Thursday, April 28, 2011


Because so many people ask me how I’m doing, I decided that the quickest way to answer is to write some thoughts down and share it with everyone at once. Many people have told me how amazing and strong I am. I’m not. I’m completely human. I have my moments of grief, anger, frustration, loneliness, and what feels like every emotion under the sun. Any good that is visible in me is due entirely to Jesus Christ. “But by the grace of God, I am what I am.” (1 Cor:15:10)
The honest fact is, it’s been a long and hard month. I know about grief. I knew this wasn’t going to be easy. What I didn’t expect was the unpredictableness of my emotions. The littlest things can trigger memories and make me either want to laugh or to cry. Sometimes both! I have had good days…and awful days. There have been moments when I’m hurting so badly, I can only cry out, “Oh God, help! Please show me you care. I need to see your love somehow…to know you’re there.” And there have been some particular instances this month where God has revealed himself to me in a special way…and just when I needed it the most.
Earlier last week there was one of those gray, rainy days when it seems like spring will never come. The clouds made everything so dreary, and I was more than happy to spend the day inside. As I sat there reading, the doorbell rang. That was enough to trigger memories of the visits Greg made to our house. Every time he came, I’d be waiting in anxious anticipation, so excited I could hardly hold still. The moment his black convertible would pull up, I’d be out the door and launching myself into his arms before he was barely out of the car.
I smiled at the uninhibited joy contained in those memories. And then the tears started falling. I wrapped Greg’s fleece Cardinals blanket around me and hugged it tight as I cried. And once more, I whispered, “Oh Lord…I miss my Greg so much! I miss that love. I just want a hug from him…I want him to hold me so badly…”
A little later, I decided to go for a walk since the rain had let up. I hadn’t been gone long when the skies opened up and it began to rain again. Ducking under the overhang of one of the buildings downtown, I sat down to wait it out. The loneliness washed over me. Everything was so dark. So dreary. So cold. Then all of a sudden, the sun pierced the clouds, and a beautiful rainbow appeared directly in front of me, followed by a second one, directly over the first! Two perfect, shimmering arcs of brilliant light. As my artist’s eye rejoiced in the gorgeous colors, I thought, “Oh Lord, that’s beautiful!”
That’s when I heard that quiet, gentle voice inside, “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” (Jeremiah 31:3) With those soft words echoing in my heart and two vibrant rainbows - symbols of hope and promise- shining in front of me, I could almost tangibly feel the presence of God. His arms reaching down to hold me. His love filling my soul with peace. And I smiled. No, I grinned. There’s a difference. Looking back at the pictures of Greg and I together, the joy is obvious in the ear-splitting grin that stretches my face, and in the life and love sparkling in my eyes. After Greg died, I have smiled at people, but it feels fake…and lackluster. But that evening after I got back from my walk, I looked in the mirror and saw the smile there - the evidence of Christ’s love - and this time…it reached my eyes.
I’ve come to learn that if I’m willing to listen and pay attention, God will often speak the most clearly during the deepest struggles of life.
One last thing I wanted to share was a dream I had the other night. In the dream I saw two fields in front of me. The ground in both was broken up and the seeds had been sown. Both looked nearly identical except that over one field, the sun shone brightly. And the ground….was dry. Hard. Lifeless. Dark clouds brooded over the second field, and the earth was soaked with rain. Superimposed over that field, I began to see a faint picture of what was to come. It wasn’t there yet, still a long way off. But in the field that had the rain…a bountiful harvest would grow. I could see it.

I awoke with that image burned into my mind, and lay there thinking for a while. So many of us wish we had it easier, but when we are broken, God can plant the seeds much more easily. I’m sure there are others, like me, who have been broken and yet endure more pain. we think, “God, isn’t that enough? It’s not fair! I want some sunshine now. I’m tired of the darkness…the clouds.” But the ground that was broken and then received the rain produced a fruitful reward in the end.
We often can’t see what’s coming ahead. We don’t know the end result. Only God knows that what we are going through right now will be used for good. Only Jesus can take agonizing pain and heart-rending situations and turn them into something beautiful.
I am humbled to know that God has chosen to use me in this way. It doesn’t completely remove the pain and loneliness of losing my beloved, but it does give me hope. My prayer is that God will use this broken ground - me, in all my frailties and imperfections - to bring honor to His name.

If you’re struggling through something right now, I hope this will encourage you as well. Hold fast, press on, do not lose heart. The rainbow comes after the storm. Even if you can’t see them right now, blue skies and sunshine are just on the other side of those dark clouds. God will not leave you, nor forsake you. He loves you with an everlasting love.

In brokenness lies beauty.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


(To read the things I shared at Greg's funeral, click on the title of this post, "Love".)
Greg Wallace

December 31, 1975 - March 3, 2011

Until we meet again...I miss you, my Greg.