous thought process for a while now.

I want to believe that because we’ve lost a child, and walked faithfully through the experience, God should protect me from ever experiencing that again. While the idea seems noble and compassionate, it’s far from the reality of life. I, of all people, should know that. God being a loving father doesn’t mean He can keep us from trials and difficulties anymore than we can prevent the woes of life from touching our own children. As much as it breaks our hearts to see our children face obstacles, they are inevitable. Losing a child isn’t inevitable, it’s not the order of the way life should work. But the fact that I’ve walked through one loss no more protects me from another than surviving a tornado means the next has to pass over your home. It’s just not practical to live in this lie that I’m invincible because I’ve been there, done that, and try not to wear the T-shirt.

So what does God promise if it’s not a crystal path that steers away from hard things?

His presence.

And as someone who has walked the dark road of child loss, I can promise you it really is enough.

God was with me as I laid there, triggered and terrified, wondering what life might hold down the road. Much like I wrapped my arm around my daughter for comfort, Jesus wrapped His arm around me and drew me near to Him. To His presence, the only place true peace is found.

I encourage you, even through the darkness, to draw into His peace. Rest assured lovely, He can hold you together no matter what you are facing.

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