Archive for October 20th, 2019

When the fog of grief rolls over the landscape of all you thought you were and are, shoving, pushing, ripping, dislodging, swirling everything in its path into a tumultuous emotional tsunami of pain, love, anger, emptiness, ruin, brokenness—every emotion known to the heart and mind—you wonder if this storm will ever subside or if there is any form of life and light on the other side.

That’s where I found myself a month ago leaving Warrensburg, Missouri, returning to Dallas, Texas, after the death of my husband in late August.

I turned onto a county road that would take me through farmland, several towns, and acres of corn pastures back to the freeway, then home. And I drove smack-dab into a wall of fog so thick I found myself waiting for the sound of a crash. The fenders of my car and the roadside beneath them were all that was visible. It was as if the fog swallowed everything around me hook, line, and sinker.

Wall of fog

Beyond the front of my car I could see nothing but swirling gray goo. I was forced to creep along, watching the edges of the road, thinking surely this yucky stuff would lift. I knew the sun was shining when I pulled out of my son and daughter-in-love’s driveway, and knew it was probably still shining above all this mess, but I sure couldn’t see any brightness around me at that moment.

Fear welled in my heart that morning. Same kind of fear that had choked me in the hours, days, and now months following my husband’s death. What do I do now? Those same words inched through my mind that foggy morning just west of Warrensburg. And a month later, as one issue after another still looms on my horizon I’m still asking God that same question. The only difference now is, God has already answered and guided me through several what I deemed to be crises.

A few patches of sunflowers growing alongside the road crept by and seeing them brought a particle of relief, just like the relief loved ones and friends provide during times of anguish after the death of those we love.

Fog and Bales

Then they’re gone, and I’m left with the reality of my loss. The reality of forging a whole new life—and this morning the reality of the fog and my inability to see what lay in the road ahead left me choked with fear.

Suddenly headlights behind me made a blurry appearance and brought momentary comfort, but then I worried about cars that might be ahead of me. A fender-bender in this soup could become catastrophe in a heartbeat. Again, my thoughts turned to the catastrophe’s I’ve imagined in the middle of the night these past weeks.

Full of fear at the reality of the fog and the miles I still had to travel before I reached the freeway, I began to feel that stirring in my heart and mind. Father, are you trying to teach me something this morning? There were no audible words, but I knew in my heart the Spirit of God was ready to show me something—if I was willing to listen.

Tears rimmed my eyes as often happens when I know God is moving in me. I brushed them away. “Father, please let me hear and learn what You want to teach me this morning.”

But the fog grew thicker, and I had to slow even more. There were now headlights behind and in front of me as we all inched our way along this narrow country road. We finally reached a town and the fog gave way to buildings along the roadside and trees overhead. I could see better and relaxed a bit. A red blinking smudge turned into a traffic signal, and I relaxed more, until I saw a sign telling me how many miles I had to travel before reaching the freeway. And for a moment my cramped fingers took a break from their stranglehold on the wheel.

Another confusing road sign left me blank as to which way to turn. Stop and ask directions, came that quiet voice in my mind. I did and had I gone the way I thought, I would have been lost. But I am learning that when I stop and wait on God’s answer, He never fails to direct my steps.

On the other side of town, a river snaked through the countryside and the fog intensified. Once again, my pace slowed and I began to flip through the file of “must dos” when I returned home…decisions that must be made…but a glimmer of light appeared in the pasture to my right and I was amazed to see the image of the sun behind the fog and I thought of the cloud of light God used to lead the children of Israel through the desert.

Missouri Fog

I slowed, pulled to the side and took a picture and heard in my heart—God always guides His children when they slow down, ask, and listen.

“The Lord will tear down the house of the proud, but He will establish the boundary of the widow” (Proverbs 15:25 NAS).

God really said He would establish my boundaries! As I pondered that scripture, thought after thought marched through my mind. Orderly thoughts. Not pushing nor shoving, frantic thoughts like I had been prone to these last weeks. I formed a priority list of need-to-be-done things when I returned. The pace was still slow and the fog thickened. But God had given me a glimmer of hope. A moment of clarity. And I tucked it in my heart and remembered God’s promise in Isaiah 54:5:

“For your husband is your Maker, whose name is the Lord of hosts; and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, who is called the God of all the earth.”

Yes, I know this verse was written particularly to Israel in the Old Testament. But as the husband during my time of grief, He sets my boundaries. And I trust Him.

The fog began to dissolve into patches and I enjoyed the beautiful Missouri farmland. Those of you who follow my blog and FB page, know I love old barns. And my heart lifted as the freeway came into view. I set my course toward Dallas, rehearsing the lessons God had shown me that morning traveling through the foggy Missouri countryside.

Rowland's Barn

While I’m traveling through the fog of grief—

 I must slow down.

Be careful.

Take my time.

Watch out for troublesome issues before and behind me.

Seek directions before I act and become lost.

Remember what God has taught me in the past.

Remember who God is now and forever.

Remember God loves widows and will be their husband.

I must continually talk with Him…and then listen.

I am to trust God…not emotions or fears.

He sets my boundaries.

The muddled fog of grief will lift from my life, and from yours too, just like the fog lifted that morning in Missouri on the way to the freeway. How long and when I don’t know, I suspect when we’ve learned the lessons He has to teach us during this season of life.

But ‘til your fog lifts, the best counsel I can offer is find a GriefShare group at www.griefshare.org. Click on Find-a-Group. Type in your name and address and they will list the groups near you. I don’t know what I would have done after the loss of our daughter nineteen years ago, and now the loss of my husband, had I not attended and am attending, GriefShare.




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