Posted by Naomi Vacaro on

When All Seems Dead Inside and Out

By: Vanessa Bonilla

Winter in NYC is hard. The trees are bare, the sun bows out by half past 4, and the cold has a way of shaking your bones. A NYC winter would be the perfect way to describe the last six months of my life; bare, dark, and cold. Death has surrounded me and “my eyes are dim with grief.” 

In September of last year, I found out I was pregnant and ectopic all in the same breath. Knowing I held the miracle of life inside and the pain of losing that life was almost too much to bear. My own life was at risk and everything happened too fast for me to process. Death robbed the gift inside me. 

As I write this, during Christmas celebrations and my mom’s 75th birthday, the uncle I was closest to passed away. I have yet to experience a loss so close to my heart. My mother’s only living family member is gone! Death robbed the gift of a life outside of me. 

Every bone in my body wanted to give up. Sit and waste away in the valley of the shadow of death. You may not be experiencing physical death like I have but instead the death of a friendship, a ministry, or the life you thought you'd have. The pain can feel the same and the weight unbearable. What do we do? Where do we turn when death is all around us? When pain fills our days and tears fill our eyes. 

Death of anything is just a reminder that the world we live in is under the curse of sin. Thank you Jesus that we do not live like those without hope! We have a Savior, Redeemer, one who came to breathe life into dead things. He breathes into our lives the way he did to Adam in Genesis. 

When all we see around us is death, we must rise like Ezekiel, speak God's word, and watch Him bring things back to life in, through, and around us. We cannot remain stuck in sadness and despair - we need to rise in the strength only the Holy Spirit can provide and walk into our days with full assurance of the power of our Savior. We need to choose to see the hand of God even in the most difficult of situations. 

When I think of that day I lost my baby and almost my life, I think about how God saved me. He brought me back home to my other five children. The ER was over capacity and yet I had my own room. The surgeons were booked for another three hours but I was seen in twenty minutes. The Doctor said, “Just one more hour and she'd been gone."

The Lord allowed my mom to be with her brother two weeks straight before his passing. In his last breaths, he held on until the day after her birthday so she wouldn't be overcome with grief. The hand of God is everywhere, are you looking for it? 

When all seems dead inside and out we must be reminded that we serve a God who is in the business of resurrecting dead things.

“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” 

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 

But thanks be to God! 

He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:55-56 NIV

This new year, let’s walk in the victory we have been given. Let's walk through the valley of the shadow of death and not remain. Let's walk in faith and not in fear. Let's look for the hand of God in everything. Finally, let’s be assured that we have been given the gift of a comforter to hold us through our darkest days. 

Vanessa Bonilla lives with her husband, Eli, in Brooklyn, NY where she homeschools their five children. Vanessa is also the Children’s Director at her church, and she loves fire pits, friends, and spending time with her family.

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