About the Author

Jennifer is an artist living in rural Nebraska with her US Army veteran husband. She loves to create and seeks to reflect the beauty of Christ and encourage others in meaningful, beautiful ways. You can find her and see more of her art on Studio JRU.

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  1. Jennifer,
    The Lord was my rock and my refuge when my father passed away suddenly from a heart attack. I am an only child so I was the sole support for my mom. At the same time I was going through a very difficult divorce, my son was rebelling and my precious dog died. I felt like I couldn’t breathe. But God in His graciousness gave me a strength that I know was only from Him. I may never be able to answer “why” all that at once, but I trust that God has written my story and He is there in every detail of it. My prayers go out to you at this difficult time! Thanks for sharing a testimony of God’s faithfulness.
    Blessings,
    Bev

  2. September is also that month for me. Bonnie Colleen – a baby girl, our third daughter who only lived a couple days. She would be 21 in a few days. I can’t wait to see her in heaven! God did move us from heartbreak to healing and I do walk in the joy of the Lord, He is our path through and beyond pain and He is definitely the strength of my heart!

    I am posting a special series of devotions of hope and encouragement at In Quiet Places this month called “Where Do Tears Go” Here is the intro link:

    http://www.kathycheek.com/2013/09/where-do-tears-go-intro.html

    • Praying for you as that day arrives this month, Kathy. Wonderful to hear how He can move you from heartbreak to healing! Your series sounds great, I will check that out. Thanks for sharing!

  3. There was a very dark time in my late teens/early twenties where I was frustrated with my life, but knew I was destined for more. God was there, even if in my immaturity, I didn’t know to seek him. Standing on the other side of what was several years of struggling with depression,anxiety,substances,toxic relationships and general inner turmoil, I thank God for his grace and strength to have pulled me out of the mess I was making for myself. Thank you Lord!

    • Yes! Once on the other side we can often see just how His grace and strength got us through. Beautiful to hear you knew you were destined for more! Thanks so much for sharing, Jessica Ann!

  4. Four months out of the year hold days like that our family. A missing father, a missing brother, and two sisters—instead of here with us, delighting in the presence of the Lord. But as hard as those memories are, even Dad dying when I was just 7, they don’t compare to the throbbing pain of a spouse who has abandoned me.
    My God has become ‘Abba,’ the One who loves me with such tender care. I need him every moment.

  5. August is “that month” for me and my siblings. Not gonna lie…wasn’t sad to turn the page on the calendar and welcome September. Even tho we are all older and have families of our own, we’ve missed our Mom every day of the past 15 years. She left an amazing legacy of family and faith for us. We are so thankful for the HOPE that is Christ, and know that we will see her again…and that knowledge is what gets us thru the hard days.

    • I am glad ‘that month’ is over for you, Marty. What a gift, to leave her family with such an amazing legacy of family and faith! And you say it so well… the knowledge of that HOPE. Yes! Thank you so much for sharing.

  6. I lost a stillborn daughter at nearly 35 weeks pregnant. It was so difficult, but God wrapped me in His loving arms and strength. He is all we need for every situation.
    This is a lovely post. God bless you!

  7. This verse carried me through the last time when my husband struggled (again) with anxiety attacks and depression. So thankful for God’s word. I could not be the breadwinner for our family of four (two little ones age 2 and 4) and make it through these recurring days/weeks of struggle without Him.

  8. This coming October will be 24 years since my son left for school, a healthy 13-year-old, and five hours later he was gone. While on a field trip, an accident took his life. Whether it’s been hours or years, as we all know, their memory is only a second away from us at any given time. God truly is the “God of all comfort” and, as I continue my earthly journey, His promises remind me that my son and I will be together again.

    Thank you for comforting others…as you have been comforted! (2 Cor. 1:3-4)

    • Bonnie, I am so sorry to hear about your precious boy. You are exactly right, their memory is just a second away at any time. So grateful you find comfort in His promises like you do. It’s a beautiful thing! 2 Cor. 1:3-4… oh how I also love that verse, and you comfort others by sharing your story too. Thank you!

