“So let go my soul and trust in Him.
The waves and wind still know His name.”
-It Is Well, Bethel Music

It’s so easy to praise God when we are happy. When our children are thriving and we are surrounded by our tribe, our people. The community we all talk about and many do have. But many, also, do not.

Or maybe, like us, they did once have it, but it was taken away. Disappeared under the cloak of well-rehearsed “heavenly” words, such as, “We are hurting with you but you have no place here anymore. You have not worked out for us.” Or, “We are so sorry to hear your daughter is very unwell and we will pray.” And then we never hear another word from them. Ever.

And what do you tell your children who have connections and friends and established roots in that community? How do you tell them that your family are no longer to be a part of any of it?

What happens when your people hurt you deeply? When they speak over your life and declare it to be from above? When those words wound and hurt so badly you keep checking to see if you are bleeding. You must be, you tell yourself, because the physical pain is so great.

These times, these seasons, that are so dark. When you sit in the valley of struggle and despair and you can’t see any hope ahead. And you are so alone but too fragile and raw to find the strength to walk into another church and try to find some answers, or put into words the hidden parts of your soul that cower and ache.

But here’s the thing—we all know that people hurt people.

Relationships can be as fragile as glass, no matter how shatterproof we like to think they are, or how much we declare our love or fondness and appreciation for them.

We are human and God is God.

And that is why I can still believe and have faith because there is no place that I go where He hasn’t already been.

Walking through my favorite forest this morning. My feet touching the damp soil. The quietness seeping into my skin like a soft balm. I am surrounded by Him. He is everywhere I look and all the places I don’t.

As I walked along a wooden path, its meandering strength stretching as far as my eye could see, I know He is there. Still. Just as the waves and the wind still know His name, He still knows mine intimately and has no intention of ever leaving.

And whilst stinging nettles peek their feathery fronds across the path, grazing my ankles, causing my skin to tingle and sting, I know. I know that the path ahead won’t be smooth sailing. For He never promised it would be.

In this life there will be trouble. This is an absolute certainty but it is through Him that we are able to overcome and find peace, even if it is a shred of peace amongst the trials of hardship. Not by eliminating the wounds, but rather assuring us that we don’t walk alone. That He will indeed carry us through the fire, over the hot coals, lift us beyond the turbulent waves, shade us from the heat of the day, the bitter winds from the east. Calm our hearts amidst the swirling sea of adversity and pain.

He is indeed the solid, sometimes silent partner of our life story. Lest we let Him in and allow Him space in our crowded hearts and minds.

From the beginning until glorious unend. He is with us.

The one Whose hand never releases its grip on ours. Even when we can’t feel the warm, comforting embrace of His fingers.

And although I can’t physically see myself bleeding, He sure did.

For me. And you.

Which is enough. More than.

It is well with my soul. Even now. It is well.

Catherine Irwin

I am an Australian mother of six, who home-schools four of her children in country England. We live the slow life, whilst focusing on the simple things, and keeping family at the heart of home. Our aim is to navigate, the inherent good that is life, the sadness that it also can bring, and the joy in looking beyond what can’t be seen with the naked eye.