So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

Go through it.

If you have found yourself broken and grieving the loss of someone you love, I want you to know I’m so sorry that you have to go through this. This could possibly be the hardest thing you will ever go through and you need to know that it is OK to not be OK.

For whatever reason, the person you love is not here anymore and no matter how many other people are surrounding and supporting you, it still hurts and feels lonely.

Right now, probably the worst thing you could do is worry about impressing others with how you handle it.

I believe Christians especially feel obligated to put on a brave face and say they are fine and that they still trust in God’s plan when the truth is, they don’t really know what to think. If you are that person, please understand you can grieve with hope, but you can still grieve. Let yourself go through it.

Here’s why I say that . . .

My beautiful wife Lyndsie battled cancer fiercely for almost 10 years. I had the honor of being there by her side from the very beginning to the very end and I watched in awe as she bravely fought for her life and for the ones she loved. She was determined to thrive in spite of her situation and she was refined like gold by the fires she had to walk through.

The days and weeks after Lyndsie’s death were so intense and overwhelming. But even in the raw pain, I knew that it was my job to stay strong and to represent her and the strength she had shown so well as we prepared to honor her life. That meant trying to pick out a casket that in some weird, depressing way reflected her style and walking through a cemetery to choose a spot that seemed as peaceful as possible, knowing that people would come there to visit for many years to come. That meant standing next to her casket for four hours as an overwhelming line of amazing family and friends encouraged and comforted us. It meant picking out songs for the funeral that captured her life. And that meant standing up at her funeral and talking about the way her love rescued my life and showed me the hope of Heaven. I firmly believe that God gave me and everyone in the family the supernatural strength and presence of mind to hold it all together for those few days because that’s what we needed to do.

But then I grieved.

The majority of people who had seen me standing strong and talking about Jesus with an urgency and speaking about heaven with a longing in my voice wouldn’t have recognized me over the next days and weeks. I got sick, lost weight, and avoided sleeping in a bed because it reminded me even more that Lyndsie wasn’t there. I didn’t return calls or texts unless it was about the kids. I looked at so many old pictures of us dating and her holding our children, I read her blog from start to finish and just went through it.

I didn’t try to convince anyone that I was OK, because I wasn’t.

But there was an unexpected beauty in being broken where I became empty of myself and became willing to listen to God speak to my heart.

Through God’s word and through defining moments, I began to hear Him speaking truth and purpose into my pain. He had my full attention and the promises I was reminded of in that season of despair and grief turned out to be the foundation of my healing and my future. My eyes were opened to the hurt and pain of others and a longing to share the hope and love of Jesus was stirred in my soul. And even though I never want to go back to that place of raw grief, I will never forget what I learned by going through it.

So, if you are in that same place, my prayer for you is that you would allow yourself to hurt right now.

If you try to push it down deep in your soul and avoid dealing with it, it will show up later with a vengeance. Allow yourself to feel all the things grief brings because each one reveals how inadequate we are in our own strength. When we feel out of control, we are reminded of who is in control. When we are broken, we realize our need for a healer. When we are lost, we desire to be found. When we feel like we are drowning, we desperately want to be rescued. When we don’t know who we are anymore, we long to belong.

And slowly but surely we will begin to see who is in control, who is our healer, who is looking for us, who will rescue us and who we belong to . . . our Heavenly Father.

Originally published on Finding Our New Normal

Daniel Brooker

Daniel Brooker is a widower who has found love again. A husband to an inspiring woman. A father to five incredible children with grieving hearts. An encourager.

In Motherhood, Grace Makes up the Difference

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother holding young child

Today, I have been the mean mom, the tired mom, the overwhelmed mom, the anxious mom, the impatient mom, and the want to turn in my mom card mom. Mostly, I’ve felt like the I have no clue what I’m doing mom. I have raised my voice 47 times, told children to “suck it up, buttercup” 36 times, and have intervened in approximately 83 sibling disagreements. I have rolled my eyes 59 times, sighed 148 times, and visibly showed other signs of impatience, well, way too many times. RELATED: I’m a Good Mom, You Just Caught Me in a Bad...

Keep Reading

Jesus Meets Me in Motherhood With His No Matter What Love

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother embracing daughter in sunlit room

My toddler was that kid on the playground—the one who would push and bite, erupting into a tantrum and needing to be carried home screaming. As I would carry my child to the car, the other moms looked at me with sympathy, confusion, fear, and . . . judgment.  Parents of challenging kids know this look well. We see judgment everywhere we go. I knew others were judging me, and I knew our challenges were beyond the normal bell curve, but as an overwhelmed young mom, I did all I knew to do: I blamed myself.  At my lowest, I...

