New Year, Old Grief, Same God.

January 1st is the day of new beginnings. It is the day of new goals and possibilities. It is the day to turn the page on regret and disappointment- a day pregnant with hope.

And yet…

January first is Corey’s birthday. He would be 27 today, my sweet, fun, brother-in-law, unexpectedly taken from this world nearly four years ago. For my family, each New Year begins with sadness and longing for a son, a brother, a friend, who is gone. [Read more...]

He Is Coming

I was six years old. Our little church’s Christmas Eve service had just ended and I raced outside without stopping to grab my coat. I thrust myself onto the cold ground and stared up into the starlit heavens…

I was searching for Santa.

I was desperate to catch a glimpse of the sleigh pulled by his eight magical reindeer. I can still feel that feeling. The giddy delight of anticipation. The eagerness for that one unmatched, magical moment I experienced every year- the wonder and joy that only this holiday could bring. Christmas meant…

He was coming.

And it didn’t matter if I’d been naughty or nice, because time had proven that there would be packages with my name on it, even though I always had much to feel regret for. I wasn’t always a good girl. In fact, I was the self-willed, difficult child in my family. But none the less…

He was coming.

Gifts were coming.

Goodness was coming.

I am thirty-five-years-old and I still get completely lost in the wonder of Christmas. I love the lights and cocoa and the smell of pine. I love early mornings all alone with my favorite Christmas mug snuggled up by the tree. I love Christmas music and hearing my three year old sing “jinger bells” at the top of his lungs. I love buying gifts. I love picking the perfect paper for my carefully selected parcels for the people in my life I want to express love and thanks to. I love Christmas parties and family gatherings and caroling. I love candlelight services and Christmas plays, but most especially, I love the joy and wonder I see in the eyes of my children. And with every year that goes by, every year that another twelve months pass, my longing for Christmas becomes greater.

Because Christmas means…

He is coming.

And it doesn’t matter if I’ve been naughty or nice, because Christmas rescues me from all that.


He is coming.

Gifts are coming.

Goodness is coming.

This Christmas I find myself much like that little six year old shadow of me, staring once again, staring into the stable. Staring at how love came down to rescue me. Staring at how God nestled himself within the womb of a girl to know life in every way I have known it. I see the mission of love before me. The rescue mission that snatched me from the grips of hell and set eternity in my underserving soul. From a crib full of hay to a cross on a hill- this baby, this man, this God- He has rescued me. And this Christmas, perhaps more than ever before, I am aware of my need, my love and my desperation for Emmanuel.

As I mediate on Christmas, I find myself…amazed. I am deeply,deeply astounded at the incarnation. He could’ve conjured up another rescue plan…right? But for you and me He chose to make Himself small. He chose to leave the glory and perfection of heaven, the place where he is honored and adored, to enter the mess and madness of humanity. Do I really grasp what that means?  Do I really understand the magnitude,the glory and goodness of the word, the name, Jesus?

Can you feel it? Are you looking with me, searching the heavens? Searching your heart? This God who came, is coming again.

There is something else that accompanies my joyful expectancy for Christmas this year. It’s panic. It’s anxiety. It’s bouts of depression and exhaustion and suffocating empathy and fear. I am a mess. I am a desperate mama, a tired, frazzled, anxious, weary mess.

And here is my Christmas list…

Comfort and release from my grief.

Peace for all my pain.

Joy for all my sadness.

A fresh start for all my failures.

Light for all my darkness.

Victory for all my battles.

Freedom from all my fears.


He is coming.

Gifts are coming.

Goodness is coming.

The spirit of God takes me by the hand and leads me here,

“Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given. And the government will be upon His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

This one tiny baby is all of this for me, for you. Within every name, I find the answers, the gifts my heart begs for.

What Christmas list would your soul inscribe to the Lord this year? What wish list would you offer to the King of Kings, the One who is willing and able to satisfy your deepest needs and longings? We spend so much time thinking and planning and wishing for the things that could fill our lives and homes. What gifts might you ask for to fill your heart?

Wonderful Counselor

Almighty God

Everlasting Father

Prince of Peace.

This is His name. This is our God, Our Emmanuel.


He is coming

Gifts are coming.

Goodness is coming.

Thankful for The Shepherd


That is exactly how I’ve felt everyday of the past month since we released The Jesus of My Grief.

Overwhelmed by your kindness.

Overwhelmed by your love.

Overwhelmed by your pain.

Thank you for sharing your stories with me. I am humbled and honored to hold your words, your woes in my heart. I must tell you, I have placed them all at the feet of Jesus. [Read more...]

The Book Is Here!

For years I have thought about how I would begin this post…years.

Now my mind is as blank as this screen and I can’t seem to catch words in this deep sea, this heart rippling full of so much emotion.

I pause.

There is great joy over finishing this six year journey of writing and editing. Great joy over finally publishing and putting it out there…my story, my soul. Death stripped me down, pulled me apart and laid me bare. But today, I am rebuilt and repurposed for something, someone, much greater than myself. I feel as though I am crossing the finish line of a race I have been running for nearly a decade. I am out of breath. I am exhausted. I am elated.

