of doubt, anger, and sadness.

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I will never understand people who say they have never doubted God–his goodness, his plan, his existence. Or, those who have said they’ve never directed even a hint of anger toward him. Are they being honest? Is it possible as a human to not feel such emotions at some point in our faith journey?

If what they say is true, perhaps their faith is greater than mine in moments of heartache.

My heart has been hurting a great deal this week as our closest friends here in Denver lost their baby boy. Two people who love Jesus and have followed him in obedience. The past several months we had with them and their baby on the way are moments I will forever cherish and celebrate.

But now we are mourning for them in a way that is almost paralyzing. I have doubted. I have been angry. I have wept for my sweet friends. I have been asking God what good could possibly come from such a devastating loss. And what good could it do for two people who have been so faithful?

I don’t suppose to understand the fullness of their pain, nor do I assume my grief mirrors theirs. As doubtful and angry as I feel, I am mostly sad for my friends. I wish we could press rewind or wake up from this dream–this nightmare.

This is not how these things are supposed to go.

But since the reality of this situation is upon us, we must decide what to do. We must decide where we will seek strength. We must decide what we will do with our doubt, anger, and sadness. Will we sit in it? Will we surrender it to the Lord? Will we trust that these emotions do not surprise him? Do we know that he can handle the spectrum of our emotions?

Do I trust that God fully meets my friends in the depth of their pain?

I have more questions–many of which may remain unanswered on this side of heaven. They are questions of the purpose, reason, and explanation of this tragedy. They are questions that scare me because some believe they aren’t appropriate. But if these questions are wrong to ask, would God be as powerful as we claim?

For the sake of my friends, I choose to believe that God can handle these questions. I choose to believe he loves my friends. I choose to believe he loves their sweet boy. I choose to believe he sees every tear they shed and anticipates how he will care for them in the weeks and months to come. I choose to have hope. Although doubt is pounding loudly in my heart, I choose to believe with my mind that we will see God’s goodness reveal itself in this tragedy. I choose to believe, along with my friends, that the verse from which they derived their son’s name is true of him today, tomorrow, and forever.

“They will be called Oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.”
Isaiah 61:3

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seasons.

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We all experience seasons. Seasons of joy. Seasons of growth. Seasons of loneliness.

Whether distinct or fluid, these seasons begin to define we how reflect back on a given time of life. As of last week, Grant and I just wrapped up our first year of seminary–a season complete. Yet, it is a season not so easily defined.

In many ways, this has been a season of loneliness. We’ve made new friends who have been a joy and reconnected with old friends who have now become like family. But this place is still new. Roads still unfamiliar; people still undiscovered. We love our home by the mountains, but it’s still becoming ours. When I face west, my heart is warmed as I consider the ways in which God has been faithful to us here. Yet, I am still saddened by the loss of past communities we miss so dearly.

This has been a season of learning. And yes, I mean academically. We have been stretched in our capacity to retain information. Visions of blue book tests and research papers haunt our sleep. Fingers crossed that the gobs of content we’ve learned this year somehow sticks in our minds and becomes useful in the future.

By the sheer number of wedding invites we have on our refrigerator door (with more to come!), you would assume it was the summer after college. Christian college students: they can’t be stopped once they walk across that graduation stage. These future dates remind me that we have been in a season of celebration for our friends.

As of the past few days, I’m reminded of how this has been a season of comfort in the midst of grief. Some dear friends of ours out here are mourning the recent loss of their sweet baby boy. We hurt deeply with them. But in the pain, we have found comfort in confirmations of God’s presence. We celebrate the life this precious boy lived within his beautiful momma and the promise of an eternal reunion. We serve a God who loves us so.

This season has been confusing. I have cried in anger toward the Lord for situations that seem unfair–both for myself and others. I’ve spent nights laughing for hours with friends about everything and nothing. I have wrestled with anxiety and sadness and loneliness. I’ve praised God for bringing us to Denver and turned around the next day asking why we’re here. It’s been a season I’ve struggled to hear the voice of God. While I see the prayers of others being answered in this season, I wonder if God has passed me by.

This is real talk, friends. As we continue to reflect on this season and seek to define it, I ask for prayer. For us, for our dear friends who are hurting, and for our future here in Denver. I’m trusting God will continue to reveal our purpose and provide comfort.

Seasons are not always so easily defined. But I am trying to rest in the knowledge that God hears and sees us the same in each of them.