When You’re Walking On Water…And You Sink.

Me & StormieMercifully, 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.”



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  • Hey Dannah. We lost our sweet Labrodoodle a little over a year ago the same way. Sudden. He was 8. He was the sweetest guy. I know your loss. And he looked so much like Stormie. Wish I could post a picture here. We can weather this together. Pray and know that God has a plan in this time for you.

  • So sorry for you loss. I understand what you’re going through, as my kitty, our first “baby,” of 15 years passed two weeks ago. The sorrow was so deep and unbearable at times. I miss her by my side constantly, but the deep, unspeakable sorrow has passed. Praying for sunnier days ahead. God Bless!

  • Oh Dannah! I am so sorry to hear of your loss. My eyes have welled up with tears as I think of this season you are passing through. You are near to my heart this morning and it is my prayer that you will feel the love of those around you, near and far, as you are lifted high to our Father who loves you immanently. I rejoice even now for the days of laughter and dancing ahead.

  • Sweet Dannah, Jesus is wrapping His arms around you right now! He wants us to cry and crawl up into the lap of our Abba Father – our Daddy God and let Him hold us and cry and heal. I am in rough waters now too and cry with you my sister. The storm will clear at some point and God will show us both in what direction he wants us to cast that next net. Prayers for you.

  • Thank you so much for this Dannah. The past few weeks have been some of the hardest of my life and my anxious/tired heart resonated with every word. I am still in deep waters but I am trusting that God will bring me through. I’m praying for your family.

  • Dannah,

    As I read this, I am brought to tears. I feel exactly as you do, but my loss happened only 10 months ago and it was not a pet… it was my mother. I have felt this exact way for a LONG time… long before my mother passed. I am thankful to hear that I am not alone in my struggle. I have had more lows than highs in the past 7 years. I have questioned God, my marriage, my life choices, myself… the list can go on. I live each day in a shadow, I put on that happy face in the morning, but deep down… that is not me.

    God Bless both you and Bob and your family. One thing I have been trying to do more is turn to God and pray for those who need it. I am still a newbie at this, but I am getting better. I said a prayer for you today already, and will say another before tomorrow.

    • Sweety Krissy, You are one who has walked through a much deeper and darker valley. I understand it. Hold on to Jesus. Sometimes Newbie’s are the best at grasping tight! Thanks for praying for me. I will pray for you tonight.

  • Dannah & Bob,
    My heart breaks for you. We lost our Patches on Wednesday 3 weeks ago (yesterday she woukd have been 19) and if that was not hard enough, we then very unexectidly lost our River who was 12 3 days later that following Saturday. Patches fit in the palm of my hand when she joined our family… For almost 19 years of our lives, she stood by our sides. I have never experienced grief like I did that week. I was sick to my stomach, cried a lot and at times just felt numb. Everyday seems to get a little easier, but not every day is easy. I have not been able to bring myself to move their doghouses out if the yard and don’t want anyone else to.
    I just wanted to thank you for this post. It’s something I really needed to hear.
    I will pray for you, Bob and your family as you walk through this. I sincerely do understand because I’m right there with you.
    Love, Dawn ( Travis, Emily, Cameren, Mitchell, MacKenna & Parker)

    • So so sorry. To lose two in a week’s time. How heart breaking. I imagine they just could not stand to be apart from one another as we cannot stand to be apart from them. Much love to you as we grieve this loss together. May God use it for our good and the good of others!

  • Hi Dannah.

    This evening I was led to check in on what’s going on in your world because you’ve been on my heart a lot lately especially as I prepare for the “Christmas Tea”. How sorry I was to hear of your loss in the storm you’ve been in the past few months. I too, and my family, are traveling in an unexpected storm – the cancer one that began its gale just 3 weeks ago (9/23). I see God’s mercy and my father-in-law who is suffering this bone cancer does too, trusting and knowing God who brought us to this will see us through this. I must also share that back in June God began to show me that the colors for this year’s tea would not be the traditional red, green and white but rather the fall colors of yellow, gold, oranges, and cranberry red and for some crazy reason, lime green. “How odd,” I thought. I have never used any other colors in decorating than the traditional ones. Then, as God would speak His affirmation of “why”, I flipped my residual calendar on September 27 which read the following, “LIFE’S GOLDEN MOMENTS are meant to be treasured , forever held in the heart.” Oh, how sweet those words are!!!! And may they bless your heart in this time and as you ponder the sweet “life moments” of your Stormie treasures.

