Before Andy died, I considered myself a fairly competent professional. I was running a business as an expert witness alongside working in a busy Community Learning Disability Team. I could recall almost every client I’d ever worked with. I could remember conversations I had in minute detail. In addition, I had a busy household with three children, supporting Andy as he worked full time, and I headed up a team of people leading young people at our local Church. This involved sorting some rotas, planning teaching, producing videos, crafts, entertainment on a weekly basis, pastoral care, mentoring, youth weekends, weeks away… I’m exhausted thinking of it all now!
But then – Andy died.
I went from relatively organised, competent individual, where I could think quickly and laterally on my feet, making decisions with ease, whilst keeping all the plates spinning to existing as an aemoba, living in a fog. I could no longer plan, think, remember, organise. Every decision was difficult. I could do no more than think about the next minute of my life.
In fact that became my motto – one minute at a time. my goal was simply to get through the next minute, and then the next.
I may be wrong but I think only those who have been through severe trauma or the grief of losing a loved one can truly appreciate “the fog”. My brain just couldn’t function. I could not plan how to make a drink, let alone run my household. Thinking through the steps to run a bath or take a shower almost seemed too much. I could not concentrate to watch a television programme. I could not concentrate to read. I found it hard to make any little decision,whether that be what to wear or what to eat for tea.
I thought this would get better, and to a great extent it has done…. but I still seem to hit brick walls at times. I feel I am far less competent at work. My memory for various tasks has taken a significant knock. Running the household takes far more effort than it ever did before. Although admittedly this is partly because previously I was part of a team running the house and managing the children… now I do not have another adult around to help run errands, nag the children and help with all the many household tasks.
If I’m not careful I can easily fall into a pity party and focus on all of the things I cannot do.
I get cross at myself and think about what I used to do, and question why I’m no longer performing at the same level.
But when I’m in the pity party I’m often reminded that i’m trying to do it all on my own. When I try to get on with things in my own strength, I fail. I make mistakes at work. I can’t keep up with the changes in the computer programmes or the changes in processes. I mess up with communicating with people. I mess up In my relationships with my kids. I have scheduling problems as I try to crowd too many things in rather than focusing on what’s important.
Too often I try to go through this storm on my own.
However, I’ve been reminded this week, that as a Christian, doing it on my own is bound to leave me failing. The guy that wrote Proverbs (a book of wisdom in the Oldest part of the Bible) said…. Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track.
Too often I try to figure out stuff myself, focusing on my own ways of looking at things. But that is not God’s plan for us. He has better ideas for us.
So what is God’s plan?
Proverbs says to “Trust”. Trust has been described as an unquestioning belief in and reliance on something. Trust has not come easy on this journey. How do I trust and rely when my world has been turned upside down, when things don’t make sense at all in human terms?
But whilst things didn’t make sense, there was also a sense of relief in being able to simply rely on God in the fog. There had to be a time when I let go of trying to work out the answers. There isn’t any human sense in what happened. What God calls me (and you) to do is to listen for His voice in everything you do, everywhere you go. He doesn’t call me to figure out the whys and wherefores of Andy’s death. He calls me to trust.
Don’t get me wrong. I have questioned. I have argued with God. I have shouted and cried and sobbed and begged. But I believe His answer has always been to trust.
Once again, this week, I’ve messed up. I’ve tried to figure things out on my own. But I’m so grateful that the God who asks me to trust HIM, is also a gracious and merciful and forgiving God.
As you’re reading this I don’t know your situation. Perhaps you have found yourself in the fog and you don’t know how to get through the next minute… God simply says Trust me, I’ve got this.
Perhaps you’re someone who is trying to figure things out on their own, but it’s not working out. Stop trying to figure it out on your own, listen for God’s voice and trust Him.