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
So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available for pre-order now!

Pre-Order Now

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.

Spanking Made Us Parents We Didn’t Want To Be

In: Faith, Motherhood
Silhouette of mother pointing finger at child

Fourteen years ago when my husband and I were preparing for our first child, we felt we already had several tools in our toolbox. Both of us worked with children and youth, and we felt prepared for parenting. We decided early on that we would never spank unless we were completely out of options.  As our bright, sweet, bubbly firstborn entered the terrible fours (yes, he was a bit delayed in his toddler rebellion), we were surrounded by a community of people who believed in “controlled spanking” with hugs and grace afterward.  RELATED: These 6 Words Transformed Discipline in Our...

Keep Reading

I Was Raised by an Easter-Only Mom and I Want More for My Kids

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother and daughter read Bible

Motherhood is not for the faint-hearted, and women tend to look to their upbringing for guidance. We may not even realize we’re doing it! But being a godly mother is even more difficult when you weren’t raised by one. The questions are endless: How do I model forgiveness? How do I set the right priorities for my household? How do I explain baptism to my 6-year-old? Is it okay to have undiscipled friends around my children? Do we have to pray over every meal? Is the occasional swear word acceptable?  These questions may be less intimidating if you were fortunate enough...

Keep Reading

Even When it Feels Like I Can’t, I Keep Going

In: Faith, Motherhood
Tired mom holding toddler

When I feel like I can’t do one more thing. When I am overwhelmed and touched out and lost in the logistics of it all. When my physical and mental energy are depleted. When the length of my to-do list needs more hours than I have. When I am so bone tired that I’m sure I just can’t go on. And there is still more to do. And the only choice is to keep going– I keep going. I dig a little deeper and find strength I didn’t know I had. RELATED: Check on Your “Strong” Friend, She’s Faking it...

Keep Reading

What Happens When She Wants Another Baby and He Does Not?

In: Faith, Marriage, Motherhood
Husband and wife, pregnancy photo, color photo

I am on my knees, folded over, with my head resting on the carpet. I am in my closet, which doesn’t see much of the vacuum, and it is the only place I can find to sob out of sight. I feel hollowed out and defeated as if I have run a marathon and was cut short at the finish line. I cry out in prayer, pleading with God to soften the heart of my husband. I desperately want another child, and he desperately does not. I take a deep breath and dry my eyes because my 4-year-old outside the...

Keep Reading

Is Your Marriage on Cruise Control?

In: Faith, Marriage
Couple holding hands in car, above view

Cruising down the road, the highway curled before us like a ribbon into the horizon. Cozy road trips are a staple for my husband and me, and we look forward to the time together. Having been married for 37 years the adventure continues! We have loved each other through the ups and downs, and we have learned a lot about relationships. We also made a point of carefully watching successful relationships and surrounding ourselves with those whose marriages flourished. Nowadays, we have many young couples ask us what it takes to keep a marriage vibrant. One of the key ingredients...

Keep Reading

Ordinary Mornings, Extraordinary Grace

In: Faith
Emily Ley holding Sure as the Sunrise book by water's edge

“From his fullness, we have all received, grace upon grace” (John 1:16). Today, take note of what brings you gladness. That which gives you pause or causes you to take a deep breath. These are glimpses of God’s goodness in our lives, brought to life through moments and things, memories and sounds. Realizations and hope. In its biggest forms: a moment you wish you could freeze in time, and in its smallest: a sliver of grace, otherwise overlooked. I wake up to the smell of fresh laundry, sheets cool against my skin. One eye open, I peek down at the...

Keep Reading

She Just Needed to be Held

In: Faith, Motherhood
A little girl held by mom, color photo

“She just needed to be held,” I texted my husband after a two-hour battle to get my 3-year-old to bed. She’s been sick. Daddy’s been gone. And she needed to be seen. Held. Loved. And in that split second, I felt God say, “Just like you.” When things are chaotic. When we feel alone. When we feel weary. RELATED: God Sees You, Weary Mama When our spirit feels sick. When it all feels like too much to carry. We need Him. To breathe life into us. To remind us of our worth. To remind us of the hope He offers....

Keep Reading

Church Should Be a Sanctuary for Neurodivergent Kids

In: Faith, Motherhood
Child praying in church pew black and white photo

We still have a lot of work to do when it comes to the acceptance of loud, energetic, and spirited children inside the church. It’s easy to preach (pun intended) acceptance of every individual as God made them, but when a 9-year-old is shouting out, repeatedly during a sermon, or a 6-year-old is jumping from one pew to the next during the prelude, that’s when reality sets in. You hear the elderly man behind you whisper to his wife, “Back in my day, children were seen and not heard, what’s wrong with kids these days?” Then the single, 30-something across...

Keep Reading

Do You Ever Feel Like a Fraud?

In: Faith, Motherhood
Stressed woman side view

Hey, Momma. Do you ever feel like a fraud? Maybe it’s just me. Here I am . . . trying to build a life and career writing about motherhood. Yet, I don’t feel very good at it at all.  When my oldest was born 13 years ago, I decided on my own that we weren’t going to spank or yell.  Then, life changed.  One child turned into six over the course of a decade. And over the years, I’ve failed to keep the commitment I made all those years ago.  RELATED: I’m Not The Mom I Thought I Would Be...

Keep Reading

The Prayer Heard Round the World: ESPN Anchor Prays On-Air For Damar Hamlin

In: Faith, Living
Dan Orlovsky prays on ESPN for Damar Hamlin

No doubt you’ve heard it said (or even said it yourself): “I’m praying for you.”  In the wake of Damar Hamlin’s terrifying collapse midway through the first quarter of Monday night’s NFL game between the Buffalo Bills and the Cincinnati Bengals, it seems the entire nation has been praying for his recovery. We saw both teams kneel to pray as the ambulance carrying Hamlin left the field. There have been moments of silence offered across stadiums in Hamlin’s honor. Hamlin’s family issued a statement thanking the public for the outpouring of support and prayer: “We are deeply moved by the...

Keep Reading