Spinning Beauty from Bitterness

We go out to dinner, because we already had the babysitter lined up and the boys are at my parents’ house for the weekend and we both feel like maybe we should get out of the house. Our conversation spins quietly from the silly to the serious. I point out the busboy who behaves like a zombie. I complain about the draft blowing on me. He says he likes my shoes. We try to decide when to tell the boys that their youngest sibling is gone. We sit in silence.

He eats salad doused in French dressing and says how good it is that the boys are gone for the weekend, how much simpler it makes things right now. I know he’s right, but I resist.

I do not want to be thankful right now.

When we lost Elijah three years ago, I survived that grievous loss without bitterness or anger or questioning my faith. In the midst of it I knew He was there.

When Art was in a crash last month, I was able to look at the silver lining and give thanks that no one was hurt, that we had enough money coming from our tax refund to make up the difference between what the insurance company would give us and what a new vehicle would actually cost.

But now– now I don’t want to look on the bright side. I don’t want to have to look on the bright side. It seems like maybe every now and then when “everything comes together” it would be nice for it to all come together for something good.

I spin from quiet shock to feeling almost normal to anger to grief. And I start to feel dizzy and sick with the spinning.

He promises rest, right? Rest for the weary, for the brokenhearted, for the ones bowed and crushed with the weight of this world of death.

I do not want to become bitter. If this grievous season is going to change me, if I must endure the pain, I would like to come through it with beauty, not ugliness.

We finish our meals, pay the bill, walk hand in hand to the van. We need a few things from the store, so we stop at Target and wander around for awhile. I tell him I want to look in the stationery aisle, and he looks at electronics while I browse journals. I have been meaning to pick one up for about a week now.

She says that gratitude will combat bitterness, will give me new eyes, will help me to accept every moment as a gift of beauty. So I bring this journal home and I make up my mind, no matter what my heart says, to be thankful, and to begin the counting of gifts.

I open the blue book to the first page, and I write.

1. Our hands, interlocked.
2. Laughter in spite of pain.
3. Tall glasses filled with cold water.
4. Gentle words from people who love us.
5. Silver linings, always silver linings.

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16 thoughts on “Spinning Beauty from Bitterness

  1. It’s okay to grieve. God made us that way. Remember that Jesus wept for Lazarus, even though he knew he would raise him from the dead. Praying that God will wrap his arms around you and comfort you tonight.
    Just remember, when you are discouraged, to cling to God’s promises. Thinking about you and praying for you…

  2. Erin, I am so sorry about your baby, who wasn’t merely ‘a fetus’. I didn’t know until just now. Comfort and empathy is what I pray you’ll be slathered with at the moment. Our arms are around you. Every tear is caught in a bottle. They are. Hugs, kisses, whisker rubs, warm blankies and tea…..

    Thank you for sharing these precious heart words.

  3. I made it almost to the end without crying. Almost.

    Gratitude is a powerful way through. I believe that and then some. But remember, it’s okay to bring your anger, your loss, confusion, heartbreak to Him. It’s okay to yell and shake fists. It’s okay to sob and ask why. It’s okay to scream and cry and then give thanks, all in one breath, all to the God who gives and takes away.

  4. Erin… you’ve been on my mind since I read your news last night. And this? This is such a true trial and testament to His love and grace. Through thanks, and sometimes we have to work through our anger and frustration and mad before we can get to the thanks (and that’s OK!) we can live again.
    xoxo

  5. as i scrolled down through the comments with tears in my eyes, i saw jo’s comment and smiled. me, too. and the rest of what she wrote? will you please read it again? because i was going to say just about the same thing. so often i hold onto my anger/grief/frustration longer than i want, knowing if i just handed it over, He would trade it for peace. but the anger keeps me going, keeps me standing. the tears are my breath when i just can’t breathe. i believe He allows it, knowing that as long as we are in His hand, those things cannot destroy us. and when we are ready to accept His gift, He gives it over without even a stern glance. xoxoxo

  6. so so sorry.

    sad for your loss friend.

    trusting in his mysterious ways for you.

    praying for grace upon grace, his strength in weakness, mercy magnified, love lavished, needs provided, for walking by faith not by sight, for his glory, always his glory.

    continue to praise him. get in those gates!

    wrapping my arms around you in prayer.

  7. I didn’t even know I could come out of the pain with bitterness when it began for me. You… your heart is so fragile, so strong.

    Praying with you, holding you near to my heart.

  8. Shedding tears for you, Erin. Praying that you will find help and strength in the LORD the God of all comfort today.
    With love and hugs,
    Marisa

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