By Natasha Smith
Brave Women Series - Natasha's Story
The phone rang and my heart sank.
“Hello,” I softly answered.
Holding my breath, I waited to hear the voice on the other end.
Their tone, their volume.
Was there angst, anger, desperation, urgency, or otherwise in their voice?
What happened? Was everyone okay? Who died?
Question after question raced in my mind even before the person on the other end could answer. I was already trying to prepare my heart and mind for the worst.
Have you been there?
For me, this would be the way I answered any phone call I received from my family for years to come.
A rapid heartbeat, sweaty palms, and a flood of anxiety and fear within my whole being.
All of this became my norm, because of previous calls…that went something like this:
“…they were in a bad accident.”
“…he was shot.”
“…we’re at the emergency room.”
“…he’s in ICU.”
“It’s not looking good.”
“Your sister died.”
“Your aunt died.”
“Your dad transitioned.”
You see, I’d suffered from a succession of losses.
Death after death.
Loss after loss.
Grief upon grief.
So, the sound of a ringing phone was more of a blaring alarm.
"I’d suffered from a succession of losses. Death after death. Loss after loss. Grief upon grief. So, the sound of a ringing phone was more of a blaring alarm."
Like back in the day, when television stations performed testing of the emergency broadcast system. There would be a blaring yet annoying sound. An alarm, followed by this is a test of the emergency broadcasting system. And if in fact there was an emergency, the loud blaring sound would be followed by an important message.
That’s how I felt when my phone rang. Because the phone ringing often followed an announcement of someone becoming deathly ill, a sudden loss, or a tragic event in my family.
I feared answering the phone.
And frankly, I feared bad news.
Several years ago, I came across this verse and clung to it with everything I had, and I still cling to it. It’s a verse I meditate on when fear tries to creep back in.
The Psalmist David wrote, “They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord” (Psalm 112:7 NIV).
Like this verse, I had to learn to trust in the Lord. No matter what the news, I trusted my God would be with me and bring me through it.
"I had to learn to trust in the Lord. No matter what the news, I trusted my God would be with me and bring me through it."
The thing is, we live in this fallen world full of hardship, loss, and suffering, so we continue to have opportunities to trust God.
My oldest sister died at 32 years old, and my next oldest sister died at 42.
I was 19 and 32 at the time.
Each loss shook me to the core.
And brought upon me a fear of dying before my time.
This fear tried to attach itself to me.
I’m thankful for the body of Christ and those who are willing to come alongside us to sit with us and pray. And that is what I had, believers who prayed over me and with me for this fear to lift and it did.
What I’ve found is fear will rear its ugly head at any opportune time. Because the roads of fear and faith intersect at every turn. Yet, I’ve found every time I choose to trust God, I take the road of faith.
And every step I take in the direction of faith, even amid grief, is not only a step of faith but a step of courage. Courage forged through a confident trust built in a relationship with Jesus. Courage forged through the fire of loss.
"Every step I take in the direction of faith, even amid grief, is not only a step of faith but a step of courage. Courage forged through a confident trust built in a relationship with Jesus. Courage forged through the fire of loss."
I’m reminded of this verse, the Prophet Isaiah said, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze” (Isaiah 43:2 NIV).
I hold this verse close as I continue to walk this grief journey. Knowing that God is with us no matter the news, no matter the outcome, is more sobering and comforting than the thought of something catastrophic happening.
We can’t control what happens, but we are responsible for how we respond. We can choose courage over fear. But only by and through Christ.
"We can’t control what happens, but we are responsible for how we respond. We can choose courage over fear. But only by and through Christ."
The Psalmist David wrote, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you” (Psalm 56:3 NIV).
I’m able to put my trust in God because he has gone before me, and he knows the ending. He has a plan and I trust in his plan. We can trust his plan.
And maybe you’re like me, navigating fears associated with loss and grief, and need this reminder.
Nothing ever catches God by surprise. I remind myself that He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning, and the End. I remind myself that God is in control. And that he is our all-knowing Father. And not only does he know all things, but he has already made provisions for us in every situation and circumstance.
"He is our all-knowing Father. And not only does he know all things, but he has already made provisions for us in every situation and circumstance."
Trusting God doesn’t mean we will never be afraid. But I believe it means when we are afraid, we depend on him to give us the strength to be courageous. Christ in us is bigger than any fear we can ever face.
"Trusting God doesn’t mean we will never be afraid. But I believe it means when we are afraid, we depend on him to give us the strength to be courageous. Christ in us is bigger than any fear we can ever face."
So, even when we don’t know what the day will hold, we can absolutely know the One who holds the day. We can trust in his divine and sovereign plan. Knowing that his plan is good and that he is good even amid bad news and grief.
Brave Woman Manifesto
Make sure to check back next week as another courageous Sister shares her story. And by the way...
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Natasha Smith is a grief advocate, wife, an engineer turned homeschooler, and NC native. She is an author, speaker, and podcaster, who shares stories on faith, family, and grief. Her work has appeared in Guideposts, Her View from Home, Focus on the Family, TODAY Parents, and other e-publications. Her forthcoming book Can You Just Sit with Me releases this fall with InterVarsity Press. You can find her online at imnatashasmith.com or follow her on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.