    God bless you and I look forward to how The Lord will work in us as we ride out the waves.

    Sincerely, Ashley

    • Hello Ashley, I can only imagine that these trials will make us more useful in December. God will strengthen and work to ready us for a message to carry others through their storms. I will pray for your father-in-law today. I will also seek God’s heart concerning the colors for the tea. Surely there is ministry in every detail! In His Name!

  • So sorry–I know how precious our fur children are… ;-( They are a special gift to us–and we to them. It helped me knowing that my Buddy lived a very happy (though short) life with me. Prayers to you!

    • It does ease the pain knowing that she was healthy and happy up until the last moments. Maybe Buddy and Stormie are playing in doggie heaven today!

  • Dannah, I can identify with your pain and your grief… You know we lost our sweet Faith so suddenly, in a matter of hours… I can sympathize with your heartache and my heart aches for you. This grief is just as great as losing a loved one… I also understand missing a child who is away from home, called by God, doing a good work for His glory. I am aware of some of your trials and difficult struggles as well. In the last couple of years, I have experienced illness, a parent in ER and near death followed by a difficult surgery and much recovery.. as well as the day to day struggles. I am encouraged by your words, “He is near to the brokenhearted….oh how He loves me in my mourning.” The reality of your pain and your heartache causes me to kneel before the sweet throne of God, seeking and asking Him to comfort you and pour out His full and gracious healing upon you all!

  • Dannah,

    Praying for you and your ministry…especially in this hard time of trials. Your ministry is a blessing to me and many other people. Please keep doing what you are doing!!!:)

  • Hi Dannah,
    I’m so sorry about your loss. I just wanted to let you know how much your book Get Lost has affected me. I have been going through a period of feeling unloved and taken for granted, and this is exactly what I needed. I’m not even partway through the book and already I feel a significant difference. I’m learning now to appreciate those who show kindness to me, but mostly, I’m learning how important it is to show love to others. I now also have a much more joyful and loving relationship with God. I am thoroughly enjoying your book, and will definitely order more very soon!
    Thank you and God bless!

  • Dannah,
    I heard some of this story on Family LIfe today recently and then purchased your book, Get Lost, and then found your blog. My heart resonnates with so much of what you have said –both about being more guy crazy than God Crazy and then again above as you speak of pain and sadness and how it seems to crash over us in waves. My heart breaks over a relationship where I finally “felt love”. I chose love when I married my husband and then through several events of taking my eyes off Jesus and off the goal of marriage and moving away from my relationship with Christ, I fell hopelessly romantically infatuatedly (made up word, yes) in love with someone not my husband. I tried to leave, and my husband dug in his spiritual heels and held on and fought for me — fought for my soul even. Granted, I know I would not lose my salvation by leaving my husband, but I know now that I would have lost a lot of potential — a lot of influence and the recovery from that (though sometimes I doubt it) would have been far worse than the recovery I’m in the midst of now. I know choosing to stay married, to honor that comitment was and is the right choice — but it doesn’t stop the longing, the hurting, the embarrasment and the shame from being pulled out of, pushed out of, ripped from that wrong relationship. I purchased your book in the hopes that I would get lost…and find my soul’s satisfaction in Christ’s love. I keep looking for it in a person and I keep suffering grave disappointment. I appreciate your stand, your talent, and your willingness to share with us what you know in a way that resonnates so well with so many. Prayers for you as you continue to serve, and I ask if you will, prayers for me as I continue to ride these waves wtih questions and doubt just as you expressed.
    Thank you!

    • Oh sweet girl! HE LOVES YOU! He chose a husband for you who knew how to fight. A warrior. Look! See! This is God’s provision for you. I want to pray about you and get back to you because I may have something in my spirit for you if I ask God’s Spirit! I will not let you go. Neither will your husband. We pray you in!

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