Recently, my husband said something that gave my heart a serious wake-up call. I was crying like I’ve been doing for the past two months since my best friend suddenly and unexpectedly went to heaven. My grief can be overwhelming and I was drowning in an ocean of tears when my husband walked in the room. He desperately wanted to comfort me, but when he looked me in the eyes, he said, “You know God’s Word tells us as believers that we do not grieve as those without hope. When I look at you like this, I don’t see any hope in your eyes.” Although I knew he meant to help me, that statement felt like a punch in the stomach. His words continued to tumble in my mind until I sensed the Holy Spirit confirming what he said. “It’s true.” I thought, “My hope feels as broken as my heart does.”
Where Do We Go When We’ve Lost Hope
I had to find out. As I sought the Lord, He reminded me of a statement my pastor made while speaking at a funeral for his own friend. He said, “Brokenness is not healed by explanations. Brokenness is healed by the love and grace of God.” — Pastor Ryan Bowman
He’s right. In my grief, I was fixated on finding an explanation for why God would allow this horrible tragedy. My friend lived for the Lord, serving Him in missions and ministry. For years we prayed for her to find a godly husband, and God answered her prayers with the most amazing man. Yet, before they could have their wedding day, God took her. Why? I couldn’t understand how this could be His plan. My grief focused on all that was lost of our past and of the future. Broken dreams, broken hopes. But, brokenness is not healed by explanations. Brokenness is healed by the love and grace of God. That’s where I had to go to find hope again.
So I Began with the Love of God
John 3:16 tells me, “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His one and only Son so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” (CSB) The love of God was displayed in the gift of His Son. When I look at Jesus, I see Him hanging on the cross, bleeding the blood of redemption, bearing the weight of my sin, taking my shame, my guilt and giving Himself for me. There is no greater love than that. God’s love gave me the hope of redemption.
God’s Grace is a Gift I Don’t Deserve
I looked for God’s grace and I found it in a garden just outside an empty tomb. John 20 describes the moment when Mary Magdalene met the risen Savior:
Suddenly, Mary recognized Jesus and wanted to hold onto Him, never letting go. He told her to go and tell His disciples. She found them and announced, “I have seen the Lord!” Her hope was restored by His grace. God’s grace is found in the risen Savior. God’s grace gave me the hope of the resurrection.
Because of God’s Love and Grace I Can Grieve with Hope
Resources for Help in Walking Through Grief
A Place of Healing is not an ivory-tower treatise on suffering. It’s an intimate look into the life of a mature woman of God. Whether readers are enduring physical pain, financial loss, or relational grief, Joni invites them to process their suffering with her. Together, they will navigate the distance between God’s magnificent yes and heartbreaking no—and find new hope for thriving in-between.
“As a matter of fact, God isn't asking you to be thankful. He's asking you to give thanks. There's a big difference. One response involves emotions, the other your choices, your decisions about a situation, your intent, your step of faith.” ―Joni Eareckson Tada, A Place of Healing: Wrestling with the Mysteries of Suffering, Pain, and God's Sovereignty
Sometimes life just hurts. Out of nowhere, death, illness, unemployment, or a difficult relationship can change our lives and challenge everything we thought we knew―leaving us feeling unable to cope. But, in the midst of all this pain and confusion, we are not alone.
Weaving together his personal story, pastoral ministry experience, and biblical insights, best-selling author Paul David Tripp helps us trust God in the midst of suffering. He identifies traps to avoid in our suffering and points us instead to comforts to embrace. This raw yet hope-filled book will help you cling to God's promises when trials come and move forward with the hope of the gospel.
“Weakness simply demonstrates what has been true all along: we are completely dependent on God for life and breath and everything else. Weakness was not the end for me, but a new beginning, because weakness provides the context in which true strength is found.” ―Paul David Tripp, Suffering: Gospel Hope When Life Doesn't Make Sense
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"Christians are not exempt from grief, not yet anyway. When we lose someone, we too will deny; we will hurt; we will weep; we will rage; we may even bargain with God. The difference for us is that we have hope." —Raymond R. Mitsch and Lynn Brookside, Grieving the Loss of Someone You Love
What has helped you grieve the loss of a loved one?
My friend has graciously and bravely allowed me to write her story. Read part 1 here: Sonja's Story: Choose Life (Part 1). She has been both open and transparent in hopes that Sonja's Story will reach someone who is about to make that critical decision between life and death of their unborn child. Today, Sonja is the executive director of a pregnancy resource center. It is her ministry to make sure others know that they can make different choices than she did.
Warning: While contents of this post are in no way graphic, they may still be disturbing to some.
Journal Entry: November 18, 2014
Thankfully, there is more to my story! In reality, it's God's story. I do not understand why or how or the purpose, nor would I wrap this all up in a pretty bow and call it done. I am simply and prayerfully opening a door for you to peek into a time in my life in the hopes that you will be encouraged to make different choices.
And Then There Was Nothing
After the initial shock of the abortion wore off that evening and I poured my heart out to my best friend I was left with nothing. Empty.
