Seeing Grace in the Really, REALLY Hard Stuff

I meet up with a couple of ladies every week. A couple of wonderful ladies. A couple of ladies who are grieving the loss of their babies. They are very honest and raw with me each week and for that I am very grateful. Grateful that they feel that they are in a safe enough place to share their hearts and that with them I can still talk and work through the hard stuff since Eli passed away, that I may on many other occassions, push aside and try not to think about because it would hurt too much. But with this situation, I’ve been forced to think about stuff that maybe I’ve felt like I’ve dealt with, but maybe I hadn’t fully. Grief is a long process, and still nearly four years out, it still hurts and I’m still a grieving mamma. I’ll probably be a grieving mamma till the day I die, but the grief changes as time goes on. More of an acceptance that it’s there and that my heart will always have a deep scar on it.

I’ve mentioned before how each week folks will share evidence of God’s grace with the congregation at church. It’s neat to see what God is doing in people’s lives. Providing jobs. Friends and family getting saved and knowing Jesus. People healed. Seeing God provide financially for people who are in a rough spot. These are amazing and wonderful things! It’s wonderful to see how much Jesus loves us and how He provides.

God’s grace is also evident when there seems to be no answer and through tragedy. It’s harder to see, but it is evident. A public place is not always the place to show how God’s grace is evident in tragedy and in the midst of grief and suffering.

This, I guess is a public place, but I would love to hear how Jesus has been gracious to you in the midst of tragedy and suffering. Whatever it may be, a child who received a bad health diagnosis. A death of a child, close friend or loved one. Having a relationship struggle and seeing no end in sight. It’s all really hard stuff and God’s grace is evident in the midst of it.

I’ll go first. And second, because I think I have two (for now). Meeting up with my two friends each week, has been Jesus’ grace. He knew long ago, that nearly four years after Eli’s death that I would still need to talk and work out some really hard things. I still have a lot in my heart that I need to work out and Jesus has been gracious enough to bring these ladies to my home once a week. I’m so sad about why we started our relationship and how we’ve become so close in such a short amount of time, but it Jesus’ grace has been evident in our time together. I hope in a small way they can see Jesus’ grace in it too.

Tullie was a 31 week preemie. Her arrival was a surprise to say the least. We were extremely unprepared! Extrememly is an understatement. Her diagnosis was a shock, but what was invovled with her arrival was just as shocking. She is was in the hospital for six weeks. The day after Tullie was born my parents hopped on the next plane. And my dad ended up staying the entire summer in order to help care for Josiah while Mike and I were back and forth to the hospital and work. Knowing that Josiah was being cared for and loved during that time was really important. Jesus was extremely gracious to us through my parents, even though at the time I took advantage of it and was probably too self-absorbed in my own pain and sorrow to recognize it. We’re extremely grateful for my parents and AAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL they’ve done for us, because really that summer is just scratching the surface. But, mostly I’m grateful that I’ve been able to see Jesus’ grace to us during some of the darkest times of our life when I really didn’t think that Jesus’ grace had been evident. It had been evident all along….I was just too blinded by myself and doubt to actually see it.

So, please share how Jesus has been gracious in the midst of pain. In the hard darkness of it. Because it is there. Sometimes it’s hard to see, but it’s there.

 Seeing Grace in the Really, REALLY Hard Stuff


  1. the sis | |

    I’ll go third….

    My greatest Grace moment is during my divorce. Definitely the darkest time in my life. A time that I thought I would never face, but and so grateful that God blessed mom, dad, you and Mike to be so loving, accepting and supporting. It’s a time that I thought would never be and honestly thought that if it were to happen that my family would abandon me because of our beliefs in marriage for life. But no one important to me abandoned me and if anything helped to bring us closer in many ways. God’s grace continues to show itself to me daily and in the gift of a God-fearing man who was willing to marry a woman with a past and has committed to love me non-stop for the rest of my days.

    God truly knows what we need and many times some of those needs are delivered to us during painful times in our life. It’s during those painful times though that I think we are more open to seeing God’s hand at work and don’t take it for granted.

    I love you my sister. We’ve both experienced some large amounts of unexpected pain in our lives, but it’s nice to see how He opens up doors of opportunity for our stories and experiences to minister to others who walk through some dark valleys.

