The Ebb and Flow of Life

It’s been four years since I wrote these words:

When the police came knocking on our door at 2:30am one bitter cold December night to tell us our son James had been killed in a highway accident, I thought it was the worst news a mother could ever hear. But early one morning three weeks ago, I got a call that was just as bad. Our daughter Irene called to ask me if I could come, because her husband had died that morning.

Years ago I read the book, Hind’s Feet on High Places, by Hannah Hurnard. The author believed that each one of us is given a life companion which will either turn us to God or away from Him.

This companion could be Fear, Pain, Anger… any number of possibilities. The companion is not of our choosing, but our response is our choice.

Hannah Hurnard may or may not be right, but when my daughter and I were talking that morning, I couldn’t help feeling it had been confirmed yet again. Loss. It’s a recurring theme in my life, and one I never seem to get past before it happens yet again. It wouldn’t be so hard, or so my thoughts and emotions go, if these men had been old when they died. But all of them were between the ages of 25 and 43.

The month of August has passed with a sense of surrealism, and it’s only the absence of an amazing young man in our lives that drives home the truth each day that Sean is gone from us. So does the plot in the Manola Cemetery, five miles from home, where Sean is buried beside our son James. “My two big sons”, I thought, the day we buried him. “My two big brothers”, said our youngest son, Nathaniel, who had just turned 14.

Sean Gutridge -- Apr. 4, 1970 - Aug. 9, 2013I feel as if I’ve been in hiding, or gone AWOL, in the past three weeks. My blog has been neglected… my Facebook profile shows the one track our life has been on. The temptation has been to feel as I’ve accomplished nothing. But often the EBB of life, when creativity and productivity appears to be at an all-time low, is just as productive as the FLOW, when all is rosy and good. These have been weeks of slow healing, as our daughter has been staying with us. We helped her through the difficult task of packing and cleaning and locking the doors for the last time on the apartment where she and Sean lived. It’s time for a new chapter in her life and in ours, without Sean.

And it’s time for me to turn aside from the beckoning of self-pity and weakness and turn to the future — a time when everything that has happened has led up to THIS moment in time. God never makes a mistake, and His timing is always perfect, no matter how wrong and painful it may seem to me at the time. I don’t know WHY this happened, or why so many key men in my life have died young. But I do know this… There is a reason for this, just as there is a reason for everything He does. And it’s all for good… to strengthen us and bring glory to His name.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” ~ Jeremiah 29:11

© Willena Flewelling


  1. Hi Willena,

    As always an interesting read. I agree with your points as I have personally tried this & I appreciate your efforts that you have selected this topic to write an article.

    By the way, It’s always pleasure to read your posts and comment.

    ~ Donna
    Donna Merrill recently posted…Top 15 Best Ping Pong Paddle Reviews & Buying Guide 2017My Profile

  2. Hi Willena,

    I’m sorry to hear of the loss of your son-in-law as well. God does hold the answers. Sending thoughts and prayers for all of you. I wish I could say I understand, I do know loss, but not from the loss of children and I know that’s a whole different element in life. May God continually send comfort to your and yours.

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