Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Broken Vessels


Last year, I attended a thought-provoking conference for writers that challenged my thinking.

As a Christian author, I work hard to ensure my books contain Christian themes and principals: redemption, deliverance, faith, hope, covenant, salvation, justice, forgiveness.

 Because of this effort, I struggle with my own past. The devil is good at attacking those who seek to do God's will and he has definitely attacked me over the years.

Our conference guest speaker, Allen Arnold, reminded me of the healing that comes from God. I was struggling spiritually. My heart was heavy. Without knowing the significance of his actions, Allen Arnold provided me with a composition book with the word Kintsugi written on it. I quickly Googled the word and saw what it meant:

By repairing broken ceramics it’s possible to give a new lease of life to pottery that becomes even more refined thanks to its “scars”. 

The Japanese concept of Kintsugi aligns perfectly with my story. I am a broken vessel repaired by a good and merciful God. I have been given a new lease on life and am more refined thanks to my "scars."


But revisiting that brokenness is never easy. I remember one day, at another writers' conference, where I had to deal with the sins and shame of my past. I sat in a hotel room I shared with two other Christian women. These two women were almost twenty years younger than me. In the room, they spoke of how they had met their husbands and how they had waited to be intimate with their husbands until their wedding nights.

It was like listening to fairy tale romances! I sat there mesmerized by their lovely stories. And then it hit me.


You see, my own story isn't all that romantic. My husband and I had dated for almost 3 years and we did not wait for our wedding night to be intimate. We participated in sexual sin as Christians. Knowing full well what we were doing was wrong, we continued. Our actions displeased God immensely. It was a time of great darkness for me. The darkness engulfed me and separated me from Christ. Not the love of Christ, nothing can separate us from His love, but I couldn't have fellowship with Him while living in sin.

Living in daily sin as a Christian has a horrifying effect. I became so depressed. It felt like I was at war with the darkness. And the darkness almost won. I almost took my life. But God intervened and stopped me...and admonished me.

As I sat there listening to these young women tell their romantic stories of courtship with their spouses, I didn't say a word. Inside I was hoping they wouldn't turn to me and ask me about my courtship. I was hoping they wouldn't ask me to share because I had shame. In the midst of their beautiful "light-filled" stories of love and obedience to God, the darkness and shame of my past began to fill the room. Their light began to hurt my eyes just like it did when I had lived in darkness for almost 3 years.

The shame made me sick to my stomach. I was reminded of who I used to be: That broken vessel.

Blessedly, the two young women didn't ask. They simply went about the rest of their day. "Whew," I thought. "So glad I didn't have to revisit my past..."

Yet, I did revisit it. I often do.

Broken Vessels Repaired by God

I read through the information about Kintsugi with tear-filled eyes. It was the first time I had ever heard of this Japanese concept. Who knew you could repair what was broken and then reuse it!

Who knew?

God knew. 

He knew what I needed to see that morning. He saw my heart that morning. I couldn't believe it! But then, as Yoda said, that's why we fail isn't it? We don't believe God when He says He resides with a broken and contrite spirit:

"I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite..." Isaiah 57:15

Why does God dwell with those with a contrite and lowly spirit? To revive the spirit! He repairs us so we can be used by Him.

Praise God!

I am repaired by a loving God. As a result, like the Kintsugi vases, I am more beautiful now than I was then. Today I regret not telling those two young women my story. Who knows how God could have used it.

So, I am telling my story now: I am a sinner saved by a loving, merciful God! I was broken, but He repaired me to be used by Him. Now I shine with the Light of Christ. 

My story could have shown those two young women how God works in us in spite of us. He takes what is rejected and despised by the world and uses us. Much like how King David sought out the family of his enemy, Saul, because he remembered his covenant with his beloved friend, Jonathan.

King David's servants brought to him Mephibosheth, the lame grandson of Saul. A lame man is considered broken, a reject of society, unable of being anything other than a beggar for life. Yet, King David welcomed him into his court. He sat Mephibosheth at his table and treated him like one of his sons.

