Finding Peace through Painful Experiences

God allows difficult—and sometimes unthinkable—things in our lives. But He doesn’t leave it there.

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Posted in , Dec 21, 2017

Finding peace through pain

Our son was newly home from deployment when the call came through our Blue Star Mothers prayer line. A local young man had been killed in combat. We worked closely with the Gold Star Mother (the designation of mothers who have lost a child in combat) liaison of the Department of Defense to support the family in any way they wished.

Often an affected family doesn’t want us around. We serve as support, but also as a visible reminder that God allowed others to survive when their loved one is gone. Our goal is not to intrude, but to give them what they need, and we’ll move heaven and earth to do it if it’s possible. 

This family was different. They invited us in, sharing their grief and their pride in their young son. “It was all he ever wanted to do. He said it was what God created him for.” His mother spoke the words to anyone who asked the secret to how well she was coping. Her pride shown through her tears as she reminded us that, “We each have a purpose, he just accomplished his sooner than we expected.”

Normally the mother is presented with her Gold Star Pin privately by a member of the military. Most aren’t interested in adding the formal presentation to an already heart-breaking funeral. Not this mother. “I want everyone to see how proud I am of him.” 

So another Blue Star Mother and I pulled out our white gloves, familiarized ourselves with the ceremony and presented the mother with her pin and her embroidered banner at her son’s funeral. It was a difficult time, but we were so honored to be a part of this family’s celebration of their loved one’s life.

Here’s what I learned from that experience:

--Faith and grief are not mutually exclusive. This mother felt her loss as deeply as any I’ve ever seen. Yet her faith remained firm despite her emotions. 

--God’s perspective is the only path through challenging times. When we remember to focus our attention upward, we can see the way through difficulties.

--With acceptance comes peace. It is what it is. As believers, we can take that sometimes glib phrase and give it depth. God allows difficult—and sometimes unthinkable—things in our lives. But He doesn’t leave it there. He goes on and brings good out of bad, hope out of hopelessness and love out of hate. Acceptance isn’t defeat; it’s the path to victory. 

That experience changed me. I still felt fearful for the things my son might be called to face in his time of military service. But I had seen what peace looked like in horrific circumstances, and it had restored my hope. 

“Thank you for the great support you give to our Veterans at the Charles George VA Medical Center in Asheville, NC with the booklets you provide. “                                                                                 --C. Garland Vance

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