In addition to the joy of completion, today is an extremely significant and special day for another reason. On February 22, 2005 my daughter’s heart stopped beating. But today, it begins beating again in this world as her story is now alive. It has finally been born. I wish you could see the smile on this grieving mama’s face, like sun pushing rays through the dark, joy wins again. But perhaps even more significant and more special than this new life given to Anna Rose Kelty, is the heart beat of the Savior I am privileged to share with you today. It is the sweetest sound I know and my hand is on the volume knob and I am cranking it as far as I possibly can. It is the pulse and the rhythm of love that carried me through the worst and set the tempo for my grief and my healing. It is embedded upon every page of my story and it is my life’s greatest accomplishment to be able to share it with you. It is, after all, all about Him…

The Jesus of My Grief.

The night my sweet Anna died, my sister sat at home anxiously and fearfully awaiting a phone call from me to dispel her fears. She held her Bible in her hands. She prayed against the worst and opened the Word. She quickly flipped to this…

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.  For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Him.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-5

At that, my sister knew, her niece was gone. But she also knew something else, she knew that God would comfort me so profoundly that I would in turn be able to offer that same saving and satisfying comfort to others. During my years of doubting and wrestling with God she held onto this as a promise, as an anchor to our faith.

hate my grief. I hate my pain. But the richest and most satiating moments of my life have been those drenched, saturated, and sopping with the comfort and love of Jesus Christ.

It started as a single beat, a single quality of Him that threw me a rope and pulled me out of the the abyss leaving me with just enough hope to carry on. It was His presence, His constant, abiding, risen presence. He was with me and I saw Him. This moment resonated deeply within, to a part I didn’t even know existed. That first encounter was the reviving jolt that surged a longing for God to pulse through my veins right alongside the fury. Time went on and His heartbeat grew stronger, louder, more complex until it was no longer a drum, but a song, the kind you cannot help but dance to, sing along with, and tell about it. The fury was gone. Divine love kicked it to the curb.

I wrote it all down.

Every heartbeat, an encounter, a chapter, until the very end, my peaceful resolution- joy, redemption, hope.

The God I hated, is the God I love, truly, tenderly, want-to, have-to, need-to, kind of love. Today my heart beats in sync with His and thus my heart also breaks for what breaks His…

Have you lost a baby?

Have you stood paralyzed under a waterfall of weeping that seemed as though it would take you out?

Has life been a thief and a robber of the way “it should have been?

Have you been hurt, wounded, and deceived?

Have you ever asked God ”Why?”

Are you afraid, confused, lost or angry?

Do you believe in Him, but struggle to know Him? See Him? Trust Him? Love Him?

Would you be curious to hear the way His heartbeat sounds to me? How I resolved some of those questions, pains and fears?

To you who answered yes to any one or all of these questions, let me first say this…

I am so deeply sorry and I love you.

I wrote this book for you, for us. The wounded, the weary, the wanting…

There is hope. There is comfort. There is love.

I pray my words wrap you in a blanket, light a fire in your heart and bring you to the hearth of healing. I pray my words guide you into your pain, your own lies and fears, and introduce you to the One I call “Bearer of truth and burdens.” I pray my words leave you longing for and lifted by the true lover of your soul.

This is The Jesus of My Grief.


When My Fear Encounters My God

I remember when I was little being afraid a lot. It was conditional fear. “This bad thing will happen if I don’t do this.” It was obsessive. It was rooted in a false sense of control. I remember my mom telling me that she read in a book that 98% of the things we fear will never happen. That fact gave me peace. It was concrete- something I could hold. I remember calming myself with that information when fear reared its ugly head and the statistic often made my fear recoil. In fact, the things I feared as a child never happened. [Read more...]

Happy Ninth Birthday Anna

The last time I saw Anna was when I gave her to Chris and I watched as he gave her to our nurse Alice. Alice walked over to me and said gently, “So your arms will not be empty” and she placed a small, pink, stuffed hippo in my hands. It was from my dear friend Sue, and we had determined it would be Anna’s favorite. I watched Alice walk away, and I held onto Chris as I watched my sweet baby girl disappear. [Read more...]

Giving, Grief and Grace Anew

This month hasn’t gone at all like I thought It would. I didn’t foresee February any other way than Giving and Grieving. But Chris got sick and was out of commission for a week. The next week he flew to Columbia and got snowed in. I had anticipated lots of writing and reporting, but I was lucky just to get through each day with all three children and myself intact.

[Read more...]

February Once Again

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February. I can hardly believe my Anna would be nine this month. Nine. Nine years since I held her in my arms. Nine years since I kissed her sweet face and sang to her one last time. Nine years since we let go.

Even now, February makes me nervous, as if something awful is getting ready to happen. This is the dread that comes with anniversary loss. It is the unstoppable fear in  [Read more...]