There are days that just hurt. Days in which I feel I just can't do this child loss thing one more day. Days that push me to the ground and make me fall to my knees. Days where I think if only there were a rhyme or reason to this messy, ugly grief. How I wish I could wash off my grief-bloodied hands on these days and wipe them clean, make them look like they did before. But before is gone. It will never be again. Before is the past. And I am left with now. Now is what I have been given.
I don't want to miss now. I want to embrace it, for I know how short this life is. I don't want to be so busy mourning what was that I miss what is. I know now, almost four years into this grief journey, that joy comes. It comes softly, quietly. It comes after each hard-fought choice to believe truth, the truth of God's word. It forms each step of the walk out of the valley of the shadow of death. I don't know where those steps lead, but I do know that with every breath of thanksgiving I have uttered the past almost four years, it has created a step out of the valley.
The hurting days are detours, my friend. Detours that, for whatever reason, bring us to a stop, slow us down, or simply reroute us. A detour is seldom welcomed, not always anticipated, and often misunderstood. But God knows. He sees, for He is the master planner. There is not a step we take that He doesn't see. He has a purpose even if we don't discern it. I'm convinced the detour of the hurting days is simply the opportunity God provides for us to come to Him, to step toward His open arms full of grace. The hurting days are an invitation to throw yourself at His feet when grief shoves you to the ground.
I'm never unamazed by the intimacy of God, how He knows me so well. He knows my struggle, my every cry, and every need. As the four year anniversary date of my son's death draws near, each successive day has felt just a bit more heavier. Yet, how reassuring He was through the words of my friend Jennifer this morning: What We Need to Know When Life Takes a Detour. I give thanks for God's presence, His very presence in the midst of the hurting days. For every step through the valley, He walks with me. I am thankful.