The Story I Don't Want To Tell
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The Story I Don't Want To Tell

Grief, loss and depression wrecked me, but God was there too.

The Story I Don't Want To Tell
Courtney Marshall

All I could hear was my heartbeat. That was it.

My sister had just called and began to tell me the story I never wanted to hear. She said Mom and Dad had gotten into a car accident. She said that Mom was okay, but she was still badly injured. How badly? Then she said five words I had reserved only for my worst nightmare:

Courtney, Dad didn't make it.

There was a quietness and a chaos simultaneously colliding in me in that moment I cannot begin to explain. It felt as if my ear canals had closed up and I was seeing everything through the end of a straw. Every other reality fell out of focus and I could only repeat that strange sentence over and over in my head. Surely this was a misunderstanding. He couldn't be gone. He had always been there. All my brain could do for the next 10 minutes or so was attempt to stop the spinning, stabilize itself and find some sort of truth to begin building off of again. 10 minutes face-to-face with a God that I didn't want to love in that moment. God, where are you?

I'm right here. I'm not going anywhere now and I never will. Court, you have a choice to make. Are you going to let Me walk you through this or not?

I had to make that choice. On that floor in my grandparent's kitchen, I could decide to run from it all and quit. So easily. Surely, no one would fault me for that, right? I was so angry with Him. I could try to find my way back later, sure, but running sounds easier right now. It sounded safer to go hide in a hole, where nothing else could get to me while I tried to let life sink in.

Or I could stay there on the floor with Him for a while and just be, then get up and start walking again. I really didn't want to, but He was the only permanent truth I could see in that space. So I got up.

Let me clarify, though. I don't believe that getting back up and "being strong" in any way is of human strength. There is just no way. I've fallen down too many times to claim any sort of victory against the darkness as my own. My God is strength, He is courage, He is love. He's pulled me back up every single time.

Dad died a year and a half ago, almost to the day. I have avoided telling this story until now (especially putting it on a public platform) because it's uglier than I care to admit. It's hard to dig it all up again and relive that night. It's not easy to explain the whole story when people ask. It's not easy to say that Dad, who was really my step-dad, and biological dad were both killed in car crashes. Not one, but two. I don't want to tell this story some days because I don't want to get the pity, feel the eyes, or hear, "Oh, you poor thing. God must have really needed them in Heaven."

Yeah, that must have been it. He needed them both? Sure. Let me go dig that out of the Bible somewhere. I don't know about you, but I don't think I believe in a God that rips our lives out from under our feet, only to smile to Himself and think, "Finally! Now I have more people up here to boost my ego." No, that's not the God I know. The God I know wept with me that night.

Court, you don't know what I'm doing yet, but you will. Right now, we're going to cry, then I'm going to help you up.

Mom was in 3 different hospitals over the next month. My sister and I watched her learn to walk again, then slowly regain stability and strength on her left side where so many bones had been broken. We watched her mourn her second husband and then start life again. It was torturous inspiration. Once we had her on her feet again, we attended two beautiful life celebrations for Dad, then started stepping (and some days crawling) forward into our new normals.

For about three months after the services and getting Mom back home, I lived out of what felt like a tiny, cramped one-room apartment in my head. A depressive fog that wouldn't lift, no matter how much I prayed or tried to interact with people. I couldn't sleep and I thought I could beat it all back with sheer will and a better white noise machine so the silence wouldn't be so deafening. At that time, I think my prayers were something along the lines of, "God, I need you to get me out here. Make it go away." When that didn't work, I started pushing my friends away and repeatedly reverted back to my go-to phrase, "I'm good, I promise." Lying through my teeth. I didn't want them fighting for me, because fighting for myself seemed so far out of reach. That pit is so dark. If you've been there, you know that strong pull to draw farther back. To retreat. It was the darkest kind of dark I've ever known.

Over the months, I had to learn to let process happen. I had to learn how to start doing the work on my heart that needed attention desperately. I had to let Jesus meet me. I remember hating that I was worn out so easily by people because I could barely handle my own life. I continued dealing with anger, emotional shutdown and avoidance. I began the process of walking through forgiving the driver that hit my parents' car. I am still working through those heart struggles. In all of that, I am so thankful for those friends with true and gritty patience as they have walked that journey with me.

I am still walking forward, sometimes crawling, and that's okay. I still miss both of my dads and I always will. Some days I really don't want to live with the reality of it all, but I have to. And I have to proclaim Jesus. Otherwise, I don't know how else any of this makes sense if there isn't the hope of redemption and eternity with a God that always shows up. When the curtain falls at the end of this massive Story here on Earth, He will call for an encore and it will be the most beautiful, Heavenly song we've ever heard. I don't get the entire picture or reasoning for bad things, and I may not for a while, but I have slowly begun to see little flowers come out of the ashes.

To those of you walking through any sort of trauma, grief, loss or depression—consider Jesus. It's still going to be hard, even with Him there, but you won't walk alone. He won't let you run, but He asks you stand with Him and trust. What do we really have to fear in facing the dark with that kind of muscle?

Are you going to let Me walk you through this or not?

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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