Feeling powerless over a deployed son's despair, a military mom goes for a walk and finds spiritual solace.
Posted in , Jan 29, 2018
I remember that week in early spring years ago—it had been hectic here at home. No catastrophes, just normal life with two active sons in school and sports. In the midst of it all, we’d heard from our deployed son twice. Usually getting to talk to him that often would be a gift, not as much this time. Instead he’d shared the heartache and despair he was battling with.
He wondered why he was there, if he was doing any good, if everyone back home had forgotten him. On and on he went, sharing his worries. I loved that he turned to us, but it broke my heart that I couldn’t do anything more than listen and reassure him of our love…and of God’s.
In the days that followed my mind churned with unthinkable places his despair could lead him. I prayed…some…but mostly I fretted and worried. Over and over I tried to come up with ways I could really do something to help.
I felt powerless, weak and certain I was somehow letting him down.
Finally, unable to endure inaction any longer, I took a walk. Not helpful to my son, but being outdoors has always been a place of solace for me, even when it’s just a stroll in our neighborhood. I hoped it would clear my head and help me come up with a plan of action.
As I walked, my mind quieted. Instead of the what-if’s, I heard the songs of birds, smelled the promise of spring as the trees around me began to send out new leaves and buds. I looked up and watched the clothes scudding cross a brilliant blue sky.
As my struggle for a plan disappeared, it was replaced with something else. In the silence of my mind, I heard God speak. He whispered reminders from His Word. He asked me to look back and recall all the times He’d provided for me—and more importantly for my sons. I felt the worry fall away like a cloak of doom I’d been wearing since the last phone call.
The last thing I heard Him say was reassurance that my son was now in a good place, safe in body, mind and soul. And that I’d hear it in his voice the next time we spoke. He asked me to hold onto that with faith and then remember His assurance the next time I found myself running toward this place.
Sure enough, that very night our son called again. This time, he was at peace. He’d found his reasons for being there and was no longer living in the pit of despair. I learned that sometimes I have to come to the end of my power before I hear God speak.