All hell broke loose for me in 2004 when my eighteen-year-old daughter, Jamie’s ex-boyfriend, shot her. Suddenly, my family was living a life we did not choose – one of violence, drugs, gangs, life-saving surgery, and the justice system.
Over the next several years, I worked hard to move closer to God, to hear his voice, and to understand what was happening. But, my world kept falling apart, piece by piece. We faced business and financial challenges, health issues, and death in the family, all while my daughter moved deeper into addiction and chaos, and further from the brilliant girl I once knew – the girl who had it all.
Perhaps you are experiencing a period when nothing seems to be going your way, and you are feeling confused, frustrated, helpless, and scared. Maybe you are mad at God; I was.
Precisely 12 years and 12 days after the first shooting, it happened again, and this time it was fatal.
Every morning for years, I prayed for a miracle because I knew that’s what it would take for my daughter to beat her addiction Beast. I sent up my petition and then tried to live in faith, and believe for the miracle. When Jamie died, I thought God got it wrong, and I told him so – loudly. I felt betrayed. After all, I prayed, believed, and waited on God. Hadn’t I checked all the faith boxes? My daughter’s murder felt like a middle finger from heaven.
When life’s two-by-fours smack us upside the head, leaving us devastated, it can shake our faith to the core. I figured God had been yelled at by better people than I, so I forgave myself for my outburst and grabbed my spiritual armor I had thrown against the wall, and decided to stand up and make the best of the rest of my life. I came to believe Jamie’s life was headed in a more destructive direction than it had been for the past 15 years, and as heartbroken as I am, she went to heaven at just the right time. I opened my eyes to the good that was all around me.
These are the Four Pillars of Faith that are holding me up, and they can hold you up, too:
- Some things don’t make sense. Let’s face it; there are things in this life we will never understand. These are the situations you need to file in the “Some Things Don’t Make Sense File.” It is where my daughter’s drug addiction and her murder are stored. It is where I placed my biological father’s abandonment. The file contains everything I have given up trying to figure out.
- It’s better to walk with God. As frustrated as you might be with God, I have found it is better to walk with him, not understanding his ways, than to go it alone, pretending to have it all together.
- Consider the bigger picture. When all hell breaks loose, it is natural to stare at the incident with a myopic viewpoint. Try to consider that whatever is happening might be a part of a larger picture that you can’t see at present. Be open to perspective that you can only gain through trials.
- Find the Collateral Beauty. Collateral damage is easy to spot, and the Beast wants you so focused on the negative fallout that you miss the lessons, wisdom, and people God sends your way. Since God never wastes any experience, be assured that in and amongst the shrapnel embedded in your heart and on the ground around you, is collateral beauty.
You are not alone. Pick up your spiritual armor and start walking with God again.
Your Story Matters…Live it, Courageously.
Valerie Silveira is an award-winning author of multiple books, workbooks, and journals to guide people worldwide through the path to Courage. She is a sought-after speaker and coach. Valerie is known as a woman of unwavering strength who, through the trauma and lessons of her daughter’s addiction and her senseless murder, along with her decades of leadership, empowers others to stand up and live courageously. Her book, “Still Standing After All the Tears,” has helped thousands to battle the beasts in their lives, and her most recent book, “Still Standing,” provides hope and healing for life’s many challenges. Connect with Valerie on Facebook or LinkedIn. For information on Valerie’s coaching and speaking programs, visit www.ValerieSilveira.com