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.
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.
I 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.