Not Inoculated

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A month of so after the accident, we were on our way home from physical therapy, nearly at our driveway, when a thought struck me – and it hit like a fist gripping my heart. We have not been inoculated to tragedy.

The unthinkable happened; we were in a terrible car accident and lost our daughter. Terrifying experiences like this surface in our worst dreams, the ones that wake you in the night and it takes a few moments to realize that although your heart is pounding and you’ve broken out in a sweat, it’s not real; it’s only a dream. But for us, it was not a dream, this really happened.

A sliver of me wants to believe that the worst is over; our quota of suffering has been met and God will never deal us another blow this severe.

But that’s not how life works and it’s not how God works. I can’t imagine ever living through something this painful again, but the reality is that we don’t hold our future in our own hands.

I remind myself again that our Father is good, he is loving, and his ways are higher than mine. We’re at his mercy.

I weep just writing these words – I want to plead with God to be gentle with us. Please, please don’t make us go through anything like this again. Fear rises in my throat. I breathe and remind myself  of God’s love. His promises are true; he will never leave us.

I can’t say that I’ve conquered my fear; the false bubble of security I once had is gone forever. It’s difficult for me to ride in a car at 60 mph, and even more of a struggle to let my children go just about anywhere.

I want to trust, but when it comes right down to it, I only know that no matter what, we will never be alone. In the midst of tragedy, in the rubble, He was there. The presence of the Holy Spirit was thick around us. We felt the gift of God’s peace, his comfort – there is no way to explain what we experienced – none.

I wrote this many weeks ago, and as we approach six months, these thoughts are still very fresh. Just yesterday morning in church, the memory of being trapped in the car, the cold air around me, the confusion and not knowing if my daughter was okay, all came rushing back. I literally clasped my hands together and put them to my chest – as if praying. But really, I was instinctively trying to contain the rush of fear I was feeling. I prayed, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,” and thought about the power and peace of his name. Tears rolled down my cheeks and I tried not to cried out loud.

We need him – we need Jesus, every moment. We may face more tragedy in our lives, but we will not face it without our savior.

Lisa

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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.

16 Comments

  1. Carol Alexander
    June 15, 2015

    Please step back and reconsider, I beseech you: God did not deliver that horrific blow to you, and he would never deliver 'another blow this severe.' God, who is all powerful, all loving, all giving, and all forgiving allows us to make choices, and he stands by and delivers the comfort, the love, and the strength to come through the consequences of our choices. He provides the hiding place where we can seek solace, seek his comfort through Jesus, through whom all things are possible. But please, don't ever allow the thought in your mind that God delivered the blow. That is part of Satan's plan and in now way reflects what God has planned for us, his creation.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      June 15, 2015

      Carol, I really appreciate your encouraging words. This is tough stuff to understand and I'm grappling with my understanding of the sovereignty of God. What does God do, what does He allow, etc. What I can't accept is that Satan won – that he was in control of Kalkidan's death – that our enemy had victory. I believe that God took her when he did because he loves her and he numbered her days before she was even born. He is always the victor, and I trust him that his ways are higher than mine. I completely agree that he stands by and delivers comfort, love, strength – you are so right. Thank you for sharing your heart and thoughts – I know we both love and serve our wonderful God.

      Reply
      1. Carol Alexander
        June 17, 2015

        Dear Lisa: Satan did not win. Remember the case of Job: God allowed Satan to test Job, and even in the darkest hours Job did not relent and 'curse God and die' as his wife suggested. In the end, Satan lost that battle also, and Job was rewarded for his faith and his unwavering belief in God. Faith is the assured expectation of things hoped for though not beheld. I know you will see Kalkidan one day; and I also know that God will destroy Satan at the appointed time. God is truly at the helm of mankind, and his plan is unfolding on a time-scale not understood by us. I pray for you and your family daily; that you will find comfort and strength and not waver in your belief in God.

        Reply
  2. jane sauter
    June 15, 2015

    Thanks for being so real with us, Lisa. Yes, we need Him….every moment. He is Emmanuel ~God with us. May He wrap His arms around you tightly today.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      June 15, 2015

      Jane, thank you for reading and being with us. We are grateful.

