Count it all joy? Really?
Life is really heavy sometimes. In my mind, I had the perfect family; a husband, a little boy, and very soon to be a little girl. My due date arrives after my very perfect pregnancy, quick check before we deliver… No heartbeat. What? Wait, what?! This cannot be. Fast forward to 15 hours of induced labor, my beautiful daughter is here. Stunning, but not alive. God? Hello? Is this real, everything is a blur. Nothing matters anymore. This can’t be happening. God?
Don’t you remember I was a missionary? Remember, God? I know all of the right things. Heck, I even went to Bible school. What’s going on? Life has been pretty amazing so what has happened? Count it all joy? Ha. Yeah, right. All I can do is cry. And cry. And cry. And lay in bed and cry some more. Joy? Ha. Yeah right… But God.
Perhaps it’s financial trouble, difficulty in your marriage, losing a child, life just not turning out as you expected it to. I don’t know where you are in your story, but I know that while happily living in the middle of mine, everything came crashing down around me.
Life punches us in the gut sometimes out of the blue, when we are least expecting it. You know it. That hard news that comes and takes your breath away. We are then forced to make decisions that we never knew we would be faced with and we question everything we’ve ever known.
My heart cried out, but God, I’ve loved You and trusted You with all of my heart, and now this? It doesn’t make sense. It’s not fair. How can I still trust You? I thought You were good. All these thoughts ran through my mind when I was faced with the hardest thing I have ever walked through. Perhaps you’ve been there, perhaps you still are.
And yet, the truth that I knew deep down, was that God was still good. That His promises to me had never changed. And it was then I had to dig down deep and bare my soul to Him, and in my grief, anger and ache, I had to believe that somehow what the enemy had intended for bad, God would use for good.
This is where deep rooted faith comes in, this is where the foundation that is built on Christ that cannot be washed away by the storms really is tested. Do I really believe that I can trust God and that He really is good when everything around me is not? The answer for me was “no” for a long time.
It has been four years since our loss and what a crazy journey it has been. I’ve reminded myself so many times that most men and women in the Bible didn’t have it so easy either. They were given promises that sometimes they had to wait 100 years for, I’m thinking of Abraham. They waited in dungeons, in prisons, in caves and had enemies and were on the run, and yet they had the promises of God and knew Him and that He is good. They didn’t have the end of their story written to read and know that it was all going to be for something so much greater. We get to read and see the stories and they are amazing.
But when you are in the middle of something, like I am, we don’t get to see the end right away, we get to wait, and we get to trust Him or not trust Him. We have to trust in who we know God to be. It is so hard, it is hard sitting in a mess and not seeing any way forward, and yet here I sit, looking like a fool to most, hoping against hope. I know He is so much greater than my small mind. He has it all figured out, and so I keep trusting, I keep my eyes on Him, I keep loving Him, and praising Him among my heart ache and my tears.
I know He is right here next to me, and is not silent though it may seem, and that this is all birthing hope and glory. He has promised that He is faithful and good, and He is the lifter of our heads. God promises us that all things work together for good, for those who love Him and who have been called according to His good pleasure. He has promised that what the enemy intends for bad, that He will use for good.
I don’t understand how that is all going to happen, but what I do is I continue to trust Him, I continue to bear my soul and my pain and every feeling to Him and that somehow He comforts me, in a way that is supernatural. We are given a peace that is out of this world that He has promised to us when we lay our requests and our heart before Him.
He gives me a joy that isn’t dependent on my circumstances and will do the same for you. I promise you He is near to you, He is near to your broken heart and He loves you and cares very deeply for whatever it is you were walking through, even when it seems like the valley of the shadow of death.
For my Jesus is not a stranger of suffering or hardships, He was human and divine. He understands the deepest of our sorrows. Despite the happy face that religion paints, or the problem and carefree false masks that people wear, He actually knows and can empathize with what you are struggling with and wants nothing to do with religion.
He is there. With love. With tears in His eyes because He too has been broken. In every way. Offering His hands with scars, to hold you. His life, divine, to accept you. Offering His ears to listen and grieve with you because He knows.
Isaiah 53 says that Jesus was despised and rejected, a man of sorrows and was well acquainted with grief. It says He bore our griefs and carried our sorrows. He was afflicted and wounded for us. It says that all of our brokenness and stuff we go through and do wrong was laid on Him. He knew deep grieving.
He willingly laid His life down as an offering for our sins, and because of the cross, we are healed, and forgiven. He poured His soul unto death, He was punished with the most sinful of transgressors and He gave His life so that we could be made whole and have hope beyond what we could have ever imagined.
He understands your humanity, and yet resurrected, and defeated death, crushing it and all that would try to keep us defeated and depressed. Even in the darkest of our days, there is a great Hope and your dark days have an end. This is the good news for everyone. Run to Jesus in whatever state you are in and I promise you He will provide comfort beyond what you ever knew was possible because we are the beloved.
Thank you for reading my story, I don’t know how it’s going to turn out, but I know Who does and in that I take great comfort and joy.
— Shawnda Lorrelle
About the author
Shawnda Lorrelle is a mom of two boys that spent her 20’s mentoring, speaking and sharing Christ around the world. She currently lives in the Pacific Northwest and is currently writing a couple of books and supporting women who have experienced late term loss and stillbirth. She can be found on Instagram @shawndalorrelle and @late_term_loss_and_stillbirth