  9. When my son (now 18) was 4, and my daughters were 6 and 7, my Christian husband of 15 years, walked out. I had two stillborn, full term babies, and 3 additional miscarriages, and he couldn’t take the pain. After numerous affairs, he left us. Alone. Sad. Homeschoolers. Unemployed mom. In 2010, my Christian boyfriend of 3 years, walked out. I had been diagnosed with cancer, and he couldn’t take the pain. sigh. Just thinking of these things, makes me cry. Still sad so often. And lonely. But…….through it all, my children and I have relied upon the Lord. He has seen us through. My son is a senior in High School, and my daughters are Juniors and Seniors in College, all living for the Lord; all of whom will hear, “well done, good and faithful servant,” on the last day. We are all still broken, lonely and sad, and have learned to compensate. We are all guarded from Christians, serving the Lord, but sad. All are peaceful. My daughter is extremely ill. Deals daily with much, much pain. But through it all, we are peaceful. Sad? Yes. Lonely? Yes. Discouraged and disheartened? Yes. Peaceful? Yes. sigh.

    We still deal with a LOT of illness, long term afflictions, without family around. The community of believers is not very supportive, as they are busy. I have taught the LifeGroup “Captivating” for many years, and beginning this month, I will be teaching/hostessing the (in) RL, “getting to the nitty gritty of community,” with the hope of comforting many, including my family.

    Thank you.

    • My heart aches for you, Shari, to hear what you have gone through on your journey. And then I hear you say you and your children have relied on Him and He has seen you through… and my heart is grateful, grateful you find peace through Him. I had just posted that “well done, good and faithful servant” verse on my facebook page this weekend. I think it such an amazing verse to strive for! Oh to hear those words!! You and your family will be in my prayers, praying for that sadness to dissipate and for joy to replace it. Thank you so much for sharing!

    • Shari,

      I was saddened & disheartened to hear of your journey. Prayers for your healing after all you’ve been through. May God bless you richly this year and do an amazing thing for your family.

      Blessed Lord,

      Please bless Shari and her family. They have been through so much in the past 14 years. Shower them with your grace & love. Help Shari to make friends in the In(Courage) community she is hosting. Bring a few close women to her side that she can confide in and talk with. Bless them this year with something amazing that only you can do!

      AMEN! God Bless!

  10. My sister’s baby boy died at 13 days old from a serious heart defect- HLHS. When he was in the NICU waiting for the surgery that we had hoped would save him my brother-in-law found this verse and it became baby Gideon’s life verse. I know for all of us, certain things will trigger a memory from those 13 days we had with him. That little baby touched so many lives in his short time here…

    • It is amazing how lives can be touched in such a short time, by such a tiny baby. It is all Him! I am so sorry for the loss your family has gone through. What beautiful words to become baby Gideon’s life verse. Praying when those memories come up, that He will comfort you. Thank you for sharing, Lindsay!

  11. About twenty-one years ago we lost our third child while living in Germany and my husband was at Desert Storm. She was a full term stillborn baby girl, precious and whole. A true gift from God. We named her well before we knew she would die before entering the world. Her name is Charis which means “grace” in Greek. The wound and now scar our loss left on my heart continues to hurt still today. The way that those close to me abandoned me at the time, hurts still as well. They just did not know what to do or what to say. My heart is still broken and I need healing so that God can take down the wall of hurt in my life so that I can love Him more and also those who have hurt me during my grief.

    • I am so sorry for your loss and your pain, Diane. I am so sorry those close to you did not know how to give you the support you needed. I would image that hurt Him too, that His love wasn’t given to you through them. I want to reach through the screen and give you a big hug. I pray that your heart will be healed. I pray He will give you the love, support and healing that you are longing for. Only He can. Charis… what a precious and beautiful name.

  12. This was such a great word this morning–a wonderful reminder to the soul of where our strength comes from.

    I lost lost a baby through miscarraige in 2009. I so appreciate that you asked us to share because I want my baby to be remembered. I don’t often speak of it, but just need, at times, to share. There is nothing easy about it and I still struggle and don’t understand. But I know that God is good.

    Thank you for writing and this opportunity.

    • I am so sorry for your loss. I am so happy to hear you still know that God is good, even though it is hard and a struggle. That is strength, Katy, you are strong! I understand things are hard to speak of often, but sometimes you just need to share. I am so grateful that you shared with us.

  13. Thank you so much for writing what my heart feels. May is the month for me. My Ashley Renee’ was full term stillbirth just a few days after Mother’s Day in 1980. Although the pain is not as fresh, it never goes away. I too wonder ‘what if’, but I know the Lord was and still is in control and knows what is best in our lives. I anxiously await getting to see her in heaven sitting at the feet of Jesus.

    • What a day that will be, won’t it, Denise?! I am so sorry for your loss. It takes strength to know He is in control of these things we just can’t understand. Remembering you and Ashley Renee in my prayers.

