March – I still haven’t decided if it has come in like a lion or a lamb. Mild temperatures, blustery winds, and beautiful sunshine – we’d had it all. As I sit at my kitchen window and look out into the bright sunshine, I am reminded that regardless of how it came in, March is here and with it comes the promise of spring. Spring sunshine fills my heart to overflowing with joy and excitement at all that spring brings – new life, new flowers, and a regeneration of the land, but spring also holds memories of difficult times as well.
Twenty years ago, my oldest son, Justin, slipped into a coma on a bright spring day in May 1992. I was a young mom at the time and really had no idea what the words ‘brain damage’ might mean, but the reality of those words struck me hard weeks later when we toured the rehab facility and I was exposed to other children whose lives and abilities bore evidence of brain damage. I was suddenly over-whelmed with the reality of what we might face and I found myself in the bathroom heaving sobs; desperately struggling to regain my composure; and coming face to face with the foundations of my faith.
At that point in my life, I felt that to surrender to grief meant that I was giving up on my faith, and so I swallowed hard to bury my sorrow and cling to a faith that believed God would rescue me from my circumstances. However, God did not rescue me from those difficult circumstances, nor did he leave me there alone. He gently reached down and walked with me on a journey that would change my life and grow my faith. He revealed himself, not as a genie-in-a-bottle God, but as a sovereign Lord who truly does work all things together for the good of those who love Him.
Years later, on a rainy evening in March, my surrender to grief was an offering of faith as I leaned on a loving God who gently allowed me to let go of that beloved son. I had lost a bright and beautiful little boy; I had gained a precious son who taught me priceless lessons about unconditional love; and I had not lost faith by giving up but I had gained an intimate trust by letting go.