365 days ago, we received the news that changed our lives forever.
365 days ago, we were forced into the darkness of grief and all of its unknowns.
365 days ago, we forgot what a good night’s sleep was because our reality was a nightmare.
365 days ago, we literally had no idea how to press on.
365 days ago, my precious baby cousins lost their mama.
365 days ago, we learned what it means to truly cling to Jesus. to be desperate for Him. to know in the very depths of your being that without Him, you could not move forward.

my heart is pounding as I write this because the emotions I feel today are the same emotions I felt then. sometimes, I think, outsiders forget that grief does not pack a few bags and stay until the chaos subsides; grief moves in. and let me tell you, he is not a good roommate. he takes over every single nook and cranny until you’re unsure of what was yours in the first place and what will ever be again. watching grief move into innocent little hearts is the hardest thing I have ever had to do.

the sleepovers that will ultimately result in crying themselves to sleep. the daily faces of sadness at the slightest reminder of their mom. the inability to sleep without tv or some other distraction to keep their minds from wandering to that place. the hiding in their room, clinging to her clothing, and sobbing until someone hears them and comes to distract them from their heartache. this has been our year, folks. I’m not sugar-coating it. this is the truth, and it really freaking sucks.

I so wish I could say that through it all, God revealed some spectacular reason why all of this had to happen. I mean, everything is a part of His infinite plan, right? I can’t even begin to count the number of times I have heard those words over the past year. but they’re just not true.

the Bible never said that everything that happens to us is a part of God’s plan. in fact, it says just the opposite. suffering happens because sin happened. we live in a broken, messed up world. sin rules human hearts and the consequences are brutal. to say that God planned this kind of suffering is like a slap in the face.

God allows suffering, but He doesn’t create it.

He knew that Tianna was coming to live with Him that day, but He didn’t force the hand that killed her.

romans 8:28 says, ‘and we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose for them.’
causing everything is not the same as causing everything to work together. I can assure you, I wouldn’t be worshipping a God who caused something like this. the truth is, God does not have a wonderful plan for my life. or yours, for that matter.

and for those of you who think I’m crazy, here’s a challenge for you: what are you going to do when tragedy strikes?

one of the most common reactions is to think that you did something wrong to bring the suffering upon yourself. if you’re believing that Jesus has a wonderful plan for your life, and that the strength of your faith in Him is what is keeping all of your problems away, what other conclusion could you draw when the problems come?

the issue is that the problems are never going to stop coming. this life is one bucket of misery after another until you’re drenched in suffering with no way out if you’re believing that God brought all of it upon you. this kind of thinking is infecting the minds of so many people who currently call themselves Christians, and the ultimate result is a tainted view of God or a decision that there’s no possible way He existed in the first place.

thankfully, there is hope.

God not having a wonderful plan for your life doesn’t mean there’s no plan. it just means the plan isn’t for you to live a 100% wonderful existence. our lives here on earth will be difficult, exasperating, sometimes almost unbearable, often interspersed with lots of great times, incredible experiences, and full of love. all of these things- the good, the bad, and the ugly- bring glory to Him. that is His ultimate plan: that He would be glorified. but in order for that to happen, we have to look to Him in trust, anticipating that His infinite creativity can weave both bad things and good into a lovely design.

micah 7:7 says, ‘but me, I’m not giving up. I’m sticking around to see what God will do. I’m waiting for God to make things right. I’m counting on God to listen to me.’

after the past year of life, this is my anthem. God didn’t plan for this to happen, but He is continuing to bring us through it, and I know, without a shadow of a doubt, something good will come out of it. He sees, He cares, He knows, and, yes, His will reigns supreme.

‘to all who mourn in Israel, He will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. in their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for His own glory.’ /isaiah 61:3

do you believe it? if so, declare it! join me in shouting from the rooftops that He is who He says He is, and He will do what He says He will do. let’s begin a movement of trust in Jesus that is untouched by earthly circumstances. let’s show the world that we believe that God can take our brokenness and turn it into something beautiful.