About the Author

Kaitlyn is a Virtual Assistant, book launch manager, and storyteller who writes about discovering God's goodness in the ordinary and faithfulness in the difficult. She loves good books, deep conversations, and iced vanilla lattes. Kaitlyn is the author of Even If Not: Living, Loving, and Learning in the in Between.

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  1. Your message really struck me this morning. There has been so much loss over the past year (some COVID related and some not). Because of the pandemic, we haven’t been allowed to collectively grieve, so I think I have been choosing to push the grief down. With all of the responsibilities of life, who has time to “not be okay”? I feel like if I ignore it that it isn’t real, but I know it’s there. Thank you for reminding me that God is walking with me in the grief and that it’s okay to feel it.

  2. “Permission slip to be sad” what an awesome gift to give yourself & others! Right now can be hard but yes, in Christ we will be ok & be warriors thru the hard because He is present! Amen! Thanks for sharing!

  3. This was so timely. My mother went Home the first day of Spring this year. I so appreciate these words. Thank you.

  4. Thank you for your honest, grief laden, hopeful words, Kaitlyn. I am so sorry for your loss of your dear grandparents. This is huge and painful. I am praying right now that (even though months have passed) the pain that you carry will be soothed by loving memories of them both. Yes, the grief, pain and loss are real and so often present, AND God is with us in the boat, as the waves threaten us. He is the Master and will not leave us to man the boat alone. Thank you for reminding us of these truths.

    • Thank you, Cathy! One year for my grandfather, a couple weeks for my grandmother, and they both hit a little differently… grief is a funny, complicated, messy thing! I’m glad we aren’t alone in it.

  5. Wow! This really spoke to me today. Thank you for your insight and beautiful encouragement.

  6. Thank you! You have given me the answer I need to say when asked, “How are you?” It’s been 14 weeks since God called my beloved husband home. I was answering, “I’m okay,” knowing that I really wasn’t. Thank you for the permission slip … straight from the LORD’S hand.

    • I am so sorry for your great loss, Carolyn. Praying for an extra dose of God’s peace, comfort and strength for you today. May you feel His strong arms holding you safely in the midst of grief.

    • I’m so sorry for your loss, Carolyn. It’s okay to not be okay. Time and God’s love help to lessen the pain.

    • Carolyn, what a difficult road you’re walking. I am so sorry for your loss. Yes ma’am… you certainly do not need to be “okay” today. God can handle it and will be with you in it.

  7. Fantastic job with explaining grief. Let people grieve…for however long it takes. Try to keep your own opinions to yourself and watch what you say! I truly believe most people are uncomfortable with death so it makes sense that they don’t know how to grieve or how to let others grieve.

    • I love this because I can so relate: it took me a really long time to experience joy after the loss of my husband and grief still sneaks in sometimes but we need to give ourselves Grace in really hard tumes. Bless you for these kind words!!

    • “For however long it takes.” I think that’s key! I was just talking with a friend the other day about how we often, without realizing it of course(!), put a “time limit” on grief. But it doesn’t play by our rules and often sneaks up when least expected.

  8. Thank you for sharing this. My dad just passed away last month and I try my best to smile and tell myself that I am fine. Grief is like riding in a roller coaster. There are very good days and then a reminder and you are right there again. In the past 5 years, I had lost my Auntie who was my 2nd momma, dad in law, my best friend, my momma and now my dad. Some days I wished there was someone to say, it’s ok to not be ok…

    • I’m so sorry for all of your losses, Maylee. Our family too has lost too many these past few years. Praying you’ll feel God’s comforting presence surrounding you today.

    • Oh my… this is so much to carry, Maylee. I’m very sorry for the losses you have experienced and are grieving. May I be someone who says to you, it’s okay to not be okay. You don’t have to smile and be “fine.” Losing someone you deeply loved will absolutely impact you! I’m praying now that God would hold you close.

  9. Nice! I’m thankful I don’t have to have the responsibility to hold it all together!!

  10. Kaitlyn, these are such wise words! Thank you for sharing them. I think sometimes we are afraid to allow ourselves to feel grief because we think that if we open the door to it, it will come rushing in like a torrent and we will be overwhelmed by it. I know that’s true for me. But maybe it’s because I’ve been stuffing it for years instead of giving myself “permission to be sad. “ I am learning not to stuff it anymore and I am finding that after I cry, I can feel the Lord’s Presence there with me. And I know He is holding and healing.

    • Yes! I’m there with you, “unlearning” the “you’re fine” message and seeing that Jesus never asks us to rush through sadness or stuff it down. It can be a little scary to feel all the things when you’ve been told (whether by a person or by culture in general) that’s not okay to do… but looking at how Jesus reacts to loss in Scripture has been a comfort!

