About the Author

Holly has two obsessions: a good book and sassy dangly earrings. Jesus Christ bedazzled her years ago, and nothing makes her heart beat faster than talking about the Carpenter from Nazareth. When she’s not running her teenage sons around or cooking for her hubby, you can find her blogging at...

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  1. Oh Holly, what a beautiful truth. As you grieve this incredible loss, may the LORD our Comforter, minister to you through the hands, feet and heart of His Church, as you open Your own heart to His and may this ministry bring Glory to His Mighty Kingdom.

    This morning I sat thanking God for the grief, anguish, anger, all that has come from my experience of caring for my mother in her final weeks and days on earth because it has driven me into His arms to the Glory of His Kingdom. Saturday morning I prayed to God for Him to lift my head to see Him through my struggles with PTSD before I went running. Minutes into my run I came across a woman sitting to the side of the path I was running on. As I ran past her, I felt a blanket of grief and sorrow covering her. I felt drawn to her and turned around, ran back and sat beside her. In that moment God opened both our hearts, as we each shared our struggles and I told her I believed God is present with us, even when it’s so hard to believe that in the midst of heartache and war, even in her war-torn Syria. We clasped each other’s hands in tears and I prayed a blessing over her.

    Yesterday, I visited her and heard more of her family’s journey, of their loneliness in a country whose tongue they do not speak, of loved ones left behind in a war-ravaged country, of education stopped to flee, but also of provision, of a home provided by a refugee support organization. I left after praying for them and promising to return and take them to church. See, God answered my prayer: He lifted my head to see Him, to see His Presence in this beautiful grieving woman, His daughter. And in so doing He blessed both of us (Mathew 25:40):

    “Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me – you did it to me.”

    Psalm 12: 6 (Jewish Bible): ‘For the oppression of the poor [ in want, needy, poor ], for the sighing [ expressing physical weakness or mental disquietude ] of the needy, now will I arise’ saith the LORD; ‘I will set him in safety at whom they puff [ blow upon, break, puff, bring into a snare, speak, utter]’

    All He calls me to do is to recognize my hunger and thirst for Him in my own exhausted anguished and broken state. In choosing to trust, or as the Hebrew puts it “bittachon” in the LORD, I choose to “lean on, feel safe, or be confident” in Him, even when there seem more questions than answers.

    • And BTW I love your last line…yes, it ushers us into His Presence! A good friend of my Mum’s who ministered to us all through Mum’s struggle with cancer later wrote to me, replying to my email of thanks, saying that coming into our home, where the peace of the LORD was palpable, was a balm to her own soul in the midst of her own struggles. What was intended for our harm is used by God to bless not only us, but those around us. God is good, so very good.

  2. Beautifully written and encapsulates our dad’s servant heart. I’m glad you were there to be a part of his growth as a person and as a child of God. I’m glad you were able to see past the sorrow sister. I love you.

  3. Anna- your story touched me so much. The image of you stopping what you were doing to turn back to that woman, has me crying. THAT is the heart of our Savior! May we use our grief to weep forward with others. Thank you friend for your kind words and prayers for your heart today as well.

    • Holly, it really is His heart…and it blew me away and showed me that He really is the God who sees us, wherever we are and whatever struggles we’re facing. You are so welcome. I love being able to share God’s goodness with others.

  4. I am sorry for your loss, but thankful to hear about the time you had with your precious father. He sounds like a wonderful man.

    I find that it is so much harder to let others into our pain than it is to welcome them into the fun and exciting moments of life. There’s something about people being there for the tough parts of life that makes those relationships stick, though. It’s a side of love that is beautiful, but hard for our pride to let us see, I think.

  5. Oh Girl this is JESUS talking right through you! You knocked it out of the park and so beautifully articulated the heart of GOD. You made me want to go bake cakes for everyone I know that’s struggling today! lol That’s powerful friend! Thank you for allowing GOD to use your hurt….for being obedient to HIS call and for sharing the deepest hurt we will ever know in this life. I know you made GOD smile today….and I pray you feel HIS pleasure in your heart all day sweet friend! I love you and you keep writing girl….cause it’s goooooooood!

