The fog flowed between the hilltops like ocean foam surrounding a sand castle. Our bus weaved around green contours and as I leaned out to see where the road led, sure enough, the crease in the hillside leaned down under the blinding cotton.

fog in the mountains

©2011 Amy Conner for World Vision

I’m a flatland-dweller. I can’t climb out of a fog bank without an airplane.

I’m more intimately acquainted with fog’s dark side.

I know how difficult it is to imagine the beauty of this scene from the land beneath.

This autumn feels like that drive. I can see the fog ahead, and I can see my road turning down towards it, disappearing under the mist.

I’ve ridden this rock around the sun three times since our daughter died. Three times now I’ve watched the days taper into dark to match my soul’s descent into depression’s gray.

The first time, it happened suddenly and without warning. One day I was caring for four children, the next day I was burying one. The months after that we just tried to put one foot in front of the other, keep food on the table, and pay the bills on time.

The second time, I saw it coming. Even though I knew it would be bad, I still resisted help, not knowing what unintended side effects it might have and too proud to admit that I needed it.

…until the day one of my kids wrote me a note. When I saw it, all that pride crumbled. I saw sketches of an angry mommy yelling at her children. I saw sad and scared children. I read words from a child telling me that mommies shouldn’t say those things.

My gut still twists, and I shrivel inside when I think of it. How massive my failures. How deep my wound-words struck. They lashed out of the pain inside me, but they sliced at my precious children.

I got help. It took months, but with counseling and medication, the fog began to thin and the road turned upward toward the light. Forgiveness asked and granted.

The autumnal equinox is here again. We’re one month from that third anniversary. I sense down- and dark-ward motion again.While I’m fearful to enter the fog a third time, I’m also hopeful. Much has changed in the last year. Relationships with my husband and children are far stronger and more open. Our busyness is reduced and our health and physical strength is improved.

Most important, even though I’m still wrestling with what following Jesus means, I am following Jesus. I know that Jesus will be with me, even if I can’t see him in the fog. The sun is still shining above the clouds, even when I can’t see it.

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Life: unmasked buttonThis is life: unmasked, an honest exploration of finding God in the mess, and a sharing of the hard things. When we share our struggles, we share hope and we encourage one another.

Join me this week. You can do anything — write for a few minutes or for an hour, simply post a photo, or record a video. Share the link to your specific post (not just the general link to your blog) in the linky tool below, or write your story in the comments. I know we are all short on time, but will you please try to visit one or two other posts and share some encouragement for the other brave unmasked writers?

I’m giving away a copy of Christa Wells’s CD “Frame the Clouds” to one of this week’s life: unmasked participants, so make sure you link up before midnight this Saturday.

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Sponsor a child in Bolivia with World Vision

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