One of his sons!

 What a beautiful picture of what God does for us. He repairs us, seats us at His table, and loves us as much as He loves His own Son, Jesus.

Repaired By God

How amazing is our God! Look how much He loves us. He knew I was down that morning. He knew I struggled with my past. Yet He used the Japanese concept of Kintsugi to remind me of how much He loves me and wants to use me to do His good works.

How is God speaking to you, today? How is He challenging you to use your story to tell others about His wonderful works? 

You are a broken vessel repaired by God. Go and tell others about it! They need to know...


It's All Uphill from Here!

Wait? I thought it Was All Downhill From Here?

Ever take on a project that just might be more than you had planned? At first, you couldn't wait to work on it, but then you began to realize that there's no way you can complete it.

As a writer, I have been there.

Some projects are simple: A low word count book that follows a "formula" of Act I, II, and III with an uncomplicated conclusion.


You're done, get it edited, revise, upload, hit publish and there it is! A completed project.

Other projects, however, require more thought, effort, time, and determination.

Up Hill

Running on a flat surface is a piece of cake. As a runner of many marathons, the words "flat course" when describing a race is heaven to us runners. No one enjoys running uphill. it is a challenge, but boy does it take its toll on the body.

Same with some writing projects. They just seem uphill all the way! Why is that?

Research: You've heard the saying, "Write what you know" because that's the easy way to do it. But some projects require some research and that can cause a writer to freeze up. The cognitive dissonance almost paralyzes us! Procrastination wins.

Critique: I have writer friends who are blessed to have a FREE (free as in cost as well as in availability) critique group help them brainstorm a project from beginning to end. I have never had such a blessing. I guess I came into this writing game too late, but it seems all the critique groups are full and not receiving "new patients" at this time! LOL

Bummer. I could really use the help getting through my current project. I may have bitten off more than I can chew! It would help to sit with a writer familiar with the genre I'm writing and provide some pointers. Nothing makes you stop writing faster than when you realize that you may not know what the heck you're writing! But to find a critique group today requires a lot of money: You have to register for a writers conference, pay for airline tickets, and hotel because hardly any conferences are in your neck of the woods, doncha know?  And then pay for the critique. Ugh!! I get it, they are professionals who deserve to be paid for their time.

Personal Responsibilities:This hill gets me all the time. I tend to plan so many activities (running, writing, ministry, etc) that I don't have as much time to work on an uphill project. Why do I do this?? Probably because this project is so intimidating that, subconsciously, I don't want to work on it. Making myself busy is the perfect excuse!

But running uphill requires time, effort, and skill.There is a right way and wrong way to do it.

The right way leads to successfully reaching the top and celebrating the success!

The wrong way leads to pain...pain in the lungs, legs, and shins. Not knowing how to run uphill can lead to injury. And nothing ends a running career quite like injury.

As with writing, there is a way to conquer that hill succesfully!

First: running uphill requires that you are up on the balls of your feet, NOT leaning forward, and using of all the muscles of your legs. Why? Leaning forward flat on your feet will burn out your thighs and cause shin splints. Slightly leaning backwards while on the balls of your feet will cause your glutes, hamstrings, and calves to assist your thighs. This will result in lasting longer! Using your arms will drive you forward.

Second: This type of exercise is called "anaerobic." This means that this workout isn't intended to build up cardiovascular health. Because you are running uphill, your breathing will be shorter, you'll be taking in less oxygen. As a result, your muscles won't receive as much oxygen rich blood! But, on the plus side, you'll burn more sugar and fat in addition to oxygen. This type of workout is an excellent way to break out of a slump and boost your metabolism (how quickly you burn calories) from a plateau to super fast!

Warning: Because you are working those muscles, lungs, and your heart...this workout is not something you should do everyday. It breaks down a lot of muscle, so it requires rest! After running uphill for more than 20 minutes, you should spend 24 hours resting, consume protein, and stretch sore muscles. Doing this will help your muscles rebuild which means you will avoid injury.