For two miserable days, I simply existed with no feeling and no hope. Waiting for my body to realize what I had done. Waiting for my heart to feel the relief I expected. Those both happened, just not the way I imagined.
Two Days Later
Two days after the abortion, I began to bleed more profusely than I thought possible. It was a constant flow for hours. As evening became night, I began to worry. Is this what they meant about the bleeding? Should I take the pill?” So I did. I took the pill and went to bed hoping that the pill would work it’s magic. However, I woke up in the night and realized that the magic had not come.
As my husband slept, I found my way to my bathroom. I stood there, not knowing what to do to make the bleeding stop. Not knowing how I would explain what I did if I had to go to the hospital. I am bleeding because of an abortion... Then they would know, everyone would know. I was horrified!
I stood in the darkness, darkness that was not only literal, but mental and spiritual as well. I crumpled on the floor and began to weep for my life. I thought, I might bleed to death. I could die. And I could have. I knew in that moment that it was possible. For the first time in my life, I faced my own mortality. Really faced it head-on. I could die tonight, I thought, and something inside me broke.
Get Help: Locate a Pregnancy Resource Center Near You
If you are wondering whether or not you’re pregnant, your mind is probably racing with questions. It’s common to feel confused, scared or overwhelmed. Pregnancy resource centers offer confidential support and are available to provide you accurate information about all of your pregnancy options. Click this link to locate a pregnancy resource center near you today.
You can also contact OptionLine by using their contact form, or use the Live Chat Option. Live chat is available any time, day or night.
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There was overwhelming conviction. Conviction like I had never felt before, and I knew the verdict... GUILTY! GUILTY! GUILTY!
And in the same instant that I knew His judgment and felt the weight of what I had done, I fell on my face on the floor, wrapped my arms around myself, and just sobbed... I am sorry, God. I am so, so sorry! Over and over and over again, I poured my heart out to God and wished I could take it all back. But, I couldn’t. Because what was done could never be undone.
I suppose I expected that God would just turn away. That He would leave me there with a nod and say, Good luck, kid. Way to screw it all up, again. I always knew you would. I had not known a merciful God. I had not expected anything but coldness and abandon.
Just as I knew in that moment that it was the conviction of God showing me the justice and penalty I deserved, I also knew with certainty that it was His love surrounding me. Suddenly and completely His love surrounded me there in the darkness of that room. And as I said I am sorry, God’s love replied.
There are no words to describe the response from God because it was soul–felt. Not heard by ears that I might misunderstand, but heard so much deeper within. It resonated within me and surrounded me, I knew at that moment it was His forgiveness, His unfathomable and undeserved forgiveness. Forgiveness paid for by Jesus Christ on the cross. Blood bought forgiveness.
I sat on the floor, crying and rocking. For just how long I don’t know, but I was in the arms of His grace the entire time. Forgiven. I cried out in repentance, and God echoed back His love.
When I stood up to return to my bed I knew that something inside me was different. I was still me, but I had been touched by His love and changed by His forgiveness. You just cannot walk away from that the same. It is not possible. The impossible had happened to me there on the bathroom floor, at least impossible in my own mind. I had been forgiven. There is no explanation for why God would forgive such a travesty, no explanation but grace.
I received what I did not deserve, and I continue to receive it even today. I have faced struggles and it still hurts deeply. Even today, as I write this I grieve wishing I could take it all back. The day of the abortion was the darkest day of my life. But the sun rises! I am thankful to God that it rose for me two days later and not 10 years like for some.
He redeemed me and brought me out of the darkness. He offers that same redemption to anyone that has done what I did. They need only to recognize their guilt, their sin. Admit their sin to God, and acknowledge that they are powerless to rid themselves of it. Then simply fall on His grace and accept that the blood of Jesus Christ was shed on a cross 2000 plus years ago for moments just like this.
When you experience the touch of God, as you receive His gift of grace and forgiveness, you will know what I mean about being changed. Never again the same. Praise God! Praise God! Praise God! Never again the same!
If you are pregnant, or think that you are, call a pregnancy resource center in your area and talk to someone. They are there to help you. Really, really help you. They are not getting paid for what they do. The abortion clinics are. They will look you in the eye and listen to you. The abortion clinics likely won’t. At the pregnancy resource center, they will ask you to consider life over death. I ask you to also. Choose life! Choose life! Choose life!
Read last Tuesday's post part 1 of Sonja's Story here: Sonja's Story: Choose Life (Part 1).
Choosing Life Raises your Pro-life EQ, emotional intelligence,
Dear Lord, You know each and every child that does not have a family or is unloved by their family, and You care. Thank You for inventing adoption and for sending Your children out to be Your hands and feet in caring for orphans. God, I pray that You would bless those who bless the fatherless. Please supply all their needs and give them increase so they can continue to bless others. I pray that as their family grows, Your family would grow too through children hearing and responding to the Gospel. Help them to know You, the Maker of heaven and earth, and be overwhelmed by Your great love for them. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Download the 10 favorite Bible verses on Adoption printable.