  11. Prayers for comfort and blessings on Kaitlyn! Thank you for writing this timely post. I needed it…I needed that “permission to be sad”…”without shame or a timetable.” Yes, I know that “God is nothing less than faithful” and that He is “present in the pain”, but right now I’m still sad. My sweet Mother had her Homegoing 16 years ago yesterday, and I still miss her. Even more heartbreaking is an estranged relationship with a prodigal son. I haven’t seen him in 4 years and it’s been 2 years since he’s been willing to talk on the phone. Thankful for being allowed to say “let’s just pass the tissues.”

  12. Yes it is ok to be sad. I learned years ago after my husband died that when someone asked me how I was, I said how I felt- sad, miserable, angry, scared, confused…… or ok, coping, happy, … whatever I felt. I stopped worrying about how my response made the other person feel and was honest with myself. And faith got me through the worst of it, along with a very wise daughter. I find being honest about my feelings allows me to deal with them a lot quicker. I know on those bad days, I can turn to my faith rather than trying to hide the feelings. So thank you for the message today.

  13. Yes!!!
    My mom and step-dad passed in August within 6 days of each other from unrelated causes. This has been a terrible season and I keep thinking “what is wrong with me?”…..thank you for sharing your heart.

  14. My mother passed away 12 years ago and not a day goes by that I don’t miss her. This doesn’t mean I’m wallowing in grief, but I do allow those moments to happen when I feel them. Loss is hard and sometimes you just need to cry and let God handle the rest for you. I think people say things because they are afraid to sit with feelings of grief, knowing one day it will be them grieving or the one being grieved.

  15. Wow. After reading through everyone’s comments, I am reminded once again that I am not alone in my grief. I agree that absolutely everyone has been touched by grief on some level this past year or so. I’m so sorry for your losses, and thank you for sharing this truth that it’s OK to not be OK.

    I have never been one to try to stuff grief; I am all in when it comes to admitting I’m not OK. Our family has experienced the losses of too many family members these past few years, culminating with the loss of both of our mothers (we’re middle aged) in December and this spring.

    My Mom and Dad lived in Canada, so when Mom got cancer again (after beating it over 30 years ago) a couple of years ago, we only got to see her twice. I live 500 miles away, so our visits are limited, and then with the pandemic, the border closed tightly and has not opened. So I not only missed her entire last year, but being with her for her final moments.

    My sister and I were finally granted permission after her death to visit Dad briefly (and in quarantine, of course) and attend a small funeral service, but we both lost so much. And now watching our Dad trying to live and function all alone in a time where he can barely go out is heart-wrenching. Then my husband’s 92-yr. old mom passed away this spring. It’s just too much all at once.

    It’s true that God is faithful and we trust his timing, but it really hurts and there’s so much to process. I keep thinking that after things return to more “normal” we’ll all probably need to grieve again on a different level.

    Thanks for sharing in your pain to encourage others to walk through their grief. I’m so thankful that God is not only by our side, but carrying us. God bless you.

    • Yes… it is all just so much, isn’t it? I think you’re right. Whenever the new normal arrives, we’ll still need to deal with all that has happened. Holley Gerth (one of the (in)courage contributors) has written about how we’ve been in survival mode for a long time and how our bodies will need time to adjust. Sometimes it’s easier to give grace to others but not to ourselves… Holley’s words have been helpful for me to remember! It’s going to take time, and time takes time.

  16. Kaitlyn, so sorry for your loss but thank you for your honest sharing on the topic of grief. I have experienced extreme loss and tragedy in my life which motivated me to start and co-facilitate a grief support group at my church, which I did for over ten years. I encouraged people to not feel like there is a timeline for their grief and to feel their pain as long as they needed to. Healing not only takes time but the actual process of allowing yourself to grieve. I tried counseling, journaling and a variety of ways to share and explore what I was experiencing but the most helpful to me were the support groups where you learn from others and they from you.

  17. “Our comfort doesn’t come from the promise of calm waters but from the promised presence of the One who rides it out with us.” Yes!! This whole post, Kaitlyn. Thank you.

  18. Thank you for this. I try so hard to always be upbeat and joyful. But today I’m sad. There, I said it. I am sad. Just sad. And it’s okay. Thank you for “giving me permission”. So sad that we need permission to allow ourselves to be sad. But you hit the nail on the head with this writing. And thank you. As always……the devotions on this site come at just the right time. Thank you for sharing your heart.

  19. I am a 78 year old lady who is totally alone in this world,with my friend JESUS. I’ve had loss,cancer,brain hemmorage,sexual abuse as a child and many other health issues.People always say it’s gonna get better, but I don’t think they realize what they’re saying.They mean well. Your words today really struck a nerve in my heart. Thank you for a sincere and truthful word. I hope this article will help a lot of people.It’s ok to not be ok! Love in CHRIST. Wilma

    • Wilma, I’m so sorry for the difficulties, tragedies, and losses you have experienced. I am praying tonight that you would feel the nearness of the Holy Spirit this weekend, an ever-present Friend and reminder that you are not alone.