See how this all applies to writing as well?

An intimidating writing project shouldn't be entered into lightly. It will cause more stress and require more of a commitment than those shorter, lower word count projects.

These big projects require more assistance. Like uphill running requires help from just one set of muscles, these writing projects require help from other writers. Without that assistance, the project will become overwhelming and make you want to quit.

I know from experience.

Running is a solo sport, as with writing. It is just you at the computer pouring your heart out into words that you hope will inspire others. We write to be read, after all.

The toughest marathon I ever ran was the Marine Corps Marathon back in 2014. The first 7 miles of that race were uphill. Ouch!! That was one intimidating project!

But because I knew how to run hills, I knew how to train for that race. I trained, rested, and prepared my body (as well as my mind...) and finished that race successfully.

I know this current Work-in-Progress is an uphill climb, but I am fully prepared for it. I pray I get the assistance that I need. I'm hoping to participate in a FREE critique group this summer. Hopefully, I'll be able to get up this hill once and for all. It hasn't been easy.

What about you? How do you get up those hilly projects? What do you do to prepare? 

What it all comes down to is to keep going. Pushing through the hard times is what makes completion so satisfying! You can look back, hold up the project, and say, "I did that!"

So, keep writing...keep running...and never give up!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Look Out!

How Writing is So Similar to Trail Running...

"Writing is like a marathon, not a sprint!"

We writers have heard this before. Writing takes time, discipline, training, patience, endurance, and on and on...

I run and have blogged about it here, but one thing I noticed about this crazy writing life is how writing is not just a marathon, run on a smooth surface, but more like TRAIL running!

Look Out!

One thing I love about distance running is how I get to "zone out" and not think about anything while I run. Because of this, I tend to run along the Arizona Canal. This path is smooth asphalt and the occasional gravel path. It's a predictable path that I have memorized over the last twenty years of running. So, very little thought goes into where I place my foot and I like that! I can listen to my music, think about things or just zone out and not think about anything at all. What a pleasure!

Trail running, on the other hand...



Because the path is unpredictable, loaded with rocks of all sizes, twists and turns, inclines and declines...a wise runner would never consider zoning out or they could find themselves flat on the ground eating dirt. 

Or worse! Falling off a cliff. 

And that, my friends, is the writing journey: Not a sprint, that is true. Requires time, discipline, training, endurance, and patience, but also FOCUS! 

Writing is hard! It requires complete focus, especially today with all the social media tempting us to stop and read a post or see how many "likes" a photo received. It's the same with trail running because the scenery can be so beautiful. You'll want to stop and take some photos of your surroundings.

DON'T DO IT! Keep going. Keep writing. Stay focused or you'll end up flat on your face or over that "cliff" of not completing your manuscript. 

There are so many tools out there for writers to help us stay organized and focused, but it all comes down to staying the course, doing our best to predict the obstacles on the path, and endure the emotional or psychological inclines and declines that come out way. 

See? Writing, like trail running, is hard! But as with everything worthwhile, it is a race worth running. I highly advise a trail run now and then. If you ever get the chance, do it.

Make this the year you FINISH that manuscript! Make this the year you type "The End." You can do it! You can finally accomplish that goal. It isn't easy...but it is so worth it. 

Your turn: What is keeping you from crossing the finish line of your project? How can you overcome the obstacles in your writing path? 

Happy writing!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

What's New in Publishing?

This was the question a fellow author and I answered the other day when we met to discuss trends in publishing. 

Our answer was most definitely Memoirs. 

As we thought more about memoirs, we realized a new style of memoir is currently taking over publishing: 

Memoirs written in a narrative style. 

This style seems to be appealing to authors because it can be easier to write about a painful time in one's life if names, places, and circumstances are slightly changed. But even if the author's selected time period isn't traumatic, writing it as a narrative can make the memoir more marketable and appealing. 

