“The love of God toward you is like the Amazon River flowing down to water a single daisy.” ~ F.B. Meyer
He hushes the storm to a calm and gentle whisper. Psalm 107:29 AMP
Who didn’t love splashing in after-shower puddles back when you didn’t have a care in the world? Remember doing this when you were a kid? First the dark clouds gathered, then the rumble of distant thunder grew louder and louder as the storm drew closer. Then the scary, ear-splitting clap of thunder as the clouds released their load. Sometimes the pouring rain had barely reduced to a shower before the sun came out, as if it couldn’t wait to shine once again.
As a child I could hardly wait until it was safe to get outside after the rain and stomp in the puddles. Never mind boots. Who has time for those? And splashing barefooted was the best. What joy!
As adults we are more serious, and laden down with responsibilities. Then a monster storm of tragedy strikes and turns our world upside down. It shatters us, leaving us numb and mute for a time. And even after years on our grief journeys, we can still feel the effects of that horrific storm. We shudder to think there could be more storms in our future. Where do we find shelter?
My grief journey has been stormy. There has always been a rumble of distant thunder when another anniversary date rolls around. I feel like taking cover under a layer of blankets that day and staying huddled in the safety of my bed until the day is over, but I don’t do that.
Instead of huddling under blankets, I am learning to ask God to carry the load of grief while I walk beside Him. With my little hand in His big one He holds the umbrella over us both. Sometimes He carries me when I feel too weak to walk on my own. Together we weather the storms.
I have a friend who is a mom, like many of us, on this life-long grief journey. Her story includes the loss of two sons. She lost one in an accident and the other to suicide. I cannot fathom her pain. I’ve lost one child to suicide and that is enough, but she is outliving two. And she is not alone. There are others out there, perhaps even readers of this blog, who have lost more than one child, or who have lost their only child. My heart goes out to my friend and to all of you. I am so sorry for your unspeakable loss and pain. We have a time of it, don’t we? Is it possible to feel joy again? Can we be encouraged in spite of the storms?
I would like to include some words from my friend, who has given me permission to share. Our stories are all different and uniquely our own, but in sharing, we learn and grow in our understanding of this giant storm of pain that envelopes us. Here are the words from my friend:
“How does one find joy again? To fully understand, you would have to live inside my skin and walk my path, but I would not wish for anyone to experience the losses I have had in my life. I still walk with a heavy heart, and I don’t expect it will ever change while living on this earth.
“Do you feel like your sorrow is taking over your life? Keep hoping, keep dreaming, keep praying, and God will see you through. Just be patient. He will bring back your joy. How do I know this to be true? He has done it for me, in spite of the loss of two of my precious children. If I focus on Him, instead of myself and all the pain I carry, He enables me to live beyond the pain.
“Trust me when I say ~ living after losing not one, but two children, is impossible without God. I miss my children every day, but God walks with me through the storms, and even carries me when I am weak and the pain is too great.
“One can experience the blessings of following God without tragedy, but to rely on God alone, after tragedy strikes, is a life-changing experience. It’s not an easy road. There were times when I just wanted to fall by the wayside or jump off a cliff and end the pain. But instead, God slowly revealed Himself to me. He came along side me and we are walking together as He heals me day by day.”
Dear reader, are you encouraged to believe that joy is possible in spite of your sorrow? It’s unlikely that joy will come in river-sized portions, but more likely in small quantities, like splashes. Unexpected, cooling splashes. And for a few moments, we are refreshed. And for a few moments, we experience joy.
“In the shadow of your wings, [O God], I find protection until the raging storms are over.” Ps. 57:1 GNT
“Yes, it is God who raises the humble and gives joy to all who mourn.” Job 5:11 GNT