Mercifully, grief comes in waves. I am thankful for the ebbing where I can gasp for breath and rest. But when the waves come they are high and filled with fury and relentless in inflicting pain no eye can see. And this is just the short course on grief. I know those who have walked through much deeper valleys.
I have lost a pet. A beloved, faithful, constant companion. Stormie. She left suddenly without warning. From the very first Secret Keeper Girl Tour script to Lies Young Women Believe to Get Lost, she was by my side for each click of the key board. I ache to hold her just one more time. It’s the emptiness that makes the waves of sadness so deep. And I find myself sinking. Do you know what it feels like to sink? Have you lost someone? Experienced an unforeseen break up? Felt the sting of betrayal? Found your life plan ripped out from under you?
You are not alone.
I’m here with you, friend.
Like Peter, I prefer wave walking to sitting in the boat in fear. A few weeks ago I bared my soul in a blog—the betrayal, the overworking, the sick child, the ER scare—because we needed prayer. But I promised that my soul was so held in God’s gaze that I was walking on the waves. I would have liked the story better if it had stopped there.
My last baby left on Thursday. Twenty years old and she is called by God to do a good work that takes her away from home. I’m proud, but lonely. It seems like she just came. Like they all just got here, and now my nest is empty.
Stormie died on Friday. I called to her. She had a routine vet appointment. My sweet eight-year-old puppy jumped up to please me as she always has, but collapsed. Her spirit stronger than her body, she drug herself towards me. Bob picked her up. We came home one hour later without our dear friend.
Losing Stormie would have been hard at any time, but why now? Why when the waves were already so choppy? And one day after the water got just a little bit deeper. I guess I understand how Peter took his eyes off of Jesus. It only takes a second. And you doubt. And the waves come crashing over. I understand how John the Baptist—awaiting execution—sent a message to Jesus: “Are you really the one who is to come?” (Luke 7:20) In the dark hours, the questions come.
I have a lot of them right now. God says he works all things together for good. (Romans 8:28) But I find myself holding this verse reluctantly. (But hold it, I do.) Of what use could this hard suffering summer be? How can it become good? My vacation was more of a sorrowful seminary. I questioned God.
It’s OK to do that.
It is the foolish Christian who does not welcome the questions and wrestle with them. I have decided that the time to mourn is not for the answering. So I store my questions for the time of His enlightenment. Hold on to him as Peter did in the sinking. Send my questions as John did in the asking. But I hold on. I keep asking. Will you hold on too? Will you keep asking him your hard questions?
Here is what I DO know, my friend. He is near to the brokenhearted. (Psalm 34:18) I can feel his heartbeat as I sit in the stillness. The rain today feels like God’s great big tears to match mine. Oh, how he loves me in my mourning.
I also cling to this promise: there is a time to mourn. (Ecclesiastes 3:4) Which means a time will come when I no longer feel this grief so potently.
When that boy doesn’t mean much to you any more.
When the betrayal has been the anvil on which God forged your strength.
When the bend in the path doesn’t look like a detour but a destiny.
When the goodbye will serve to make heaven sweeter rather than this earth so full of waves.
“There is a time for everything…
…a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance.”