For me, my novella, "First Christmas in Paris," was written in narrative style because I wanted to change the names, setting, and be creative with the plot. For instance, this book is based on a true story from my marriage. We live in a large city, but I wanted the story to begin in a quaint small town. At the time, I worked in a large office with some wonderful people, but wanted to have my protagonist work in a small office with closer, more intimate relationships with her co-workers. Lastly, I had to add some conflict to the story to make it more interesting for the reader, because the true story didn't have much conflict. 

I have no regrets writing our true story this way. I thoroughly enjoyed it and have received wonderful reviews from readers. 

I believe the memoir is so popular with publishers today because people want to read fascinating true life stories about overcoming obstacles or about fun and exciting adventures. Hope and adventure seem to be the themes people are drawn to most, whether in memoirs about beloved pets or children. I'm told horse memoirs are very popular right now. Maybe write a memoir about a horse-loving child!

I'm not suggesting all writers abandon their current projects to write a memoir, but I think we all should consider it. Each of us has a unique life experience that readers could benefit from. If it's a traumatic experience, consider writing it in narrative style. If it's an adventure story, be sure to include photographs so we can travel vicariously through your story. 

So, what's popular in publishing today? Memoirs seem to be hot right now. After reading a few and writing one in narrative style, I can see why!

Happy writing!


Thursday, July 6, 2017

Storming the Castle! The Importance of Your Hero's Goals

To Battle! Heroes and Goals

Developing the goals of your protagonist is essential to telling his story. What goal awaits him at the end of his journey? Why is it important? Well, consider the goals in your own life...

The Short Term Goal

In narrative writing, the idea of the "hero's journey" refers to the short term and long term goals of your protagonist. But here we'll look at the short term goal:

At the beginning of your story, when the curtain opens, and we meet your protagonist, she should be in the middle of some action that will reveal a little bit about who she is. Her actions will reveal some of her character traits.

But her short term goal, the goal that exists before we ever meet her, will reveal even more about her. Sometimes, though, coming up with that short term goal isn't as easy as it seems. Think of your own life. What was that goal you had when you were younger? How has life changed that goal?

Your hero's goal should be similar...

For instance, many writers don't make the short term goal urgent enough. One student of mine wrote that her protagonist's short term goal was to pass a science test. Well, that's a goal, but why not make it more urgent or important? She needs to pass the FINAL EXAM with an A so she can get into a top college and escape poverty and have a chance at life. See the difference?

In one story an author shared at a writing conference, his hero longs to win the science fair at his school. When the "curtain" opens, readers meet him as he plans what his science project will be and how it will be the best, even better than the bully who tends to win every year. Because he wants to win the science fair with his own project, we learn a little about our hero: His goal is a noble goal, therefore, he's a noble kid. Because he wants to complete the project himself, without his parents' help, we learn that he is self-sufficient, smart, and ambitious. Because he wants to challenge the bully again, we learn that he is brave and has integrity.

Selecting and describing the short term goal of your protagonist is the perfect way to introduce him to your readers. Is the goal sinister? What character traits will that reveal to your readers? Is the goal impossible to attain? What does that reveal to your readers?

The short term goal is essential to your story and should be important with a sense of urgency. The goal should also connect to your protagonist.

But it should also connect to your antagonist as well.

Battling Dragons

Now, in fiction, the antagonist doesn't always have to be "evil" or sinister like a dragon. In fact, your antagonist can be a coach or a teacher or a boss with no evil intentions. These characters can simply be placing obstacles in the path of your protagonist. The antagonist places obstacles that hinders your hero's journey.

How do they do this?

If the antagonist is pure evil, well, he or she or "it" (like a dragon) will try to kill your hero to stop her from saving the world.

But if your antagonist isn't evil, but still places obstacles in your hero's path, this can be done in subtle ways (like the parents in Ferris Bueller's Day Off) with rules or restrictions, or in more obvious ways (like the sister or the principal in Ferris Bueller's Day Off). They may not truly want to harm your hero, but nonetheless, they hinder their journey.

One story I read that comes to mind, had a coach as one of the antagonists whose strict rules hinders the progress of the hero who wants to win the championship. At first, these rules seem unfair, but in the end, the obstacles actually made our hero stronger than she thought she was.