      Reply
  3. Tami Shull
    June 15, 2015

    Beautiful. Thank you for your transparency. You are in my prayers today.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      June 15, 2015

      I am grateful for your prayers, Tami.

      Reply
  4. Laura Draper
    June 15, 2015

    My prayers for you continue as you and your family walks these steps daily. God be with you.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      June 15, 2015

      Thank you, Laura.

      Reply
  5. Melissa Joy
    June 15, 2015

    "We may face more tragedy in our lives, but we will not face it without our savior."
    Amen! Thank you for that beautiful reminder.

    Reply
  6. Allyson
    June 15, 2015

    thank you…I have been following your blog for a while and I've prayed for you and your family on a nightly basis. Your experience has taught me to let some things go, not sweat the small stuff with my son, hold him a little closer, a little longer. Your daughter has touched my heart. You've helped to create a beautiful legacy for her. May God continue to comfort you and bring peace back to your heart. Thank you for sharing your heart.

    Reply
  7. Emily
    June 15, 2015

    I love you, friend. I know what you mean. Part of the disbelief I felt/still feel about Kalkidan's death comes in part from: BUT YOU GUYS ALREADY HAD HARD STUFF HAPPEN. It was/is strange to realize that tragedy once isn't a guarantee it won't happen again. It feels like it should be- like once you cross over into having suffered, at least then it's over. It sucks so much that it isn't just once or never. 🙁

    There are my rambling, unprocessed thoughts at 10 pm when I'm tired.

    I love you so much. Ben and I talk about you guys a lot and we're so excited to see you so soon. Praying for you always.

    Reply
  8. thandilocks
    June 16, 2015

    May He ever be the Rock you cling to when waves batter you. Much love to you all.

    Reply
  9. RussAnita Olson
    June 16, 2015

    Lisa,
    I am humbled by your words. You've put onto paper, what I've felt for years. My Mom died unexpectedly when I was 24. (so not the same as losing a child, but was awful)
    This was exactly how I felt the first few years. There was this underlying fear and begging God to never have to face pain like this again.
    Somewhere, it changed. I don't really even know when. But it went too "I survived that. God was there. God comforted, healed, and we trust him. I would not choose to do it over or again. But when the next loss comes, (and it will) I can hold tight to the knowledge of what God is who he says he is even when EVERYTHING begs to differ." Grief doesn't kill you, although it can make you want to curl up and stop breathing. But once you survive that level of grief, you know you can and know it's because Jesus is there wiping away tears and holding you.
    When we walked out of the hospital after saying our last good-bye, my sister was physically unable to hold her own weight. My brother took one side, and I took the other and we shuffled our way down the long corridor. I think that is how the first few years were. Jesus on one side, the Father on the other. Shuffling through the days and when the weight of it would physically buckle me, they'd squeeze in tight and lift. And at the end of the corridor, I could look back and it looked different than it did from the perspective of the first steps. And if I was faced with another long, hard corridor, I'd lift my arms so they could duck underneath and let my knees buckle and be carried again. And I can trust we'd make it somehow.
    I still have this irrational fear at times, because sometimes the worse case scenario happens. I remind myself that living a life of fear, and asking my kids to so, is letting the enemy win. He'd love nothing more than for me to cower in fear. Death and Grief suck. I have no choice whatsoever to live in grief. But I do have a choice to live in fear. So I decide to not let fear drive my decisions, because that is the enemy's victory.
    Prayers for you today, that you'd feel God's and Jesus's arms wrapped around you as you look forward.

    Reply
    1. prayingintruth
      June 17, 2015

      This is a beautiful picture image….thank-you….

      Reply
  10. Elizabeth
    June 28, 2015

    Oh, dear Father God have mercy. How the enemy is attacking you all right now. It takes my breathe away. He didn't stop it, He is perfect, good, and uncomprehendingly loving, and yet you face tragedy… again. Oh, Father, gold is refined by fire. I know you will not waste these harsh circumstances that the Qualls are facing. Please give us who know you the wisdom and courage to fight in the spiritual and physical realm on their behalf. Lead the Qualls down a sheltered path. Their spirits are made from yours, awaken them, let your spirits touch.

    Reply

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