Through Rough & Dry

 Shared By:  Vanessa Garza

Have you ever walked through a dry season of your life where you can’t hear God? And everything you do to try to hear Him just isn’t working? I’m sure anyone who has a relationship with God can relate on some level.  Ever since my dad passed away in April 2016, I’ve been walking through a dry season. I’m still working it out. 

THE BEGINNING

I remember waking up on the morning of April 18, 2016, about to get ready for ministry school, when I got a call from my mom saying I needed to fly home that day. 

Shocked and confused, I asked “Why!? I was supposed to come home in a few days!” 

At this point, my Dad had colon cancer for 3 years along with diabetes and the cancer was taking over. I knew my dad wasn’t doing well, and I had planned to fly home and spend time with my family. 

“You just need to get home, now," she replied.  "I bought you a flight from Sacramento to Chicago. Please ask one of your friends to drive you. I love you.”  

I got off the phone, panicking to find my suitcase, and started packing my clothes and necessities. 3 hours later, I was on an airplane. 

On my layover, I called my mom to update her: I had landed and was waiting for my flight home. My sister and mom weren’t picking up their phones and I didn’t think much of it.  After a short layover, I boarded my next flight. When I landed in Chicago four hours later, the car that pulled up to get me contained my mom, my sister, and my brother.  I was a little confused to see all of them, but again, I didn’t think anything of it.  As we greeted each other, I knew something was off. 

THE NEWS

“So," I say once I'm in the car, "what’s going on?” 

“Honey," my mom replies, "your daddy is gone.” 

I was in shock and began to weep uncontrollably. My brother and sister were sitting in the front, crying as well. My mom held me as I screamed, “Why? Why? Why?”  She was comforting me by talking, but I don’t remember much of what she said because my mind couldn’t comprehend what was going on. 

An hour into the drive, I called my boyfriend at the time, Viktor, to tell him the sad news. He started crying over the phone.  I remember telling him that night that God was still good, even if it came out of a place of ‘say it until you believe it’. He had been praying and believing for my dad’s healing with me, so it took a toll on him as well.

Eventually, I get home where my dad’s body still lay. I hurried inside, dropped all of my things, and fell to my knees at his bed. I began to weep uncontrollably as I looked at his cold, white body. I remember screaming, “Daddy, no! Daddy, no! Please come back!” hundreds of times. My family came in a few times to comfort and cry with me. Eventually, I asked everyone to leave so I could be alone with my dad.

I began telling him how much I loved him, and that I would miss him very much.  I played a video of me singing at a church in the Los Angeles area because it was the first time I had lead worship. I asked him, “Are you proud of me, Daddy?” with tears streaming down my face.  Growing up, all I wanted was to please my dad, so I wanted to let him hear me singing.  But as I looked at his cold face, I kept thinking, This isn’t real. How could this be happening? My dad is gone? He is too young to die! He has a long life to live! Why? How could you leave us like this?

DESERT SEASON

I want to be honest with you, reader.  I would like to tell you that this event made me grow closer to God, and that I have a stronger relationship with Him because of it, but I cannot lie to you. Yes, there are some areas where I felt the Lord on some things, and grew in certain areas, but I have never felt so much pain in my life to date.  I never questioned God’s goodness, but I was disappointed in Him and I could not get myself to admit that for the longest time.  However, no desert season is too big for Him.  

I felt the desert season begin when I started sweeping my emotions under the rug.  Anytime I felt emotions, I would shut them off and say, “I’ll cry later,” although I never actually did.  I could not get myself to FEEL, because I was scared to face the current reality of my life.  I remember sometimes hanging out with Viktor, and I would find myself not being present, acting cold or angry toward him for no reason.  It wasn’t for no reason; I didn’t want to deal with my dad’s death, so I told my heart to take a seat. 

