Heart pounding like it’s going to expire, headache like you won’t live till tomorrow, stabbing pains like a knife through the chest, body hideously concave to envelope the pain—like a lame animal cradling its injured paw, breaths that come in but will not retreat, desperately gasping for air—but no one can hear you, waking with panic in the night because your lungs took a pause, tendons in your neck that constrict so tightly you fear the veins will burst, a fragmented mind that threatens to fade away, skin and tissues so tender they feel bruised all over, abdominal pains for no apparent reason—maybe you are dying, sleepless nights that end near dawn, nerves that catch in a million raw places at the slightest noise, jaws clenching in the background as they attempt to stifle the anger and frustration, moments of deep, deep peace and rest as you drift off to sleep midday—only to be awakened with a jump-start, electric shock that starts the whole cycle anew…

To be certain, childloss is a long, arduous, never-ending journey. As I proceed along this painstaking path, I have acquired a peculiar way to navigate. By faith and much experimentation, I have learned that the Lord is constantly there to help me each step of the way. He has not removed my pain, nor would I want Him to do so, but He has consistently and compassionately placed each stone needed for me to continue my forward quest—grace by grace, one foothold at a time, and often a handhold, too

As a child, I spent countless hours playing in streams and shallow creek beds. They were always a delight. At times, I was scolded for falling in the water and getting wet! As I grew, I became much more adept at crossing streams without immersing myself in water when it was necessary to stay dry…

Stepping stones, fallen logs, narrow banks suitable for leaping, branches and bushes that provide makeshift handholds… these are all features to be celebrated when searching for a sure way to cross. Though there are countless methods of “safely” navigating a stream, slippery rocks, wobbly logs and loose branches are what I know best! I also know it is all too easy to end up in the bottom of the creek bed if you become too hasty and misstep… Patience is our friend here, as we carefully pick our way across—step by calculated step, trusting we will arrive dry on the other side!!! Nothing can be left to chance; the entire sequence must be deliberate.

In grief, I have learned that by patiently waiting on the Lord to place that next stone in front of me, I can proceed with greater certainty of not falling into that most darkest of abysses… Grace by tender grace, He continues to show me the next best thing. In order to avoid slipping off the rock, I am compelled to concentrate on the pathway that leads forward—as opposed to what no longer lies behind me… Grace by grace. Stone to stone, I will get there.

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