Wilderness Journeys…What we can do in the face of loss

I created the Navigating the Wilderness Course in 2016 after writing and publishing the book The Journey.  At the time, I had been a widow for 16 years.  Shortly after writing the book, the Lord sent an incredible man named Walter into my life who I married within 6 months of meeting him!  Little did either of us ever suspect that On September 1, 2018, he would suddenly drop dead of a massive heart attack and stroke.  He was not yet 60 years old. 

Initially, I was too numb to do anything except stick to doing all of the things that were immediately before me…plan and execute a Memorial Service, plan and navigate the closure of his robust and hard-earned Alcohol and Drug Treatment practice (that took 3-months), complete my speaking engagements (one was 3-days after his death) and begin to think about “life after Walter.” 

Loss is Loss and like all things in life, carry the significance that we assign to it and so the impact is relative.  It might be the loss of a close relative, a precious life-long friend, a pet, a home, a job, a relationship, even the dignity lost with catastrophic illness.  It brings surprise, shock, disbelief, despair, hopelessness and worst of all, fear of the unknown.  Yet, in His mercy and grace, I believe that God always prepares us.  Sometimes we miss the prep work or fail to give it significance.  But there is always something laid up to see us through, even if it is just a ‘call to action’ to believe that He is always a GOOD God no matter the circumstances. 

So, my first piece of instruction is this:  Trust God and do what’s in front of you!

I could write volumes on how just this first step, sustained me for an entire year.  Trusting God meant that I had to believe that God is Who He says He is!  The temptation is to believe that you are being punished, singled out for disaster, forsaken, and all sorts of things that deny His goodness or make Him out to be a God who sends us trials for chastisement and growth that we would not otherwise pursue. 

My initial ‘go to’ scripture was Psalms 23.  My biggest fear was lack.  Verse 1 says, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.”  Well, I wanted my husband, I wanted his voice, warmth, comfort and all of the things he did to make me know how much he cherished me.  I wanted the income from the business that had finally taken off.  I wanted him there to make decisions for me; to give me his special brand of wisdom based on his love for Jesus; his patience and encouragement for all things “Lucy”.  And I was a very proud believer…all that I was facing at this time begged the question that I so proudly proclaimed mastery over: “Who has truly believed our revelation?  To whom will Yahweh reveal his mighty arm?”  Is. 53:1 Passion Translation. 

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Getting through this loss meant that I had to truly demonstrate that no matter what, I would believe that God is Good, He is Who He says He is; He is my Shepherd and I would not lack; that He was my refuge and my strength and that whatever He put in front of me, I would have the courage, will and strength to do.  On the days that my sorrow or fear of the future paralyzed me and stuck me like glue to my bed, “Whose report would I believe?” …  the message of my fear, or the message from the Lord? 

If you are facing any form of loss today, “Whose report will you believe?”

Thank you so much for reading this Blog series.  If you are not going through a ‘wilderness’ experience, perhaps you may get prepared for your own or the opportunity to counsel someone else in theirs.  Loss is a part of living.  Please share this series with your friends!

The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.
— Psalm 23:1