You see how it works?

Something to always consider: Always connect the hero's short term goal to the antagonist in some way. If the goal is to win the science fair, then perhaps the student's teacher also wants someone representing her class to win the science fair so it makes her look good, too! But her enthusiasm causes obstacles in your hero's path to success inadvertently. Of course, the goal to win the science fair is also connected to the villain (the bully) but I cover the role of villains in another blog post.

Long Term Goals

So, how then do writers come up with the long term goals and why are they necessary?

Well, remember how the short term exists when the curtain opens and we meet your protagonist? The long term goal comes as a result of the inciting incident. 

The inciting incident is that pivotal moment in the story, that one event, that changes the life of your character forever. But this event is so drastic that it also affects the people around the hero, too.

Let's go back to that story of the kid who wants to win the science fair. The writer told us how he developed the long term goal of the story. While the kid is planning his perfect science project that will win the science fair, NASA announces that a large asteroid is hurtling toward the earth at an alarming speed. If it strikes the planet, it will kill all life on earth! Now the goal of this kid is no longer about winning the science fair, but about using his skills to SAVE THE PLANET!

You see how this goal also has urgency to it, but it involves more than just the himself or the school? Now it involves the whole world! His new goal: Come up with some way to stop that asteroid.

What about your story? What incident (natural disaster, death in the family, diagnosis, accident, murder, etc.) has affected your hero and set her on a different trajectory than when readers first meet her? It has to have that sense of urgency. It has to involve more than just herself.

And, as with the short term goal, it must connect to the antagonist.

Back to the science kid, the bully in the story also wants to stop the asteroid. But his intentions aren't as noble as our hero's. He just wants to win for the notoriety, fame, and fortune that awaits whomever stops that asteroid. Who will get there first? The hero? Or his nemesis?

The severity of the inciting incident must be apparent. This incident has to be so intense that it changes our hero completely. The change must be so extreme that it sets our hero on another path entirely. But the incident doesn't have to be a horrible event. Take Harry Potter, for instance. What was the inciting incident that changed his life forever? He is invited to Hogwarts where he learns he is a wizard! Not bad at all.

Or like in my book, The Children Under the Ice. My hero's life is changed when he falls through the ice of a frozen pond and encounters the ghosts of children. This incident isn't as horrible as a cancer diagnosis or natural disaster, but it is still serious enough to change his life.

Back to our hero who needs to stop that asteroid...the writer finished the tale by explaining how his hero not only comes up with a device to stop the asteroid, he works with NASA and destroys it minutes before impact. Problem solved! He met his long term goal of saving the world. Yay!

Yet, in doing so, the school principal awards him with the top prize at the science fair! Now our hero has also met his short term goal of winning the fair and defeating his nemesis. All is well. This writer showed conference attendees how to develop effective short term and long term goals in a fun and interesting way.

As you can see, the goal is essential in developing your hero's journey. Without those goals, short term and long term, there is no reason for the reader to turn the page.

Slaying Dragons

It's the same as in life. You had goals early on in your life that certain inciting incidents may have changed. Perhaps graduating from college was your number one goal while in high school, but a parent's death, or a sibling's birth, or a job loss changed your goal and set you down another path.

There's nothing wrong with these incidents, but they are severe and urgent enough to impact not just one life, but many.

It's the same with writing! Think of your character and her journey. What obstacles will you put in her path? Who will hinder her progress and why? How will those obstacles affect her journey? And what will her goals be to get her through all those obstacles and help her reach the top of the mountain and slay that dragon?

Isn't writing FUN? Now, go and devise more ways to inspire your hero to slay dragons and save the world!

Your turn: What part of developing goals do you find most difficult? How do you go about creating short term and long term goals for your hero?


Sunday, June 18, 2017

LOL: Ways Humor Can Help You Deal With Grief

Will I Ever Laugh Again?

