Here's this week's collection links and articles. I hope you have a wonderful weekend!
Grace & Peace,
Content: This Week…
Five Things (On Unexpected Loss)
In Articles (my curated content just for you)
Five Things: On Unexpected Loss
This week began with heartbreaking updates from two close friends of ours. One grieving the sudden loss of her 4 year old niece, the other mourning the unexpected passing of their brother-in-law, who joined the family a mere year earlier.
Sorrow grips tight.
The wind howls outside, covering our home in a blanket of white. School is canceled. Roads start to close. The drive to work on this stormy morning is cautious. I drop prayers for the drivers of abandoned cars in the ditch.
The storm around me parallels the tempest in my soul.
1 Shock brings us to our knees
When tragic news arrives, it feels as though I've swallowed a kettlebell. My gut is heavy and I just want to collapse; a visceral reaction to the blow of news.
I think about Job as the messengers arrive, and arrive again. In his shock, did he keep gazing at the horizon, waiting for one more servant to come...anticipating more terrible news? What else could there be?
Finally, he covered himself in ash and crumpled.
2 Our dependance is revealed
Nothing humbles us more than situations we cannot control. We often give ourselves way more credit than we're due, but the sharp reality of our humanity cuts us to the core in the face tragedy. Thrown into the darkness of chaos our human limits shine bright.
We're accustomed to self-reliance. It's a cultural expectation that we make our own way and solve our own problems. This is a huge leap from the truths of scripture.
We're utterly dependant on God for our existence as, "in him all things hold together" (Col. 1:17) and he, "upholds the universe by the word of his power" (Heb. 1:3). Our bent posture emulates the reality of our position. Yet, he's with us on our knees. Though we're in shock he is our faithful shepherd.
3 Reason doesn't solve the pain
Try as we may to work out the distress and discomfort of emotional pain, we can't expect to 'figure it out' with logic or reason, because "suffering is not an intellectual matter that needs answers." It's both intensely personal and incidentally relational.
Job's friends, upon hearing the news, fell into a heap beside him. They just sat—the blessed ministry of presence. He wasn't ready to talk yet. The fog had only begun to set in. Yet faithful friends were there, taking up a seat next to him. There was space to not be okay, without being told how to feel or what to think.
4 Lament: Our tool to pray
In suffering, I'll be the first to tell you, prayer can be difficult.
The physical exhaustion and emotional turmoil tax our minds and bodies so that in the raging winds of our storm we don't know if we can see straight, but "when it comes to suffering we cannot afford to neglect prayer."
To give us a guide, we consider lament as, "prayer in pain that leads to trust...Lament invites us to take our pain, sorrow, grief, frustration and disillusionment to God." This is how we offer up our burdens to the one who cares for us, by coming to him, believing he's the only one who can bear them up.
5 The Steadfastness of God
In the unrest, we may falter, unsteady in how to 'do' grief and process the emotions (as if there were a recipe to follow). "The act of lament reminds us of two things: what is true and right about God and what is true but wrong about the world." 
In the seasons of my greatest sorrow, when my daughter lay declining in the ICU, on the day it all began, I could breathe out two truths on repeat: God is good and God is faithful. Looking back it seemed mechanic, but reciting core truths held me together.
The Lord remains who he is. He doesn't waver or change. He is the steadfast rock to plant our feet, our refuge in the storm, and our ever present help in times of trouble.
This storm will eventually let up. The winds will slow, the snow will stop. Highways will be plowed, driveways shovelled. Tow trucks will pull the vehicles out. Grief will linger, circulating the days and nights. When our "eyes have grown dim from grief, and my whole body has become but a shadow" (Job 17:7) we have one who "comforts us in all our affliction" (1 Cor 1:3-4) and remains our portion and our strength.
 Ed Welch, Side by Side, p.106
 Joel Beeke, The Radical, Comprehensive Call to Holiness, ch.21
 Mark Vroegop, Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy, p.13
 Taylor Turkingon, Trembling Faith, ch.1
On the Blog
1. Reasons why being titled a saint causes me to itch, and what happens when the journey of sainthood isn't the flawless, obstacle-free, smooth highway we expect? (Thanks be to God for his promises and presence with us.)
2. Things aren't as they should be. We long for the world to be made right and as believers this is our confidence, one day it will. We discover how this yearning transform our faithfulness today.
On my Shelf
I started No Greater Love which is really pressing into a biblical vision of friendship.
Our family began the book of Proverbs. We enjoy this series a lot. We just learned about a sparklemuffin.
But We Did Everything Right: Reflections on Parenting "By the Book" | Katie Polski (Rooted Ministry)
"I entered parenthood intending to do it 'right.'" This captures my own journey fairly well, but as I'm learning and growing, there's also a lot of trusting and humility. I'm thankful for his grace in this sacred responsibility.
I Changed My Mind About Social Media: Why I Decided to Quit | Reagan Rose (Redeeming Productivity)
This really had me thinking about my own social media habits. Currently I don't have any social media notifications on. I'm not posting regularly on Instagram, I scroll through once and a while for reels on BJJ moves. I also occasionally meander Facebook. Is it necessary? Is it helpful? Definitely something to think about.
Can God Reorder Even This? A Story of Preterm Labor | Lara d'Entremont (Risen Motherhood)
Lara shares her story of carrying twins and the disorder of experiencing complications and separation from family, showing us how we can trust God's promises, even then.
Upon This Rock I Stand | Emily Terrell
This poem drew me into a beautiful place of reflection on the steadfastness of God. I hope you read it!
On Failing as a Parent | Shawn Smucker
Okay, back to parenting here for a moment, but I'm just gonna say it's always reassuring to know you're not alone.
Lily in the Desert: The Missionary Example of Lilias Trotter | Kristen Montgomery (The Gospel Coalition)
While the desert sand curled beneath my toes in north Africa, Lilias was not far from my mind. Though her giftedness in art could have provided her a lucrative career, and some may have taken that as a sign of where God would have her, yet she chose to humbly and lovingly serve a people in need of the gospel. Read these insights about her life.
(Skating on our frozen lake)
(This is pretty awesome! Not one, but two cooked chickens. Grateful for this Christmas gift!)
(Looking forward to deepening joy through this study!)
Previously on Mosaic
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1 Year Ago