It is hard to unravel the depth of grief I am carrying, the depth of grief my community is walking through.
A family I love waits with hope and grief to see what God will do while their 6 month old son lingers in hospice care. Baring the miracle we continue to seek, his healing will come in eternity rather than in their arms. My heart breaks as I know the mark the loss of a child leaves on a parent’s soul. My heart remembers anew the loss of my son who carried the same name as their precious son.
Another family I love waits with hope and grief to see what God will do while their 2 year old son fights for his life in a pediatric intensive care unit. Daily his parents wrestle with the tension of joy-filled progress and painful setback. My heart breaks as I know this is the son of their prayers. He is their rare miracle who is a miracle-carrier and gift-bearer to everyone he meets.
My church family, whom I love with all my heart, looks to God with hope and grief as they mourn the inexplicable loss of a member, husband, and father who was killed in an act of workplace violence. My heart breaks for the staff, the small group leaders, the children’s teachers, the friends, and especially the family. Their are no words to communicate the effect this type of loss has on a community and family.
My dearest friends look to God with hope and grief as they navigate a complex and broken foster system. They fight daily to provide what is best for the girls in their care, even when it is not what is best for them. My heart breaks as I watch them hold their hearts and their future with open hands, making them vulnerable to even greater loss.
A grandmother I love looks to God with hope and grief as she mourns the sudden and tragic loss of her unborn great-grandchild killed in a car accident. She mourns with her grandson and his wife as they walk the road of infant loss. My heart breaks.
My son is walking through a season of deep loss. He waits on God with hope and grief. Oh, how my heart breaks.
A young man who is like a son is navigating a similar season. He looks to God with hope and grief. My heart breaks.
Another dear friend looks to God with hope and grief as she continues her walk through deep grief, witnessing her sister’s challenges with her son’s health, and now she bears witness to even more grief with the devastating diagnosis of one her students. My heart breaks.
John and I also wait with hope and grief to see what God will do as we navigate the unknown of our visa situation. We have no control of our tomorrow, no method to predict our future. We need a miracle. My heart breaks.
It is a season in the valley for so many, yet we do not grieve alone. Each of our lives are woven together through the thread of relationship and kinship in the Kingdom of God.
Valleys are places of darkness and treachery. They are places of wrestling and waring. Battles are often won and lost in this place of despair. Sometimes, the greatest battles come in the form of questions. The question that sits heaviest on my heart is not will God heal; will God comfort; will God restore; or will God provide. No. I ask:
Do I really believe God is the same in the valley as He is on the mountain top and on the plateau?
If I am being honest my heart wavers in confidence. I doubt more often than I care to admit. It is in these moments that I look to the heart cry of my fellow valley dwellers:
[Our son] wins either way, so we remain confident in God’s great love for us.Mother of son in hospice care, said as she watches her baby fade away.
I believe God is still good. He is faithful.Mother of son fighting for his life, said on a day when the doctor’s words held little hope.
The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.Wife of husband killed in horrific workplace shooting, said on the day he died.
God gave us these girls for a reason, we will continue to give all we have while we can.Foster mom, said on a day when the courts seemed to fight against itself more than for the girls.
Proclamations of faith in the valley. Reminders that God does not change with circumstance or location. This is the way through the valley. It is how we maintain our footing when nothing is stable or certain. So tonight, the evening before John and I step once again into the battle for our visa, I lift my proclamation from the valley:
God is for me. I will trust in Him.
Would you join me in prayer for each of these families, both individual and corporate?
Valleys are long and lonely. Grief is good. It is necessary, but it is not without darkness and deep questioning. Let us not neglect the struggle. Let us make proclamations of faith– proclamations that God is the same in the valley as he is on the mountaintop and the plateau.
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me” ~Psalm 23:4a, ESV
“The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” ~Psalm 118:6, ESV
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him”.” ~Lamentations 3:22-24, ESV
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 3As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered. No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” ~Romans 8:31-39, ESV
“He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” ~Isaiah 53:3a, ESV
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” ~Hebrews 13:8, ESV
With Joy (even in the valley),