  2. Carol Fiske | |

    My greatest experience with the Grace of God is when the Lord sent us Amy and when He called her back to Him. It has been 20 years and I grieve for her and miss her every single day. I think now even more as Kristin, Nathan and Matthew now have families, I think how she would love being an aunt, and how she would adore the little ones with the red hair like she had.I always struggle with how to answer people and with the incredible silence that comes with some answers. When people ask how many children I have, I always answer 5, 4 here on earth and one in Heaven with Jesus. The answer should really be 4 in Heaven with Jesus, because I did have 3 miscarriages, 2 very early and one at 5 months, but I don’t like to explain that, so I just usually say I have Amy with Jesus. When Amy got sick and people asked questions and made comments that were really dumb, like “is she your only child?” “well at least you have others”. Like that really made it all better. Watching her suffer for almost 9 years was unbearable, the tests, the surgeries, watching what chemo did to her little body and the ravages of the bone marrow transplant, the many relapses and after being told if she went 24 months after the transplant without relapse she would be considered cured, then at 33 months she relapsed. I remember the devastation that I felt. I really didn’t have anyone to share the deep hurts with. Jerry was hurting as much as I was, and neither one of us wanted to make it worse for the other. I had to be the one who was always “up”, had to be for Kristin, Nathan and Matthew. Had to be the positive one for my parents, and my grandmothers, who were hurting watching a grandchild, greatgrandchild suffer beyond what anyone should have to bear. So I held it all in, and cried in silence. But the greatest lessons in grace that I received were from Amy herself. She had such incredible faith, a deep unfailing, immovable faith, one that can only come from someone who knows the Lord as Father, friend, Saviour. She was a truly remarkable child, she knew her future and she planned for it. I think she always knew that her life on this earth would be a short one, but she had been sent from the Thrones of Grace to teach us all. She planned her Resurrection Service, she picked the scriptures, and the songs, she was the one who said she wanted it to be a testimony of God’s Grace. She wanted all of her friends and classmates to know she was saved, she was with her Father and she wanted all of them to have that calm sweet assurance in their lives. She wanted everyone at that service to have the opportunity to asked Jesus into their lives and to know beyond a shadow of a doubt if anything were to happen to them, that they would know they would go to Heaven. She taught us all so much in her short 16 years, 3 days and 9 hours than many of us could hope to in a lifetime. She touched so many lives, here in Massachusetts, but also in the 6 months we spent in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she had her transplant. She was a minister of grace, as she spent time with other children suffering like her, but also with parents who lost their children to this dreaded disease. She touched the lives of all the doctors and nurses who took care of her, many of who found faith or found renewed faith. God has never promised us a life free of cares and hurts, but He has promised us the Grace to bear those pains. I love the verses in 2 Corinthians 1:5,7 “You can be sure that the more we undergo the sufferings for Christ, the more He will shower us with His comfort and encouragement. But in our deep trouble God has comforted us, and this, too to you, to show you from our personal experiene how God will tenderly comfort you and when you undergo these same sufferings, He will give you the strength to endure” To put in everyday language, God allows us to go through trials and sufferings, to that when we see someone else going through the same trials and tribulations we can comfort them with the same comfort that we received from Him. I don’t think that the Lord allows us to go through trials to keep it all to ourselves. He wants us to reach out to others and share His Grace and mercy. I anxiously await the day that the trumpet of the Lord sounds and the dead in Christ will be raised and we who remain will be caught up in the air with them and remain with them. I ache for the day to see her again, but I also have a job here to be done. I need to reach out to other parents going through the same horrible trial and walk with them through that valley and show them with Christ we can come out the other side.

  3. Mike Bates | |

    Carol Fiske, I’ve never met you but want to say thank you for posting your families story on Christs Grace. Your families story and daughters faith just ministered to me 20 years after Amy’s reunion with Christ. Amy set a great example for what are lives are supposed to look like during our pain. Wanting others to know Christ through her death. You have a gift for writing. “I need to reach out to other parents going through the same horrible trial and walk with them through that valley and show them with Christ we can come out the other side.” – I agree with you, a hard but fruitful ministry! Thank you so much for sharing your heart.

  4. Carol Fiske | |

    Thank you Mike, I hope we get to meet someday. You and Michelle have had many trials in your young married life and you have come through with the Grace of God. I would love to meet your little Tulle, Josiah and Ellison. I know you hearts ache for Eli, as mine does for Amy, but we know we will see them again some day. I don’t pretend to understand God’s ways, but I know He has a perfect plan and someday we will understand. I love the comparison to our life, as we only see our life as the threads woven on the underside of a tapestry, sometimes ugly, strings hanging, doesn’t make any sense, but Christ sees our life as a perfect, beautifully woven tapestry. One day He will reveal that to us…God Bless you and your family…Carol

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