“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.” – Psalms 56:8
God spoke that scripture into me during a time when I was sitting beside a mother that was traveling the sacred journey of grief. What was He saying? Was he telling me that He knows every problem and sees every tear? Tears can be seeds of joy because God can bring good out of tragedy. God responds when we ask. All we must do is to trust his faithfulness day by day. All we have is today.
I love to journal. I have books and books of my journey. As I pour through them, I have so many emotions, thoughts, dreams, and prayers. I am going to share a prayer I had written out.
Dear Father, I do call out to you. I am afraid you don’t hear me. Help me to understand you will work things to your will. Help me to know that I can’t control the things going on in my life. Wrap your arms around me, comfort me, carry me through these difficult times, my time of tragedy. I need to know my purpose in all of this. Take away my pain. Help me! Show me where you want me to go. Bless me with a talent to honor you. What is my passion? Show me my passion. Let me live every minute of every day to honor you. Help me to understand my son is okay, and with you. Allow me to forgive those who have hurt me. Heal me! Save me! I want my heart to be wholly yours. ~Amen
Why I felt early on that I needed to have a purpose, talent, and passion come from all the disappointments, tragedies, and pain I am not sure. Maybe as I was saturating myself with God’s promises and his word, that message was buried deep in his hopes for me.
I can look back over the last fifteen years and see God’s hand in my life. A new life he was building out of the brokenness. I can see how in the fall of 2007, He placed me divinely in the path of a Vietnam Veteran who was building a ranch to minister to our veterans coming home from Afghanistan and Iraq.
In September of that year, my husband and I had taken our fifth wheel on a camping trip in the Wet mountains. Camping next to us was the contractor building this ranch. After visiting with them over the weekend, we were invited to take a tour. I met the man who was the owner of the ranch and the head of the ministry. I shared with him about the painful loss of my son. I also shared about my son, who was serving in the army special forces. Something in my story touched him as I saw compassion fall on this man. He said to me, I want to mentor you and invited me to come to a retreat at the ranch. I left that day, not giving that invitation another thought. I had never served in our military, and this ministry was for those that had.
It was two years after losing my husband to suicide when I felt a prompting to contact the organization. It was a strong prompting that wouldn’t leave me. I couldn’t remember the name of the ranch. I remember digging through my files and finding the literature. I sat at my computer and sent off an email recanting my visit in 2007. I hit the send button and said out loud, there! Now leave me alone! Six weeks later, I was contacted and asked to attend a retreat at the ranch. So, the journey began.
I had no idea what I was walking in to. As I always say, But God! But God, in all of His infinite wisdom, knew what He was doing.
As I arrived at the ranch, I found myself sitting in a room full of young men, veterans of the war. There was also a young woman who had been tragically burned in a car crash years before. She and I were the only civilians there that week. I remember looking around and thinking this must be a mistake. I am not supposed to be here.
There were many people around us that week who poured their heart and soul into us., showering us with love and a lot of FOOD!! I stepped into the lives of our military and their war-torn lives. I witnessed the pain of what they went through. I had no idea of the destruction war brings. I have a son who has experienced more in combat than I could ever fathom. It opened my eyes to a little part of his life.
For me, it was the beginning of leaving the old and stepping into the calling God had for my life. I never dreamed God would use my testimony in this way. That all the pain and suffering born during my battles would impact the lives of so many.
I have been knocked down in the battle many times still, but I get back up again and again because I am not a quitter. I am an overcomer! I will never give up! I have frequently heard; you must be doing something right because the battles keep coming.
Every struggle transforms us into who God wants us to be. Every mountain we conquer brings us one step closer to the promised land! God has taken me many places I could have never dreamed. He made me victorious and an overcomer in Christ Jesus, a victory won at the cross over 2000 years ago. In His healing, I learned to trust in His faithfulness day by day.
So, I will leave you with this question, did God answer my prayer?
The Sovereign Lord is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread on the heights ~ Habakkuk 3:19
(C) Beverly Shoemaker 2019