  14. Dear Jennifer:

    Thank you for sharing this story. I felt your pain. I lost a baby back in May this year in an early miscarriage. I am still learning to process this fact in a very personal tender way as I MISS this baby so much. But I know God knows our pain and our struggle. He cares about each of us in unique ways. And He heals in manners we can never understand.

    Thanks again and Blessings to you and yours,

    Lya

    • So sorry for your loss, Lya. It is just astounding to know that He knows us so intimately and heals in ways we don’t understand. Praying for this tender healing for you. Thank you for sharing with us.

  15. This month my brother would have been 71. He was killed by a car hitting him in a crosswalk this past December. Christmas will never be the same without him. I feel an emptiness in my heart when I think of him. He was a Christian but had Type 1 Diabetes for over 50 years. In a sense he is released from his suffering but he always had his focus on enjoying each day with walking, reading and writing. Only with God’s strength can I focus on God’s mercy and grace. My brother is now in a better place, in perfect health and enjoying God’s presence.

    • I am so sorry for the tragic loss of your brother, Kathy. It is through His strength that we are able to focus on His mercy and grace during these times. What strength He has given you! I pray that He fills that emptiness as only He can.

  16. Oh sweet Jennifer. I’ve missed your tender spirit. Your unique style of gentleness. I like this verse a lot right now too. My Mom went through as a little girl what you did and at 95, still will mention her sister who looked so beautiful but passed away on the third day. A fierce storm kept the doctor away. But it was a part of my life. To know that someone can love a baby sister and miss them and what could have been so today, I prayed for you Jennifer, and even for Mom to feel the Joy of The Lord as strength. Today? I’m very tired. Weak.

    • It really never goes away, after all those years, the love of a sibling. What a beautiful thing. Thank you for your prayers. I am sorry to hear you are weak… thank you so much for taking the time to share this story of love with us, Gwen!

  17. 26 years ago when I was 20 and my beloved brother was 22, we lost him to suicide. I will miss him forever. He was my best friend in all the world and his loss was devastating. By Gods grace I have found my way around the empty place where he should be, but the grief if losing him is never far away.

    • Oh Michele, I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I can only imagine how devastating that was. Something that God can only get you through. His grace for you to find your way around is a precious thing. Thank you for sharing your story with us. Praying His grace continues to comfort and heal.

  18. 26 years ago when I was 20 and my beloved brother was 22, we lost him to suicide. I will miss him forever. He was my best friend in all the world and his loss was devastating. By Gods grace I have found my way around the empty place where he should be, but the grief of losing him is never far away.

    • Praying for you, Michele. I cannot imagine your pain, even after all these years. I thank the Lord for His comfort and grace during these hard times. God bless you!

  19. Thank you so much, Jennifer. Printing this out to encourage me over the next few months. My husband leaves for deployment this weekend, and I am massively pregnant with the surprise blessing of twins (while still caring for our lovable but rambunctious preschool boys who are really going to miss Daddy). As we’ve prepared for yet another goodbye, I have been thinking a lot about Psalm 16, which similarly states: “The Lord is my portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed I have a beautiful inheritance…. I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken…. You make known to me the paths of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy….”

    This is not the same grief as death, but a difficult challenge for me all the same.

    • Wow… what a journey you are on, Marian! What a beautiful Psalm to lean on, knowing He will be there through each step of what is about to come your way! Comforting to know where your strength will come from, isn’t it?! I am so happy you shared. He is our strength through *all* challenges!! I am so grateful for the sacrifices your husband and your family are making for this country. It does not go unnoticed or unappreciated!

  20. October is that month for me. . . the month my Daddy committed suicide. I was 14. His death shattered my world. Almost 19 years later, I am able to thank God for being my portion, my strength in the days, months, and years that followed. Blessed be His Name!

  21. Dearest Jennifer, thank you for this. This has been my life verse for 30 years as I have had ups and downs with migraine and depression. I have clung to this verse as the world disapproves and tells me that “wellness is a choice” and as I cower into work the day after I had to be out with migraine and vomiting amidst the disapproval of healthy employees who have no clue. Not until I read your posting did I realize I can apply it to the loss of my precious granddaughter, Faith, last December 23rd from complications of cystic fibrosis. Faith was an extraordinary 13 year old girl who touched countless lives in her 13 short years. In her death, many were brought to the Lord. It is impossible to explain the impact her life had on our community and church this side of heaven, but it is now possible for me to take this life verse, once again, and apply it to this huge whole in my heart. I cried as I read your posting….you wrote it just for me…and I think you from the bottom of my God-filled heart…Gloria “God Remains!”

