No parent ever expects the unthinkable: that their child would find their home in Heaven before them. On a recent episode of Your Hope-Filled Perspective, Alycia Morales shared about losing her young adult son after he was involved in an accident. Out of her pain, wounds, and now sacred scars, Alycia shares here how God has brought beauty for ashes and turned pain into purpose.

Beauty from Ashes: When God Turns Pain into Purpose
By Alycia Morales

The night of January 2, 2021, was like any other night—until it wasn’t. My husband, Victor, and I lounged in the living room when my phone rang at 11:30PM with an unknown number. As I usually do with callers I don’t know, I let it go to voicemail. When it immediately rang again, I listened to the Holy Spirit’s prompt and answered.

“Is this Caleb Morales’s mom?”

I knew this wouldn’t be good. “Yes.”

I heard about every three words as the officer explained there’d been an accident and we needed to come to the hospital immediately. Our middle son, who’d turned nineteen only two months prior, was in critical condition undergoing emergency surgery.

We rushed to the hospital and waited nearly two hours before the surgeon’s assistant came out and pronounced Caleb’s death at 1:00AM on January third.

Life comes to a sudden stop when a mama survives her child. Things we never have to think about doing, such as breathing, are no longer natural to us. Trauma wreaks havoc on our bodies, emotions, thoughts, and sometimes our faith. Life crashes, and the struggle to make all the things happen becomes as overwhelming as the grief.

Thankfully, God walks this valley of the shadow of death with us. He also sends friends and family to support, comfort, and share fond memories with us. That first week after Caleb went home to Jesus, four people daily joined us around our dining room table as we made arrangements and processed this new unwanted normal in our lives. These four, who were once acquaintances, became fast friends.

Finding Comfort in New Friendships

Caleb’s fiancé called me as we were on the way to the hospital. Caleb never made it to his friend’s house, and that friend had called her wondering if she knew Caleb’s whereabouts.

We’d had dinner with her family once prior to Caleb’s death. She and her parents met us at the hospital. We’d learned Caleb had died moments before their arrival in the waiting room. Nothing will knit one mama’s heart to another’s as instantly as this type of tragedy. While Caleb’s fiancé’s heart broke, her mama’s and mine bonded. Mama has become dear to my heart in ways that no other woman ever will.

At least once per month, she and I meet for lunch at a restaurant near her workplace. While we catch up on how our families are doing, we keep watch out the window, making note of when the Roebuck Landscaping truck rolls by. Roebuck was Caleb’s employer prior to his passing. Seeing their trucks is like a wave from heaven. Mama and I smile, allow our eyes to water for a moment, and proceed with our conversation.

Mama ministers to my heart as I minister to hers. Only God can create a bond like that and give a mama a friend to walk with through this grief journey.

Then there’s the second couple. Our youngest sons had met at school a few years before and became fast friends. We lived down the street from them for a season. When they heard Caleb had passed, they also spent hours every day at our dining room table. We bonded over conversations and their outpouring of love for us.

Turning Pain into Purpose through Ministry

After Caleb’s funeral, this mama began calling me while she was out delivering mail, and we’d talk for an hour on a weekly basis.

Six months after Caleb’s death, I missed an early-morning call from her. As soon as I checked my phone and saw it was her call I’d missed, my stomach turned. She never called that early. I played back her message. Through tears, she told me their elder son had died. He was twenty, just a year older than Caleb.

Never would I have expected that God would use Vic’s and my trauma to help our friends through theirs.

I immediately called her to get the details and find out what she and her hubby needed. As she relayed what details they knew, I cried, every ounce of heartbreak surfacing again, knowing she was now experiencing the same.

Vic and I dropped everything to be at their table for the next week as they planned and processed just as we had six months before. Despite the return to that deep emotional grief we faced, we stood on our Rock and loved on our couple friends the way they had loved on us when Caleb passed.

Purpose in Our Pain: Finding Hope and Healing

I’ve always known that God will take some trauma we’ve experienced, bring us through a season of healing (albeit a short one, in this case), and use us in His plan for ministering to others. I know I must be open to what He has in store for me and be prepared to say “Yes” when He calls me to act upon His will. Never in a lifetime would I have guessed He would do so through the sudden death of my child.

Between these experiences and conversations with my new mama friends, I’ve continually longed to hear my son’s car pull into the driveway, to hear his cowboy boots click across the tile of the front entryway, to hear him say, “I love you, Mama.” And God gives me glimpses of Caleb in ways only He can, touching my heart with His healing balm one moment at a time, comforting me with a peace that passes all understanding.

I’ve also pondered Ecclesiastes and the vanity of life. What’s the point of all we endure if we’re so fragile as to be here one moment and gone from this earth in the next? I quickly learned what truly matters is our relationship with the Lord and that we love one another. As I continue in life with grief ever present, I lean into my relationships with my Father and the friends He has blessed me with to navigate this journey home. All while seeking His will to touch lives through my tragedies.

About Alycia Morales

Photo of Alycia Morales, authorAlycia Morales is the author of Surviving the Year of Firsts: A Mom’s Guide to Grieving Child Loss. She and her husband Victor live in South Carolina, where they’ve raised six kids to adulthood. You can find her at AlyciaWMorales.com

Connect with Alycia:  Website / Instagram / Facebook / X / Pinterest / LinkedIn

 

 

 

 

Sacred Scars: Resting in God’s Promise that Your Pain is Not Wasted

Now Available!

Your ragged and torn past may be the key to God's future for you.

 

We all endure trials, pain, and hardship in this life. Too often we believe these experiences disqualify us from being useful to God. But the truth is, your past pain and brokenness serve as preparation for what God wants to do in and through you – if you will surrender to and trust him.

Just as Jesus’s scars didn’t disappear after his resurrection, our emotional or physical scars tell our story and lend credence to our testimony of God’s love and power. If you are ready to turn your past pain into present comfort and future hope, let Dr. Bengtson be your compassionate guide.

Find out more and order here: Sacred Scars

 

Learn how God can turn your pain into purpose. Alicia Morales shares how her family found beauty in the ashes through ministry and new friendships after the loss of her son, Caleb. Click to read their inspiring story and find hope in your own journey.

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