What can you do when the storms of life are greater than you are, when the winds and waves crash into your hopes and dreams and leave you shattered, to the point where you feel like you’ve hit a wall and there’s nowhere to turn?

Life tends to bring us into situations where we don’t choose the battle, but it chooses us! Such experiences usually present us with a choice—to fight for victory, a ray of hope, faith to overcome, or to give in to bitterness, depression, anger, or despair.

A number of years ago, out of the blue, one of our sons was diagnosed with leukemia—a knock that brought me to the edge. After nearly two years of chemotherapy came the medical conclusion that the treatment wasn’t effective and our son was losing the fight against leukemia. He was given six weeks to live. He was 16 years old.

“You’ll find closure with time,” they said. “Think positive thoughts.” “Try to keep busy.” “Find someone to talk it over with.”

I knew these were well-meaning comments, but I soon realized that continuing on autopilot, working harder, or trying to tuck my emotions in the furthest corner of my mind wasn’t going to help me cope. Only when I admitted that I wasn’t strong enough to heal the hurt and end the spiral of self-defeating thoughts, a ray of hope began to appear on the horizon of my despair.

I got on my knees and asked God for a strategy, a tangible plan to help me overcome. Then when the fog finally lifted, I began copying promises from the Bible in my journal or posting them on my mirror.

It was a process, but soon I experienced the healing effect of God’s Word and began to see things in a new light. Hope sprung up, and I even began to find opportunity in my adversities and losses, such as the gift of compassion for others who face loss. I believe this valley, and others like it, strengthened my faith and brought me a step closer to becoming the person God designed me to be.