    • Oh you have me in tears, Gloria! I am so happy He reached you through this post today, through this amazing verse. I am so sorry for the loss of your precious, Faith. It sounds like she made such an impact to so many people. That is awesome. That is God! Thank you so much for sharing your heart with us. I pray His tender love will begin to heal your heart.

  22. It was two years ago today that I lost my second child to a miscarriage. And I am so humbled to say that He bound up my wounded heart, and brought me though that grief so that I know more about His love than ever before. He has since and blessed me with a daughter. Such a good and kind Father we have.

    Thank you for this today. Perfectly timed. Labor Day weekend and the days that follow will always be a little different for me, but more than the pain, I remember that he is faithful.

    • I am so sorry for your loss. What strength He has given you to see this time as a reminder of His faithfulness. That is so beautiful how He brought you through your grief, Erin. God is good!

  23. Thank you for sharing! My story is similar to your, only I was the momma. 9 1/2 years ago, my 5th baby was born early and with complications. We had her here for 33 days before she left this earth for heaven. Two years after that, my husband died. God has been my rock, Provider, comfort and brought me through grief and heartache. He has brought me opportunities to help others and He has brought me another husband and another daughter to share this life with.

    • I am so sorry for what you have gone through, Christina. I can see how one can only get through all of that with God as their rock. I think it is awesome that you are taking His opportunities to help others! That really shows the strength you can get through Him. To comfort others the way He comforts you. Thank you so much for sharing!

  24. We lost our first child due to a miscarriage this past May after 4 years of trying. We are still struggling with the loss and pain but know God has an amazing plan for us and we wouldn’t be prepared for those blessings had we not endured this loss and struggle. Even though it is hard to see sometimes I know he is always there.

    • I am so sorry for your loss, Shawnda. I love to hear through it all, you say you know He has an amazing plan for you! It is a comfort to know He knows and He has a plan, don’t you think? Remembering you in my prayers. Thank you so much for opening up to share with us!

  25. I lost my 3rd( 16 weeks along) and 4th child (6 weeks) in one year. We found out our third child died in utero on the day that my grandmother died the year prior. It was a painful Christmas and later a painful birthday. I felt that all I could do was cry! I couldn’t understand why this could happen and was upset with other new moms when they had their babies and I didn’t . It was until my own husband said to me that when I had our first and second sons and was happy that another mom was crying. It made me think. I now know God has a reason for all things even though I don’t know the answers, he never left my side. I am still sad, but know that they are with God and being well taken care of by special people that I love that are there. God later blessed us with two more sons!

    • So sorry for your losses, Teresa. Your husband had quite an observation. We don’t often think of things that way. Knowing they are with God helps so much. Can’t imagine not having that faith and hope! And then those two blessings to follow… only God! Thank you so much for sharing your story!

  26. Beautiful post. I’ve just finished a post on how I know I need to let God be my strength when my husband deploys for the first time this year. I read your post earlier today and He seemed to know I needed to come here again. Thank you for your beautiful heart.
    Blessings,
    Beth

    • Such a wonderful mindset to have going into a deployment, Beth! Knowing He will be your strength is the best way to get through. We are so grateful for the service and sacrifices your family is making for our country. Thank you. Praying for your husband’s safe deployment! So glad you came back and shared!

  27. Jennifer,

    Great post! While I don’t have any dramatic losses–I did come to him in 2007 when my mother got out of the hospital after 1.5 months and had dementia and sundowners. God was my rock to deal with her illness for 2 years until our loving Lord took her home. For me it was a bit of a relief as she would only have gotten worse and my dad (then 82) was her sole caretaker.

    Blessings to everyone!

    • What an incredible example of how He is our rock when we need Him! That must have been such a hard journey to go through, Beth. Such strength He must have given you to get through it. So happy you shared with us, thank you!

  28. I lost a dear friend last year. Christina had a rare form of muscular dystrophy and was wheelchair-bound, but she never let it stop her from fully participating in life. She was so capable, and yet never afraid or ashamed to simply ask for help when she needed it. I moved away from the city we both lived in a couple years back, so I received the news of her passing from a mutual friend through a very sad and shocking phone call. Christina was literally a thousand rays of sunshine in my life and she will forever be missed. Like you said above, when I think of her each day, I am so saddened by the thoughts of what she might be doing right this moment, or what her future may have held. I rest in our Lord, though, and know that He had better plans for her as an angel in heaven. Thank you for this today, I needed it.

