Praise You In This Storm

Most of us have faced tragedy. Some more than others. Some have yet to, but likely will in their lifetime. Sometimes I feel as though I have experienced more than my share. Loss, being the primary pain I have suffered through many times over, and continue to cope with daily. The other day I was interviewed for a lovely blog, which posted today. The last question of the interview stopped me in my tracks. I was asked if there was anything else I would like readers to know about me. Hmmm, I thought, here’s my chance, an opportunity to say something hopefully profound. A chance I don’t take often enough, after all, most of you come here for crafty inspiration, not personal or spiritual encouragement. But this week especially, I feel more than compelled to share with you the blessings I have found through personal suffering, so I hope you’ll indulge me this once.

I answered the interview question with this: I think it’s important to acknowledge that it’s by God’s amazing grace that I am able to create the things I do. It’s been an extremely difficult few years for me and crafting & blogging helps me move through tragedy. Having opportunities to share my gifts with others is a blessing of comfort in itself.

If you’ve been a long time follower of my blog you may know that I have had a challenging few years, as on few occasions I have mentioned a thing or two about my life. My sadness began 16 years ago upon the stillbirth of our daughter, Grace. Though I suffered extremely dark months, even years, I was ultimately blessed with 3 amazing and healthy children. Though they are all teenagers right now, I absolutely adore being their mother.

Seven years ago, my beloved, oldest sister died suddenly, to her addictions, at age 40 in Arkansas. Her youngest child, Sarah, was only 5 at the time so Jeff and I welcomed her into our family and adopted her as our own. She is now a beautiful and wonderful 13 year old young lady.

A few years later, my oldest brother also died suddenly of heart failure at his home in Michigan. Then last Thanksgiving, my other brother took his own life in Colorado. It wasn’t until my only surviving sibling, my sister Jennifer, and I came together to make arrangements for him that we ever got to know our young niece, his only child, Ashley.

Last Monday Jeff and I flew Ashley, now 14, to California to visit our family for a week and to meet her 3 cousins. Here’s the problem… we never want to send her home. We’ve grown to love and adore her and I thank God for blessing us with this precious new relationship. (Her visit is primarily why you may have noticed I’ve been slow to post on my blog this week.)

To simply sum it up, I just wanted to encourage those who have faced a loss of any kind, whether a life, a job, an opportunity, a relationship, to look hard every single day for the blessings that God is laying before you, even in death and sorrow. Know that He holds every tear you cry. As time passes, you may be able to see His blessings a bit more clear as they pile up beautifully around you. I can’t change any tragic thing that has happened in my lifetime but I continue to look ahead toward the amazing grace God has laid out in the mysterious path of my life.Here is a video of one of my favorite songs being sung, I hope you’ll listen carefully to these beautiful words of hope by Casting Crowns, Praise You In This Storm.

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