Keep Reading

Dear Child, God Sees All of You—And So Do I

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Mom and young son painting together

Math has always come easily to him. Even from the beginning stages when we counted wooden blocks on the living room floor, the numbers just came to him. “How many blocks are there?” I asked him, pointing to the scattered row of blocks. I expected him to count them. He was only three or four years old. “Six,” he answered promptly. “Yes . . . but how did you know that?” I asked hesitantly. He had not taken the time necessary to have counted them. “Three and three are six,” he replied. And on it went. The math came easily,...

Keep Reading

Dear Girl, Give Jesus Your Mess

In: Faith, Living
Woman holding Bible, color photo

Oh, dear girl, Give Jesus the mess. Your mess. The mess you think is too much or too big or too unbearable. The depths of the mess. The very worst of the mess. Lay it at His feet. He knew you long before the mess existed. Nobody knows your mess like Jesus. I assure you—this will not catch Him by surprise. Even when you do not understand, even when it is most difficult, even when you have your head buried in your hands. Praise Him, for God wastes nothing.  Even when it feels like opposition is coming at you from...

Keep Reading

A Mother’s Love Is an Endless Pursuit

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Child on bike, color photo

I look at him and my heart breaks into a million little pieces. It simply hurts too much to know he hurts. He is my heart, and it squeezes and revolts when he struggles. I want to close my eyes and hold him close, and when I resurface, I want the world to be different for him. Look different, smell different, taste different. But, it remains the same, this pain.   In the beginning, when he was in my womb, I held my hands on my stomach and his tiny feet kicked me back. His bodily imprint on my skin. He...

Keep Reading

Motherhood Brings Me to the Floor and Jesus Meets Me There

In: Faith, Motherhood

I recently came across a short memoir writing competition with the theme, “Places that have made me, changed me, or inspired me.” I could write something for that, I thought. I’m by no means a jet-setter, but I do have a passport. I spent my 16th birthday in Russia on a three-week mission trip. During college, I lived in Thessaloniki, Greece for a four-month study abroad program. After my British husband and I got married, we settled in the UK, where we’ve spent the last 10 years. And now, I’m back in my sunny Florida hometown. These experiences and places...

Keep Reading

I Will Be a Friend Who Prays

In: Faith, Friendship, Living

You mentioned it casually. They had found a lump in your breast again. You’ve been here before, and maybe that means you better know how to navigate it. Except how can we possibly know how to handle such things? What emotions lie hidden behind your words? You tossed out words like lumpectomy and biopsy as if you were sharing a grocery list. I don’t know you well yet, but as you spoke the words, I had a deep desire to let you know I’m sorry. Seated around the table that night, you asked us to pray for you. I committed...

Keep Reading

I Wish I Could Tell You There Will Be No More Mean Girls

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Mother and two daughters, color photo

Tonight before bed while I was tucking you in, you seemed really down. You are normally bubbly, talkative, full of laughter and life, but tonight you seemed sullen and sad. I asked what was wrong, and at first, you didn’t want to tell me. But then you shared with me what was breaking your heart. You told me about a mean girl. You told me the hurtful things she said and the unkind way she acted and the sneaky way mean girls bully by making you feel left out and less than.  It made me sad and angry. I didn’t...

Keep Reading

In the Hardest Moments of Motherhood, I’m Reminded to Look Up

In: Faith, Motherhood

It’s 3:00 in the afternoon, and you know the scene—I step on a tiny Barbie shoe as I’m walking to the sink. I shove it to the side with my foot and release a heavy sigh. I momentarily think about picking it up, but my back is aching from bending down to gather up treasures all morning. I place my half-filled coffee cup into the microwave to re-heat it for a second time. I need just an ounce of energy to get through the afternoon. My daughter heaves another basket of toys up from the basement, step by step. I can...

Keep Reading

Sometimes God’s Glory Shines Brightest in the Hardest Parts of Life

In: Faith, Living
Woman's hand with chipped nail polish

Half of the fingernails on my hands still show remnants of nail polish. It looks pretty awful. People might notice it and think, Really? You can’t take just five minutes to wipe off the chunks of color that haven’t flaked off already?  And I could. It probably wouldn’t even take five minutes. It’s not that I don’t have the time or that I’m being lazy. I just don’t want to.  You see, my daughter painted my nails almost a month ago. She’s five—they were never pretty to start with. They were sloppy with small strips at the edges left unpainted....

Keep Reading

 5 Secrets to Connect with Your Kids

FREE EMAIL BONUS

Proven techniques to build REAL connections