"The Questions, the Trauma and the Loss" | Isabel's Story

Isabel's Story: "Coming into the retreat, I was really raw, but I don’t think I knew it. My dad, my best friend in the whole world, had been diagnosed with stage 4 liver cancer in April of 2016 and died in September of that same year, and I can honestly say that those months were some of the worst I have ever experienced. In so many ways my dad had been my spiritual trail guide through life, whether we were overseas as a missionary family or I was calling him from college with my many questions and doubts about truth, God, philosophy, religion, the bible… He carried me through one of the hardest seasons of faith I’ve experienced in my life so far and helped me come back to Jesus and fall back in love with God. After the funeral, I went straight back into school. This sent me into a frenzy of activity in the rush towards graduation, and I barely had time to think about breakfast, let alone the monumental loss I had experienced. Since coming home, I’ve begun to unpack and process the last few years, the questions and the trauma and the loss. Over the past months, I began to again feel strongly the question of Pontius Pilate: “What is truth?” I’ve always been an academic, taking after my dad, and I’ve wrestled to connect my head to my heart when it comes to theology and Scripture – something my dad always seemed to do effortlessly. But in going through the Women’s Retreat, I began to feel the webbing of these seeming polar opposites begin to connect, to weave themselves together. During our time of prayer, verses began coming mind. As I read them aloud, the shape of the text began to change. Suddenly, God’s Word seemed alive and penetrating. It was almost surreal, how differently I began to feel about the words, this letter from God. Since the retreat, I’ve started the 90 Day Bible – discipline hasn’t always been my strong suit, but reading the Bible doesn’t feel like discipline anymore. I’ve fallen in love with this book, once seeming so ancient, it has come alive with newness and life. My dad was always so rooted and steeped in scripture, and it was something he came back to over and over again. I feel as though the legacy he left in my life has been brought to fruition in some way – almost like the mantel being passed down. Reflecting back on the retreat, I think God was teaching me to walk on my own - that He is an even more trustworthy trail guide. I feel like a candle was lit. Not any roaring fire, but just enough to see my feet in front of me. It was just what I needed at this time in my journey."

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