Back in the 1990s, I read a book by Barbara Johnson that I never forgot. Stick a Geranium in Your Hat and Be Happy was one of those books that stays with you because it's unlike anything you've ever read before.

Barbara Johnson's candid look into her grief journey was unique because it was hilarious. There were parts of the book that made me laugh out loud and yet I was reading about her life tragedies. How can that be?

Twenty something years later, as I am on my own grief journey, I do reflect back on that book for ways to help me deal with the different parts of grief.

Among those ways is humor.

Can one really laugh again after dealing with tragedy?

The answer I have learned is YES!

"Love makes the world go round but laughter keeps you from getting dizzy." -Barbara Johnson

Scientists suggest that there are benefits from laughter:

1. Lowers blood pressure.
2. Reduces stress
3. Works your abdominals (that's a great workout we all can do!)
4. Improves cardiac health
5. Releases endorphins

These are just some benefits I found online! There are many more...

When you're deep in grief, you may think you will never laugh again. And if you do, you immediately feel guilty because your loved one can no longer laugh.

I mean, your're supposed to be sad and solemn, right?

That's the popular idea: Be sad and lonely in your grief.

But what I learned from the late Barbara Johnson is that laughter will sustain you through those very difficult times. She lost two sons (one in Vietnam and the other to a drunk driver) and helped her husband deal with a brain tumor until his passing. Yet this woman was funny. I mean, FUNNY! I highly recommend her books. She could find humor in anything.

Change is never easy. Losing a loved one brings immediate change.

Barbara Johnson wrote about celebrating the little things in life to deal with the sudden change. She wrote about things like celebrating the first of every month. How simple is that? The first of every month means you made it. You made it through! So, celebrate!

 Find ways to celebrate the little things in life: You walked 10,000 steps for the first time in months? Celebrate! You made it through the day without a flashback or tears? Celebrate! You were able to talk about your loved one without weeping? Celebrate!

Celebrate these accomplishments with a special treat for yourself: a hike, a new pair of earrings, try a new restaurant, a new pair of shoes, or watch a funny movie. I knew one guy who collected watches. He'd buy a new watch each month because it made him feel special. Celebrate with LAUGHTER! Post a funny joke or meme each week. Make it a goal to bring a smile to someone's face.

Do something your loved one always wanted to do:

Try a comedy club one night! Go with a group of friends and laugh...just laugh out loud together at nonsense.

Try a hot air balloon ride and record it on video.

Try traveling by train to another state and blog about the experience.

Try reading a book your loved one always wanted to read but didn't get to. Write a book review!

The key word there is TRY.

What's So Funny About That?

I once had a lady say to me, "You've been through so much and yet you smile."

I smile because I finally can.

You can, too.

And it's okay. I know there will be times you will feel guilty about it, but don't, because that's what our loved ones would want.

We've seen the benefits of laughter and we know it can help our physical health, but can it help our mental health, too?


There are plenty of researchers out there who have done the hard work. Their results show that laughter is most beneficial to our mental health because of the way it relieves us of negative thoughts and releases those hormones that reduce stress. Laughter through pain also helps us break down those emotional blocks we build up around ourselves. Find the humor in things and enjoy a good laugh.

In the long run, finding humor will get you through it all. If you're struggling to find humor, then pick up a copy of any one of Barbara Johnson's books and enjoy a good laugh and a good story about surviving the grief journey.

Remember, your mind is healing. Laughter will help your mind heal. Finding humor in everyday life will bring laughter. Now go and share that laughter!



  • Gelkopf M, Kreitler S, Sigal M. Laughter in a psychiatric ward. Somatic, emotional, social, and clinical influences on schizophrenic patients. J Nerv Ment Dis. 1993;181 (5):283-289.
  • Gelkopf M. Sigal M, Kramer R. Therapeutic use of humor to improve social support in an institutionalized schizophrenic inpatient community. J Soc Psychol 1994;134 (2);175-182.
  • Gelkopf M, Gonen B, Kurs R, Melamed Y, Bleich A. The effect of humorous movies on inpatients with chronic schizophrenia. J Nerv Ment Dis. 2006;194 (11):880-883.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Where is God in Grief?

