I don’t know what you know about grief, but I didn’t know much about it until a little over nine months ago when we had to give our daughter back to the Lord entirely too soon. Grief is a funny thing because there are no rules to it. There is no rhyme or reason as to when it will hit you or how long it will stay. And no one can tell you how you are supposed to grieve. Oh, how I wish there was a book on how to do it. A special formula. Or even a timeline to follow. But no, instead it is like taking a hike through the woods in the dark. I never know what is ahead. I never know what to expect.
When we found out the news that Elle was gone, my world started spinning. I remember wailing and crying out in pain because my heart literally ached. My precious doctor kneeled alongside me as I fell to my knees and raised my hands to cry out to my Lord. I prayed that Elle’s life would be a testament to Him. I prayed for peace. I will never forget the overwhelming peace that washed over my body and the entire tiny room.
I pressed into my Savior in that single worst moment of my life. I ran into His arms and welcomed His embrace. I turned to Him every day, hour, minute since that moment I knew she was gone.
Since losing Elle, I have scoured the Bible for others who have also been burdened with grief. While they do not tell me how to specifically grieve, I have absolutely learned that above everything else, they have pressed into the Lord.
One story that I come back to time and again is the story of Lazarus. Lazarus was sick and his sisters Mary and Martha sent for Jesus because they believed Jesus could (and would) heal him, yet Jesus waited several days to visit the sisters until Lazarus had passed away. Jesus finally came to visit the them and this is the part I love… when Mary heard that Jesus had finally come, she ran to him.
Her beloved brother was dead. She was hurting. She was grieving. But she ran to Jesus.
Jesus could have healed her brother. He could have taken away the sickness. But He didn’t.
And Mary still ran to Him.
I have to imagine, being newly familiar with grief, that her cheeks were wet with tears, her eyes were swollen, and her soul felt desperately exhausted. She could have been angry. She could have yelled out and cursed Jesus. Instead, she chose to run to Him. She knew she needed a Savior. She knew she needed His embrace and His comfort. She knew she needed what only He could give her.
(In case you are not familiar with this piece of history, Jesus ended up raising Lazarus from the dead. What a beautiful miracle. I can’t even imagine witnessing such a glorious moment in time.)
Jesus did not answer my desperate pleas to bring my girl back. In my darkest moments I cried out that He would breathe life back into her tiny lifeless body because I believed he could absolutely do that if it was His will to do so. He didn’t breathe life back into her. He didn’t bring her back to us. But I know that this story is not about me. It is all about Him. “When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” John 11:4 And if I add in Elle’s name, Elle’s story shines brightly for the Lord: “Elle’s life will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory, so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.“
I worship Him in the midst of my grief because it’s the only thing that makes sense. I’ve been going through another rough point in my journey of missing Elle. Right now grieving looks normal on the outside, but it’s devastatingly hurtful on the inside. I spent my entire last week in a small lakeside town with my family. Everywhere we went the friendliest people commented on my babies. “Oh, twins?” “Well isn’t she beautiful!” “How many do you have?” “Oh my! You sure do have your hands full!” And all of it was so sweet, but it brought me unexpected hurt. And in the midst of this pain, I was reminded again of the story of Mary running to Jesus.
I love the picture I have in my mind of her running to him. Because I also see a picture of me. I see myself dropping everything I am doing and hurriedly going to Him. I see myself in the ultrasound room and crying out to Him in my desperateness. I see myself falling at His feet and worshipping Him. How merciful of the Lord to give me this opportunity to worship Him. Without the hurt, I could never fully acknowledge the grace He has extended to me. My prayer is that I always choose to run to Him. That my husband, children, and grandchildren will always choose to run to Him. We may not know what the future holds or how our grief will look in the months or years to come, but I know that He knows, and I cannot think of anyone better to trust than Him.