  20. Kaitlyn – thank you for these WISE, welcoming, words. I am saving this post to read on the dark days when I need this reminder and to share with others that are experiencing loss. I can be sad without shame or a timetable, YES! You get it. I’m not okay, but I will be. Again, yes! The concept of Hope begins with recognizing that we are nothing without the Resurrection of Jesus. I sincerely appreciate your honest humanity.

    Christine

  21. I am so grateful that I sat down to read this entire post today. Because I’m not ok – not today. Today I am angry at being unfairly treated by an employer at the beginning of the pandemic, and finding myself starting life over (again) at the age of 41. None of it is fair, none of how I was treated was deserved, and the financial implications of no longer working full time feel some days like an ocean of worry just washing over me.
    BUT, I know My God – He remains faithful, yesterday, today, tomorrow – forever. And He will not let me down. My best is yet to come.
    But for today, I just needed to acknowledge (even if only to myself) that I am not ok.
    But I will be.

  22. Yes, girl! I used to be one of the ones who would have told you to ‘choose joy’ in the darkness. However, I have grown through loss and tragedy, through wrestling and struggling in prayer. I have learned that as you say, “It is ok not to be ok”. Jesus can handle our anger, our rage, our tears… anything we throw his way. And he simply longs to gather us up in his loving arms and rock us, as a parent would do for a scared and hurt child. This post I wrote makes reference to the Psalms and how if we look at them and read them we see people who were sad, grieving, angry, upset… the whole gamut of human emotion! We can be sad and still acknowledge God’s goodness. We can be angry and still know that our heavenly Father has our back. It is not a lack of faith to express emotions (all of them). Blessings!

    https://wordpress.com/post/murmursofmyheart.wordpress.com/5898

    • Oh yes, Psalms is absolutely full of grief and anger and confusion and joy. It’s a mixed bag. 🙂 And such a comfort! God draws near and as you said, can handle all of it.

  23. Love to hear this. Jesus christ was 100%man and100% God. He got hungry,too hungry to an extent of cursive unproductive fig tree that dried to the roots. He experienced sorrow.disappointments,anger and pain. He grieved and sorrowed. He suffered rejection . All this never led Him to reject nor deny God’s power to save and His undying love . We must embrace the same mind
    Philippians 2:5
    [5]Let this same attitude and purpose and [humble] mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus: [Let Him be your example in humility:]
    The Bible never rebukes anger, nor grief. But they must be enshrined within the kingdom boundaries.
    1 Thessalonians 4:13
    [13]Now also we would not have you ignorant, brethren, about those who fall asleep [in death], that you may not grieve [for them] as the rest do who have no hope [beyond the grave].

  24. So sorry for your loss.

    Very grateful for your perspective. I can still remember the horrified look on two elders’ faces when I said that I understood Job’s wife’s lament. This was said in the face of my husband’s unwarranted dismissal from a job he really liked and excelled at. I wasn’t being “un-Christian”, at all. I was expressing my real, very raw feelings to fellow believers…folks I thought would help us to walk through the injustice and the dark days ahead. It didn’t go that way.

    I have learned that God has “broad shoulders” and a “big heart” and he can take our pain and still hold us close. He will stay with us through those dark patches until we see the light. He really does remain faithful.

    Great share! Blessings on your ministry!

  25. Thanks! Much appreciated! The public & Christians do tend to think it’s only ok, when we’re ok…yet sometimes we just aren’t. Thanks for offering permission and a reminder of God’s love.

  26. This is so needful and a blessing. To know it is OK, not to be OK. I think we just get tired of being asked if we are. I did not cry during my mothers going home in December. Everyone expected me to fall apart and I managed to hold it together. Three months later I lost it, fell apart and cried until my body was shaking in my husbands GMC. Some little something triggered what I had held for days. I knew God was with me, my mother was a woman of great faith and taught me to always turn to God when things were going wrong. HE is our comforter, HE promised to always be with us. I understand the pain of so many who posted today. I pray we can pray for one another to find that peace but in the mean time remember it’s OK to not be OK. God bless you for sharing today.

  27. Kaitlyn,

    Everyone grieves something all the time. The loss of family, friends, jobs, normal life, etc. Each one grieves differently. There is no timetable on grief or sadness. We could be sad or upset with aspects of life in general. Why is it we feel the need to wear masks & pretend life is “fine”? It isn’t fine ALL THE TIME! Trials/troubles happen. We should be willing to “spill the beans” if it were on our situations. That gives others the chance to come alongside, “be with us”, & give us the comfort & encouragement we desperately need. One thing must be remembered is that Jesus is with us ALL the time. He is acquainted with our sadness & sorrow. It definitely is ok to not be ok ALL the time!!

    Blessings 🙂

  28. Your words are always a balm to my soul. For someone so young…and yes you could be my daughter, you have such insight. thanks for sharing

  29. Thank you for these words, friend. I have certainly lived grief, and these words ring true. I am passionate about continuing to help people make space for grief. Praying over your loss in this season!