FEELING AGAIN

 I have always been an emotional person, so for me to be emotionally unaware was not normal. Eventually, I couldn’t take it anymore, and I just had to let it out.  I let my heart feel, and boy did it hurt.  I don’t remember entirely what happened except for the fact that it just clicked. Looking back on it now, I can see it was the Holy Spirit grabbing my attention.  This awareness helped me into my grieving process. Although Holy Spirit helped remind me to feel, I also had to constantly remind myself to do so. After a few times however, I told myself that I would never shut my heart off again. This meant that anytime, anywhere, no matter who I’m with, I would let myself feel any emotion because I knew it was going to heal me. 

  Viktor also played a huge role during this process.  He always told me that God wasn’t scared of my emotions and that He could handle them.  I’d call him up any hour of the day and I would tell him that I just needed to cry, and he was there.  He didn’t have to say much, but what I needed the most was for someone to just be there with me.  If it wasn’t for Viktor, I don’t think I would be where I am today in my grieving process.  He championed and believed in me.  Viktor told me every day, You’re doing so good. You’re so strong. His encouragement was one of the things that kept me going the first 2 months after my dad passed away.  

VULNERABILITY & INTIMACY

Eventually, I came to the realization that I was disappointed in God for taking my dad; that’s why I could never talk to Him about it. He never forced me to talk with Him, He only waited.   I wanted to be vulnerable but, as in any relationship, when you open up you want to feel safe.  The first step of me being vulnerable was when I finally let my heart open up. Being vulnerable with God gives us freedom, regardless of what our circumstances may look like.  God can handle us being mad, angry, sad or even depressed.  He’s the one that made us, so He knows every part of us.  When we allow ourselves to VERBALLY tell God how we are actually feeling, it’s giving God an invitation of intimacy with us.  At our core, we all crave intimacy.  He will wait, give us hints, bring people on our paths to get our attention, but He never forces us to be with Him.  

With this intimacy, I am learning how to let God into my uncertainty.  One area I experienced this in was with my breakup with Viktor.  Toward the end of our relationship, as I would talk with the Lord, I increasingly knew we just weren’t “meant to be” anymore.  This decision was very hard for me to make, based upon all the history and memories we made together. Viktor is one of the most giving, kind, and persistent people I know.  I will forever be thankful to him for the ways he was there for me during my dad’s death.  God helped me make the decision to end our relationship a few months ago, and He’s been there to help me through the grieving of it.  I had no other option but to trust that God had good intentions for the both of us, despite the difficulty of a breakup.  

With any breakup, it’s easy to isolate and be numb to it.  The only way I have gotten through this grieving process is to surround myself with community, allow my heart to feel the emotions, spend time with the Lord, and exercise.  I’ve found that when I was grieving my Dad passing away, I started going back to the gym, which helped me become my happy self again.  

TRUSTING & HOPE

Another area where I’m currently having to trust God in my uncertainty is my future.  I just graduated from Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry. These three years of school focus on growing your relationship with the Lord, theological studies, emotional healing and freedom, and knowing your identity as a son or daughter of God.  I am 21 years old, and I’m at a place where I could do anything with my life—which can be scary and beautiful.  I have realized that ministry school was just a small stepping stone into my destiny.  If I think about the future too much, I can miss what God has for me in the present.  Yes, it’s good to dream and pursue your passions, but God cares more about the journey, not the destination. 

It can be hard to believe that God is good when so many uncertainties and negativities are happening in our lives.  When my dad passed away, the first thing I said to myself was that God was still good. I wanted to believe that it was true.  As I healed over time, I began to believe that it was true.  Sometimes, in order for us to know God in the good times, we need to experience Him in the bad times. God does not change His nature based upon our circumstances. He is always good.  

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I hope my story encourages you to believe that God is good no matter what you go through. God never intends for us to go through a rough or dry season, but He always promises to be there with us along the journey.  Whether a loved one passes away, we lose a job, a relationship ends, or we can’t find the purpose for our lives, God still remains good.  

 
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