    • Thank you for sharing you amazing friend with us, Anna. Christina sounds like such a precious person. I am so sorry for your loss. Remembering He had better plans for her is a powerful way to think about her passing. Praying for you, Anna!

  29. I am experiencing a difficult time right now and some days it feels like I am wandering around aimlessly alone without any guidance or protection. Failures and negative tapes from wounds before are the main source of my thinking right now. While I know that God will not give up and He is there with us in our darkest times, most days recently it has been extremely difficult to rest in this knowledge. I pray each day for release and for a breakthrough. I need to have peace and wisdom. I hope you don’t mind praying for my situation even though it isn’t exactly like yours. I need to know, truly know and experience that God is my rock.

    • Thank you so much for sharing with us, Lee. Our situations don’t need to be the same to need God as our rock. There are so many times when we need strength that can only come from Him and I hoped people would share a variety of stories with us. I will be praying for His peace to overwhelm you and His strength to uphold you. I pray He will protect and guide you through this difficult time. He is your rock!

  30. My dad died 16 years ago this October, just two days before my wedding. I’ve been blessed since, with my wonderful husband and two beautiful girls. I’m able to stay at home full-time and raise my girls too. Precious blessings from Jesus. But it still hurts SO much that my dad couldn’t walk me down the aisle and share in our day. It hurts till I can’t breathe. It hurts after all this time because I remember how devastated everyone was. It’s left me with anxiety problems and depression. I don’t think I’ve ever got over the shock of it, but I know that Jesus has brought me through it. I know in my darkest moments since, that Jesus was standing right beside me. As He does today. Had I not known Jesus, I could not have been sure that my dad had been taken from the terrible suffering of agonising bone cancer – and taken to heaven to be at peace. Had I not known Jesus, I wouldn’t be here today. He has brought me light in the very darkest times. I have great blessings to live for. Thank you Jesus.

    • Gillian, thank you so much for sharing you incredible story of how Jesus made all the difference for you through that most difficult time. So grateful to hear examples of light in the very darkest of times! I see how He was your rock. I pray that He eases your hurt as that anniversary comes up this year.

  31. God puts the perfect message before me at the perfect time again! Your blog appeared the morning after a very difficult night. September 2nd was the 30th anniversary of the night I was kidnapped, beaten, sexually assaulted & nearly killed. While not every year brings tears or even pain, this year did. I absorbed your beautiful reminders of God’s loving grace, and they were a balm for my hurting heart. – “And it can feel so unfair if I think about what could have been. When these memories are overwhelming and grace seems weak… I know He freely gives it. He sustains me. He is my strength. He is our portion and He is all we need.” THANK YOU!

    • Oh Michelle, I am so sorry that is something you had to endure! I pray He continues to fill you with His loving grace and be the balm for your hurting heart. You are so strong! Thank you for sharing something so personal with us. I am sure that it helps people see what God helps us overcome!

  32. My overwhelming memory is the death of my brother. We hadn’t heard from him in years. I was serving as a stateside missionary and my brother had purposefully walked from our family. I was actually coming home for a friend’s wedding, that the bride had cancelled three days before, but my plane ticket was a non-transferable, non-refundable ticket. So I came home anyway. Only about two days before, a doctor called my father to tell him that my brother had been homeless and was dying from A.I.D.S. The first night of my visit, my brother got really sick. We called an ambulance and my father and I went to the hospital with my brother. We weren’t in the waiting room 10 minutes before a doctor came and got us. Only by the grace of God was I there, and holding my brother’s hand, when he died. I am so thankful that he did not died alone in an alley somewhere, but surrounded by the people who loved him most. It was very painful, but God was so amazing to my family to allow us a few days of restoration. That has been over 21 years ago. He was only 36 years old when he did. Even though it is an overwhelming memory, that hits me when I least expect it. I am also overwhelmed by the grace God gave us during that time.

    • I am so sorry for your loss, Kristy. What an amazing story that brought you to his bedside in those last moments. What a blessing that he was able to be surrounded by those who loved him most. I can see God’s grace in your story. Thank you so much for sharing!

  33. I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you so much for sharing your story. 7 years ago today I was experiencing my 4th miscarriage and took an ambulance ride to the hospital. It was a scary time, but God was with me all the way. He even blessed us with 2 more children when I didn’t think it would even be possible. He is our strength.