Where is God?

In my last post, I wrote about that foggy brain feeling caused by grief. I wrote about how strange everything became after I experienced loss. 

That foggy brain feeling also applied to my spiritual walk with God. 

Never was there a time that I felt God had abandoned me, but I must admit there were times when I sat at my desk at home with an open Bible before me unable to pray. 

The words wouldn't come. 

I had lost my older sister in October and five months later, I lost my mother. We had found my mother in her home. She had died alone at age 79. 

I was told by the Crisis Prevention paramedic that I suffered a traumatic loss which is different than a loss from chronic illness. I was told I needed counseling. 

At first, I didn't listen to the paramedic. I thought I was just fine. But later, I began to understand what she was talking about. 

I understood when I began to feel God wasn't there anymore. 

Where is God in Our Grief?

Once I obtained support through my grief, only then did I learn that my spiritual walk with God was affected, too. 

How about you? Did your experience with grief affect your relationship with God? Did you begin to feel anger toward Him? Did you, like Job, begin to question Him?

Nowhere in scripture are we told that it is wrong to call out to God in our pain. Instead, He tells us in His word that He prefers a broken heart. He loves a broken and contrite spirit.

"The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise."

God created us in His image. How did He handle grief?

"Jesus wept."

As I sat there before my Bible that one day, I honestly had no words to speak. I was dumbfounded that I no longer had my sister or my mom with me anymore. The thought just couldn't materialize in my head. The words I wanted to say to God, I knew would be wrong. So, I sat there and stared at God's word.

He is There

A few weeks later, the fog began to lift and God's word became more meaningful to me than ever before. 

But how? How could I still cry out to God after experiencing so much loss in such a short period of time? Wasn't I angry? Wasn't I full of doubt? Did I doubt His existence? I mean, how can a good God allow so much suffering?

Isn't that the ancient question? How can a GOOD GOD allow pain and suffering? 

After analyzing this concept, I have come to the conclusion that, as with all things pertaining to God, there is a purpose everything. Yes, there is even a purpose for evil:

Evil (moral, natural, or supernatural evil) will either draw us closer to Him or push us further away from Him. 

I came away from the experience of writing two eulogies in five months time that the purpose of this form of natural evil was to draw me closer to God. 

What about you? Did your loss of a loved one draw you closer to God? Or did it push you further away? Did you find yourself doubting His existence?

If so, you would not be alone. 

In the Midst of the Storm

Many people feel alone in their grief. Many begin to doubt God.

The purpose of storms is apparent: The winds make the trees stronger. Their roots dig in deeper to the soil and the pressure of the wind on the tree trunks make them thicker to withstand stronger winds as they grow. The wind blows the pollution out of the air. The rain makes the grass grow. The rain replenishes the earth. 

Without the storms, everything suffers. 

And when the storm passes? Crystal blue skies are left behind.

But sometimes, those storms are devastating. We all have seen how tornadoes and hurricanes rip through a community leaving destruction and death in their wake. 


Why does God sometimes quiet the storms, yet allow others to destroy?

Again, He allows this form of evil to draw us closer to Him or push us further away. But one thing we can know for certain is that He is there in the midst of the storm. 

We never have to endure it alone. 

Lessons Learned

And that's the lesson I learned through this storm...this hurricane called grief. I never had to endure it alone. God is sure and steadfast. God knew my spirit was so broken that the words wouldn't come out of me. 

So, He patiently waited...and waited...until that day when the words came. They came flooding out and He was there to listen. 

The answer to my "why" never came, but I no longer needed those answers. 

I began to heal. 

What about you? Have you been able to talk to and walk with God yet? If not, what's keeping you from your spiritual walk with God?

I hope this post has helped you understand that God has never left you. He is simply patiently wading with you through the waves of your grief storm. 

He is that anchor that holds us. He is that stronghold we can reach out to. He is that shield that protects us. 

Never question it, He is there in the midst of your grief.