See Luminosity

Finding Less Fear

Finding Less Fear

I finished my scrapbook of our journey with Dominic.

I started it not long after his death, it became a therapeutic project for me. Putting together his photos with our story…his story…well, His story – helped me make sense of it all, and has helped me heal. I finished everything except the pages on his funeral, because I’d been waiting on the photos of that from a photographer friend. Now I’ve got all the photos, finished the journaling, and it’s…done.

I kind of feel like there should be a musical score accompanying that announcement.

Not sure exactly why, but finishing his scrapbook seems like the ending of an era. Like the closing of chapter. A very dramatic, painful, crazy chapter. It feels a little sad and relieving at the same time, to be at a place to draw an end to this section of the story. I’ve been completely engrossed in it for so long that sometimes I wonder if what our story can look like without this chapter continuing on forever. But mostly I feel relief. And hope. And gratitude that we’ve made it through, and that a new part of the story is being written.

I don’t know what our future will hold. I know that there will be some steep mountains to climb, though – I know this much better, now, than I did before Dominic. I lived a bit of a charmed life, growing up. I like to say I grew up in the “Bonsack Bubble” where everything I knew was love, respect, care from others, and great opportunity. School was easy and I enjoyed success at work, I never lost anyone very close to me, and as far as I knew, life was good. I later had two beautiful children, was blessed to be able to stay at home and homeschool them, and I got to raise my children near my family. I’ve lived in a world where I generally forget to lock my doors at night, because, well, any threats just seemed far away from my reality. For me, life has been generally safe.

Yes, I’ve had my share of bumps along the way. Even some significant ones. But my blessings so incredibly far outweighed any problems in life that I got a bit of a skewed view of reality – skewed to the good side. Dominic changed all of that. It opened my eyes to the fallen nature of this world. To the reality that bad can, and will happen. To me, and to all of us. My safe little world was completely shattered, the bottom fell out, and I suddenly knew that this world has pain. Pain from which I was not immune.

Right after Dominic’s death, this realization brought something with it I haven’t felt a whole lot of in my life – fear. A sudden understanding that I really could lose what is most dear to me. In the weeks right after Dominic’s death, I became worried, for the first time, about what might happen to my other children, or to my husband, or to others close to me. The world of potential horrific possibilities started to look frighteningly real. “The worst” had actually happened. And with it came the reality that the worst could happen again.

I should be fearful. Pre-Dominic Rebecca would have been fearful. She would have been stressing every moment, thinking about the future, dreading possible awful scenarios, and planning how to handle them or overcome them. She would have been terrified to live in this world that can rip everything we love from us in a split second, and can pierce our hearts to the point that we wish we weren’t alive. She would have dreaded facing each day with the realization of how utterly powerless she was to stop cataclysmic, soul-crushing disaster. Pre-Dominic Rebecca would have lived in fear.

And that, my friends, is just one of the reasons why the Lord chose to walk with me through this tragedy, rather than save me from it.

Because I do not live in fear any longer. In fact, I now have surprisingly little fear of what may come my way in future chapters.

It’s a miracle, really, this lack of fear. It’s not a lack of fear, like it was before Dominic, out of an ignorance or lack of personal experience with pain. It is a peace that comes from knowing that, yes, I’ve been through “the worst”. And…I have survived. With the Lord, and only because of the Lord, I am alive, and I am well. And because of that, I now know that no matter what happens – even if it is “the worst” – I can handle it with the Lord.

Isaiah 41:9-10 says:

I took you from the ends of the earth,
from its farthest corners I called you.
I said, ‘You are my servant’;
I have chosen you and have not rejected you.
So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

I know it now. One day at a time, one moment at a time, with God’s presence and sustenance to get through just that instance, I can handle anything. That’s why we don’t have to fear. He never requires us to face all of the future at once. He only requires us to live in the current moment – and to do it with His presence, help, and strength.

My scrapbook is done. And with it, the chapter of the past few months, the chapter I might name “Pain” or “Suffering”, maybe even “Fear”, is over. We are moving forward into a new world to which the Lord has brought us, out of His grace. This new chapter, I think, would be entitled “Hope”. Because regardless of what I have to endure in this new part of the book, no matter the suffering, pain, or loss – I don’t fear it like I did before. I may not have my baby on earth. But I do have, through what the Lord has shown me in his death, something that will give me peace every day for the rest of time I walk this earth: the experience, the assurance, that I truly can “do all things, through Him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13).

Our story isn’t over. And, as I wrote at the end of my scrapbook, I can’t wait to see how the Lord is going to write the rest of it.

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To view and download Dominic’s scrapbook for free click here.

 

 

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