Grieving with Hope

 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things 
- 1 Corinthians 13:7 -

Not knowing how to grieve is hard. 

We were out at the ministry site the other day and my husband was looking out over a large piece of the land,  pointing out all the possibilities for it. My three and half year old son sitting up high on his shoulders. He was looking out over all the bush and sharing the vision for the land. 

And I thought to myself. This is a beautiful picture of my family. 
And then my chest began to tighten. And a little face flashed before my eyes. 


But he's no longer in the picture. 
We had hope that little babe would become part of our family. 
From day one of the fourteen days he was with us, we hoped to be his parents. 
We embraced the possibility of another son without hesitation despite the unknowns.

He was wanted. He was delighted in. He was hopefully going to be ours. 
But I didn't get the chance to be his mom. 
And I'm left not really knowing how to grieve that loss. 

The loss of a son.
The loss of parenting that son. 
The loss of a son we didn't even get to know. 
The loss of a son who most likely won't know us.

He won't know how much we wanted him. How much we fought for him. How much we prayed for him. Or how much pain we have felt since the day he left us. 

We named him.
We held him.
We dedicated him.
And then we lost him to a broken system.

He lives about 6 minutes from our home, in an orphanage and without a family to call his own. He is legally prevented from being ours. We still don't have any answers. And perhaps we never will. We had prayed. We had hoped. We had trusted that God would bring beauty out of a messy situation. 

And perhaps He has.

Perhaps we just don't see it. We aren't up high enough to see what's ahead. To see all that's coming. To see the beauty in the mess unfolding. We don't see the vision God has for us and for him. 

And so, I'm remain stuck. I'm in a place where I'm not even sure how to grieve. In my heart I wanted nothing more than to be his mom. But I wasn't. He wasn't mine by blood and he wasn't mine by adoption. It's a painful place to grieve from. 

I've been encouraged that God will bring us another child.
And I will be so thankful for that, if God does.

But also, I wanted him. I wanted Malachi. 

I wanted that boy who won't know me. 
He won't know that he is prayed for. 
He won't know my touch. 
He won't know my kiss. 
He won't know my love.

I'm certain of this, the pain is deep. 
And I'm certain of this, God calls us to love regardless of the cost.

1 Corinthians 13:7 says, "Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things." 

1. Love bears all things: to "bear" means to support or carry the weight of something.
I choose to rest in this place of grief and allow myself to carry the loss within my heart. It's a part of our story. It's a part of his story. Maybe one day, our stories will intertwine once again. Maybe one day, they won't. I will carry that and trust God to help me.

2. Love believes all things: to "believe" means to accept something as true, especially without proof. I choose to rest in the sure fact that God is so very good, despite how I wish the situation had turned out. He knows. His ways are not my ways. 

3. Love hopes all things: to "hope" is a feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen. I choose to rest in the expectant hope that God has a vision for our little family, bigger than our own. He sees beauty even in this deep pain.

4. Love endures all things: to "suffer" (something painful or difficult) patiently. I choose to rest as I wait in this place of the pain I'm left with and the joy that will come. It's a hard place to be without answers, but I am not without hope. 

I watched him cry behind the glass of the maternity wing.
And I spoke life over him in the sleepless nights.  
I prayed hope over his desperate situation. 
I snuggled him close into my chest and I held him tight.

I loved him as if he was mine from the first day. 

That's what I was asked to do. 
That's what I said "yes" to. 
There were no guarantees.
I loved despite the uncertainties.
And I don't regret any of it. 

So, I will continue to grieve his loss within our family.
And I will also hope for the child who will one day be ours.

Love is painful. And also, love is so very sweet.

Can you carry a heavy heart and believe the Lord is working for the good of you? 
Can you praise him even when your heart is breaking?

Love says you can. 

* Linking up with Velvet Ashes on the theme: children.


  1. Thank-you for sharing from this deeply vulnerable place Janessa. Yes, love isn't always pretty, it's often messy, always necessary. So thankful for our God who meets us in that place and moves with us there. 💙


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