My family of five looks much different than I had envisioned.
Instead of two parents holding hands of three little ones, my husband and I hold the hands of just one child. In the last few months, two of our children were promoted to heaven before their birthday arrived.
This week has been one of the most difficult I have ever experienced. The same week we had thought we would be welcoming our second child, we instead said goodby to our third. We made the trip to the hospital, but instead of checking in to the “Family Birthing Suites” to prepare to meet our second child, we registered in the short procedure unit for surgery to complete a missed miscarriage of our third child – our second lost baby in six months.
My gut reaction has been to crave escape – preferably by either retreating to bed for a long-term stay under the covers or by traveling somewhere where the sun is shining bright enough to make me forget for a few moments. Yeah… really mature and spiritual, I know.
But camping out under the covers isn’t actually an option, and I have no magic carpet to whisk me away to a problem-free beach.
I have to face it.
Face the pain and the empty spaces and the quiet moments and the every-minute reminders and the responsibilities and the mundane and the dreaded return to “normal” – without all of my little ones.
God has held me. When we lost our first baby, I could all-but-physically feel His presence and hands enveloping me. This time, I don’t feel Him.
So I’m grateful that truth is not dependent on my feelings. This time, I’ve had to search for His truth and His promises and force myself to meditate on them to let truth rise above my fleeting feelings of the moment.
His truth allows me to be brave enough to set my feet out of bed and face to dishes and casual conversations and job duties and everything that seems to pale in comparison as my heart is continually screaming out for my two lost loves.
What sustains me when I can’t feel God’s presence? Words.
I write. I’m a word lover. So it comes as no big surprise that words help heal me.
But these Words help me… not because they are pretty, little, encouraging sayings and optimistically empowering phrases… but because they have Foundations under them. They are life-giving… even if it’s just to revive me to do “normal” life again… The power behind these Words is their Author, Who is Truth and Life and Peace personified.
So here is my collection of words-that-are-so-much-more-than-just-words that encourage me – no, that sustain and strengthen me – when feelings fail.
I hope you find Life in them.
Words that Make a Difference in Difficult Times:
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
“God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
Hebrews 13: 5
“For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.”
“Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.”
“Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.”
“I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber.”
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
“When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Your consolations delight my soul. The Lord has been my stronghold, and my God the rock of my refuge.”
Psalm 94:19 & 22
“Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; And His greatness is unsearchable.”
“Know that the Lord, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.”
“And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.””
II Corinthians 12:9
“O Lord, you have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; you understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.”
“The LORD comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.”
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
1 Peter 5:7
“Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.”
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.”
“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.”
“For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; In the secret place of His tabernacle, He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock. I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!”
Psalm 27: 5,13-14
“Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand.”
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.”
“For he has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, and he has not hidden his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him.”
“Weeping endures for a night but joy comes in the morning.”
“Hear my cry, O God; give heed to my prayer. From the end of the earth I call to You when my heart is faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For You have been a refuge for me, a tower of strength against the enemy. Let me dwell in Your tent forever; Let me take refuge in the shelter of Your wings.”
“I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.”