A Story of Grief and Promise

grief and promise 2

Our lives are a story that is read one chapter at a time.  Each chapter is different. One chapter may not go as we would like, yet the outcome is exactly what we wanted. The outcome of another may not be what we wanted, but the Lord is still able to bring something beautiful out of the disappointment. Then there are the chapters that are just plain messy. We live in a broken world and every circumstance does not work out in the way we would want. No matter the situation, what matters most is that we cling to the promise of God’s presence in our lives.This past summer, our extended family had four high school graduates moving on to college. One of them was my cousin Colin. He was the youngest in the line of kids on my mom’s side, and by far the sweetest. There was no amount of affection that could appease him as a little boy. On a Sunday this summer, he and his father drove down from Ohio so we could throw him a graduation party. It was a family gathering centered on celebrating Colin. At the end, I gave him a hug and kiss goodbye saying congratulations and that  I would see him soon! Monday evening I was in my kitchen cutting some veggies and I got a group text from my aunt to my family. “Colin has been in an accident. He fell in a quarry. He’s in surgery now, that’s all I know.” Nobody knew anything. Twenty minutes went by and I didn’t hear a thing, so I called my aunt. She answered on the first ring and screamed, “NICOLE! WE LOST HIM!”

This chapter in my story is a mess. It ended tragically and I don’t know if I’ll ever see good come from my 18 year old cousin’s sudden death. That being said, through this tragedy, I had no other option but to search for the Lord and His presence found me.

“‘Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,’ says the Lord, who has compassion on you.” Isaiah 54:10 (NIV)

One week after sweet Colin’s passing, the grief was still overwhelming.  I felt off. I was tired, moodier than usual, and four days late. My husband and I had been trying for two and a half years to have a baby to no avail. It was something I had to give to the Lord, because I lived with this consuming fear that it would never happen and that robbed me of so much joy. I decided in that moment to take a pregnancy test, knowing that it would be negative. It was positive. One week after the baby in our family had tragically died, I found out new life was coming to our family through me.

On the morning of my cousin’s death, the Lord had my aunt read this passage from the devotional of Jesus Calling:

I am involved in each moment of your life. I have carefully mapped out every inch of your journey through this day, even though much of it may feel haphazard. Because the world is in a fallen condition, things always seem to be unraveling around the edges. Trust that My way is perfect, even in the midst of such messy imperfection.

As you trudge through the sludge of this fallen world, keep your mind in heavenly places with Me. Thus the Light of My Presence shines on you, giving you Peace and Joy that circumstances cannot touch.

As you “trudge through the sludge of this fallen world,” remember that the Lord is still writing your story. He’s not done yet. You didn’t just end up with a raw deal. That’s not the end of your story. You’ve been through so much hurt, but through that hurt, God wants to show you how loved you truly are. He may be molding your heart through this hurt, so that you can fully accept and realize the magnitude of His love for You.


Nicole is a graphic designer living in the 'burbs of Northern VA, where she and her family lead the NCC Gainesville campus. She does life with her husband Robb, and their three boys Noah (18 and in college), Sam (16), and Bert (1 month).