  6. Amy-you nailed it when you said, “There’s something about people being there for the tough parts of life that makes those relationships stick” whew so true gf! Thank you for your condolences and encouragement today.

  7. Melanie- You are about the sweetest encourager I’ve ever met. 🙂 Thank you friend, giving all glory to God today, for He carries us while we weep and then does something beautiful with it that only He can DO. You go ahead and make those cakes precious friend, I guarantee the joy and love you bring with them will be even sweeter. Love you! xoxo

  8. So very sorry for the loss of your father. This post is precious. Thank you so much for sharing what you learned in a very difficult situation. My husband and I are very reluctant to accept help, even tho we have benefited from sweet and generous friends during some very hard times. I know how blessed I feel when I can help others…it doesn’t always occur to me that other people might NEED to help ME as well. Blessings to you.

    • Marty- Friend I so know what you are talking about, I have often felt the same. My dad knew the benefit of servanthood and how it heals us, and the one helping when we let them in. Think about how the disciples felt when Jesus washed their feet! I sat and watched in awe as people were drawn close to Christ and were transformed by my father letting them help him. I’m learning I’m doing others an injustice and myself when I don’t let them in. In our pride it’s uncomfortable..but, may we let God change our hearts on this. Blessings to you and husand friend. xo

  9. Thanks Holly. We (I) have such a hard time with this…letting others see us in need… I guess we like to think we always have it all together, just because we know the One who does. This was a good reminder for me.
    Thanks again, and praying for you at this time of loss.

    • Susan- I know exactly what you mean, it is hard to let others see us in need. But, i truly think it is the missing link in our relationships at times. May God help us be brave. 🙂

  10. Karlene- so grateful that in the middle of loss our God shines through. Glad it took you back to your memories and lessons from your uncle. Blessings friend.

  11. Holly,
    So sorry for your loss. Grateful that your dad let others help. I would have been one of those who made a meal, sat and talked, etc. Knowing how it blesses me to give help I allow others to help me.
    My aging dad moved into assisted living last year & had multiple medical issues. In the last few months he’s gone to failure to thrive-not eating or drinking much. Painful to watch him go through this with some psych issues also. There is another problem also. I have told some at my old job about it & some at church–friends. I just need prayers for strength to deal with all this. The occasional hug, I understand, etc. All that is appreciated.
    Blessings to everyone! 🙂

    • Beth- I’m so sorry your dad is going through so much. I also, know the heartache and pain of seeing our loved ones be ill. Gut wrenching. 🙁 I will pray for you friend that you will get the understanding and compassion that is so needed right now. Don’t be afraid to tell others about your pain and to share your needs. I pray for God to send friends your way to give you the encouragement you need. p.s. I think it’s awesome that you are a servant and would be the one that made a meal etc. and that you let others help you. xoxo

  12. Lisa- loved the obstacle metaphor! Such a great way to put it! Thanks for giving me that visual. Sorry about the loss of your father as well. Xo

  13. Excellent Holly. As a Grief Recovery Specialist that works in hospice, I can really identify. I especially like this truth that you wrote: “It takes courage to let others fully enter into our pain.” I like it so much so I think I shall write it out and put it somewhere in my house where I can be reminded of it’s truths. Thank-you for sharing. I am sure your dad is looking down from heaven and smiling and telling others, “You see my girl Holly, isn’t she a wonderful (In)courager? I am so proud of that girl!”

    • Debbie- Your words just made me weep. I was just sitting here missing my father so much and wishing he was here today and wishing I could hear him say he was proud of me and you wrote that and it sounded exactly like him! Oh thank you friend, I needed this tonight. You are a wonderful encourager as well! xo

  14. Thank you! I’ve been so afraid to let my friends carry me in this difficult time…I never saw that it may bless them to do so!

    • NinaRuth, be brave friend, it will bless them I promise! My dad’s friends always say they are so thankful he let them help! xo

  15. Beautiful Holly, beautiful. I pray that we can always be real and authentic. I know it is hard, but this is where hearts are touched and God shows up. Love your words sweet and loved friend.

    • Kelly, thank you friend and yes I so agree let’s always keep it real. Love you girl! xo