Life in the Fog
Updated: Jun 25
There are moments in our lives that aren’t on our radar. In fact they’re not even in the back of our minds as possibilities. There is no way to plan for them, no way to prepare for them, and definitely no way to control the events that are set into motion by them.
This was one of those moments.
I felt as though the rug had been yanked out from under my feet. I watched in shock as that beautiful rug I had spent so many years weaving together seemed to unravel in an instant. As I pulled myself up off the ground and looked around, I realized that nothing about my life would ever be the same again.
That was January.
We had weathered five major crises within our family by the time my mom went down with her back injury in May. I cleared my schedule, packed a bag and drove 6 hours to Atlanta. After 10 days and several doctor appointments, she still couldn't walk and she definitely couldn't be alone. I needed to get back to my family and end of the school year events, so I packed up what I could fit in my car and brought my mom and her little dog back to Raleigh to stay with us.
It wasn't even 2 weeks later that I received a phone call I will never forget. Marty's mom had a stroke and passed away suddenly and unexpectedly in her sleep. Our entire family was devastated. We mourned the loss of this amazing woman, this incredible matriarch, who we all loved so dearly. On top of everything else going on in our lives, we found ourselves thrown into a time of incredible loss and grief. The hurricane force winds swirling around us went from category 3 to 4 in a matter of minutes.
That was June.
There simply are no words to describe the valley we were walking through by July. And there was my husband, so incredibly steady and strong - putting aside his own needs and sadness to minister to everyone else. The needs within our family had reached a level we could have never imagined. No amount of planning can prepare you for a continual onslaught of crises like we were experiencing - and the option to slow down simply didn't exist. We tried to take the loss we were dealing with in stride, but the grief on top of living in a constant state of overload since January began to take it's toll on both of us.
I lived the rest of the year in a fog - a very dense fog that rolled in quickly and seemed to saturate every aspect of my life. It clouded the way I saw everything around me. I tried to navigate my way out - and there were days I would get a brief glimpse of the sun and things would appear clearer, but those days were few and far between.
By December I had absolutely nothing left. Life in the fog had taken its toll on me. My internal battery was on 1% and I knew I was shutting down. The only difference between that day and the 338 days before it, was that I no longer wanted to recharge. I was so exhausted that I didn't want to care about anything anymore.
Christmas had always been my favorite holiday, but I wasn't looking forward to it that year. Three weeks to go and I hadn't bought gifts. I pulled into the TJ Max parking lot with 2 hours until closing and parked my car. The thought of having to go in completely overwhelmed me. Shopping for Christmas gifts was the last thing on earth I wanted to do. It was just something else that needed to be done - something else added to my never ending list of "have to's." The tears began to flow and the floodgates opened wide. I had a "come to Jesus meeting" right there in the TJ Max parking lot. Just Him and me.
Processing how I felt at that moment required more energy than I had left. I wanted to run away from what my life had become. Far away from anyone needing me or depending on me for anything. I had given all I had to give and I was empty. As I briefly entertained the thought of being free from all my "have to's," my thoughts went to Jesus. My life had been built on Him and His promises since He saved me 20 years ago. In that moment I knew that running away from everything would entail turning my back on Him. Despite how difficult things had been, despite how apathetic I had become, despite how far I felt from Him in that moment of exhaustion and desperation - He was still my Savior and I needed Him in that moment like never before. I had no idea what my life would look like without Him - and I didn't want to know. I realized that going through all of these difficult things in my life WITH Him was better than doing anything else WITHOUT Him.
I had probably said I need Jesus "more than anything else" more times than I could count, but I'm not sure I fully understood what needing Jesus more than anything else felt like until that moment. I don't think we can really know how much we need Him until we get to the end of ourselves and have nowhere else to turn.
"Where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth." Psalm 121:1
When there's nothing else left to hold on to, God is able to speak into the very depths of our soul unlike any other time. He gets all up in our hearts, grabbing and throwing out everything we’re holding on to. Everything we have shoved into the corners, thinking we may need one day - it all has to go. All the idols we've put our trust in, the pride, the false sense of control, the fear, sin, unforgiveness, anger, bitterness... the list is long and it’s different for each of us. It's painful and sometimes requires an unmarked grave - to ensure we can’t go back and dig it up.
Once all that junk is cleaned out and our hearts are fully centered in Him again, it's not long before we realize we’ve outgrown all that stuff anyway. To our surprise, we no longer need any of it. The sun begins to shine again as the fog begins to clear.
Spending time living in the fog gives us a greater appreciation for life on the other side of it all. There's a confidence that comes with the knowledge that we no longer need anything but Jesus to navigate our way - and that no matter what we go through in the future, we can face it with Him. As our fear of what lies ahead begins to fade, abundant life in Christ is ushered in.
To my surprise, once I reached the other side, I looked down and realized I was standing on my rug again. From the moment it had all fallen apart His perfect love had been knitting the fabric back together. But something was different. He had woven brilliant shades of scarlet and purple thread together with the old fibers. As I admired His handiwork and thought back on all that I had been through, I knew those threads were there to remind me of His promises that sustained me as I struggled to find my way out of the fog…
He will never leave me or forsake me. He is with me every step of the way. Deut 31:8
His love and mercy toward me will never end. Lam 31:22
His strength is made perfect in my weakness. 2 Cor 12:9
I am His. Isaiah 43:1
Nothing can separate me from His love. Romans 8:38
And His love, His faithful love, is all that I really need to weather whatever lies ahead. Psalm 63:3
He had made my rug even stronger and more beautiful than I could have ever imagined.... and I had been given a new story to tell. An amazing testimony of His love, provision and grace. From disillusioned to walking in faith, unhindered.
Now THAT’S a story to tell!
Dear God, you are my God and I am eagerly seeking you. I thirst for you - I need you - in this land that is dry, desolate, and without water. I will set my eyes on you - to see your strength and your glory. My lips will glorify you, because your faithful love is better than life. I will bless you as long as I live and at your name, I will lift up my hands in praise. You satisfy me; my mouth will praise you with joy. I will think of you as I lie down at night and I will meditate on you when I cannot sleep - because you are my helper! I will rejoice in the shadow of your wings. I follow close to you; your right hand holds on to me. Thank you Lord for the blessing of your faithful love for me! (Psalm 63:1-8)