Category Archives: aches and lessons

beauty in the disappointment…

please pardon the delay. this post was lost in the shuffle of life a few weeks ago. although we’ve turned the calendar page on Easter, it still lives in our hearts, its message ever true and sure.

it is the middle of April. and we live in northern climate. snow is the last thing anyone wants to see at this point in the calendar year. yes, we all know it can and does happen. but it is no longer fun.

so when we awoke to snow on the ground the other day, we were all disappointed. even the youngest in our home knew snow was no longer welcome. she stood in the dining room, frantically waving her little arms, “go away snow! shoo! shoo!”

would that it were that easy to get rid of the snow.

would that it were that easy to get rid of life’s disappointments. would that it were easy to see the beauty in those times. the contrast of daffodils against the snow¬† is not always easy to see when life is dark.

given that it is Holy Week, thoughts easily turn to the disciples and what they went through as Christ died and was buried. I wonder what they were thinking. were they wrong to follow Him? how could He be killed, just like that? would the authorities soon be after them? their disappointments must have piled on top of each other!

and yet, the beauty came, more glorious than anything they could have imagined! HE CAME BACK! He did not stay dead. in their darkest of dark days, they could not have conceived the stark beauty awaiting them. their experience brings us hope and comfort, even when spring snows threaten.

we have the advantage in knowing the end of their story. it is written for all to know. our own stories, our own disappointments, are not yet concluded. their fruition is a great unknown.

it can be terribly difficult, but waiting for His beauty to shine is always worth the pain of dark times. these are often the places of deepest formation and growth. may you feel His grace and love when cold snows and dark nights threaten to steal your joy. may He gently gather you to Himself and give you rest. and may you have a glimpse of the daffodils in the snow, for all their bright color and cheer, to warm your heart on dark days.


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walking gently (mother’s day, part two)

do you remember this picture from Sunday School? I always wanted to be the little blondie in front, or even better, the girl Jesus is holding. she looks so happy. and He is so intent on her alone.

now this precious art brings me comfort. that tenderness in Jesus, that intent concentration, strengthens this mother’s heart.

when we lost our first child, somewhere along the way, a kind person reminded me that Jesus loved children and we could entrust Him with our child, that He would be there when we could not. until we reached heaven ourselves, He could be our babysitter of sorts.

when I miss those we did not know here on earth, this artwork, and others depicting Jesus delighting in children, bring comfort.

Mother’s Day reminds me again of the unspoken pain many bear, of earth’s lost children, now in His care. it reminds me again the variety of unspoken pain, regardless of origin and consequence, we all bear. each of us carries heart-wounds few know about. yet He knows and loves us.

and I am reminded, alongside the vast pain around me, that each person’s journey is their own. mine is not theirs. theirs is not mine. their life lessons are different. where He takes them has its own purpose and growing edge. just as mine has.

we journeyed through childlessness. would I prefer our home have multiple children and the chaos they bring? absolutely! but that is not our path. our lessons are our own. the presence we offers others, the ministry we can extend, is not what we might have chosen. but it has become a gift. when loss is fresh, when the doctors have no answer, when faith is thin, we can sit together. we can pray and cry and encourage. and it is in those moments I am thankful for the path we’ve walked, bumps, bruises, thorns, tears, and all. for here the ashes have turned to beauty.

I was asked once, by a man in that freshly painful place, if, after all the years, we had any children. I knew he wanted me to say¬† “yes” as an encouragement to his situation, that hope-against-hope, if enough prayers are said, if hearts are in the right place, God will wonderously hear and grant the heart’s desire for a child. I remember answering carefully, not to dash the hope he carried, but to remind him that no matter the answer to their prayers, God was still God and He was still worth following and loving and being in relationship with. no matter the answer, it would be worth it all.

we all carry heart-wounds. and Mother’s Day brings many of those to the surface. dashed dreams. broken promises. failed health. so many painful places. we are all the walking wounded. we all need grace. we all need mercy. we all need love. we all need to receive these gifts and to extend them. at the foot of the Cross we were given more than we could ever hope. let us learn to reciprocate and allow Jesus to use our hands and feet as His own, caring for others gently, with a childlike hope and faith.

let Him turn the ashes into a thing of beauty. let Him hold your face in His hands. Let Him send you, when the time is right, to hold another in their painful place, and remind them of His love.

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mother’s day

today is Mother’s Day in the United States.

for many years, this was solely a day to concentrate on and celebrate Mom. it’s pretty easy to do that with and for my own! and we’ve got one of those relationships that does not require a date on the calendar or a Hallmark card to say, “I love you!”

but there were years of desert in Mother’s Day. years we lived far from family. years we desperately wanted to be parents, but were not. years of arms, empty and aching to hold a little one, bereft of the experience. for many years, Mother’s Day was simply a painful date on the calendar, to be avoided, to concentrate on the children we are to our mothers and forget the parents we were not. how does one really avoid a day like this, when happy family celebrations abound, where parents and children, of all ages and life stages, gather.

as each day, month, and year passed by, we moved further from the “norm” for those in our age bracket and life stage. we talked about the “what if” of never having a child. would days like this remain painful all our lives? would we have to wait for heaven to hear “mommy!” or “daddy!”? yet, in His own grace, God did gift us with a child. a daughter-gift so filled with joy and personality and heart that I daily wonder at His grace.

today is my fourth year as the mother of an earth-bound child, celebrating Mother’s Day together. along with my own mother, grandmother, and auntie. it was a rich day, full of family, young giggles, and a peace. does my heart still hurt? yes. has this child erased the pain of the years preceding her birth? no. and for that I am thankful.

(part two tomorrow…)

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Filed under aches and lessons, daughter-gift, life lesson