On How Pain Doesn’t Define {Except for When it Should}

DISCLAIMER: I wrote this a couple of months back (hence the mention of snow) but felt God asking me to wait to share it. I now know why and will continue to write out the rest of this story in posts to come…


Newly fallen snow blankets the barren earth, allowing sun’s reflection to permeate my back room. Its warmth floods the floor as I labor over the laundry basket. And I close my eyes — just for a second, inviting its radiance to find me.

My lips curl as I notice the fresh bunny tracks below the picture window and realize she’s had her babies. I wonder aloud if rabbits typically have babies in the dead of winter because it doesn’t seem like those tracks belong in this frigid season… His 5 year-old wisdom shines as he tells me outright: “Mom, why can’t she have her babies in the snow? You did. God gives babies in every Season.”

The rhythmic ticking of the swing draws my gaze sideways as I dwell on his sleeping baby brother. He’s right, you know. It did snow the eve this miracle was born. And I can barely breathe as I reflect on what my God has done for me…for thousands of years, He just keeps giving…

I feel like you all know me. The one simply striving to see Jesus in my everyday while becoming all He has made me to be. Despite what this world throws my way. So I feel like I should tell you…

Friends, losing a child of any age, it can define you. For good or bad I imagine. During the pain of labor, you need reminders to simply breathe in and out. The same applies as you labor them down into the ground. Only then, while the intense pain may come and go in spurts, it never goes away fully.

What I’ve discovered is the ache of loss can squeeze the life right out of you only to realize it has freshly pressed the goodness within to the surface. And He’s been at work, pressing hard in me the last couple years — with more than one loss — and I’ll admit…I’d gotten used to the pain.

Almost to the point of it defining me…


I’m very fond of the book of Job. (And no, I’m nothing like him.) He’s a man I admire greatly. For I don’t know many who could lose every love they’ve tangibly held in their hands and still keep clinging to The One Love they’ve never physically gazed upon. Often I’ve wondered if I had went through that kind of pressure, would the life found within me be bitter or sweet? How many times have I prayed for my rinds to ripen…

Oh dear God, please make my soul sweet enough to savor…
I owe that much and more to my Savior…

Reflecting back, I’m not quite sure when it happened. When I decided the road we travel is mostly rocky. uphill. barren yet full of thorns. And when I think of the optimistic nature God gifted me with, I gasp at the thought of what I’ve done to it.

For I have seen the hurt more than the healings.
I have focused more on the sorrow
than I have my own salvation.
And just look at how He still lavishes His love upon me…

My 1st grader notices the bunny tracks go deep into our evergreen and I say to him–isn’t that just the way God is… Even in the barren seasons, He provides and cares for us. His hazel eyes look up at me as if he’s searching for whom I’m talking to, then he promptly leaves to go watch his new baby brother sway in peaceful slumber.

While pressing hard on the folds of a handmade burp cloth, I sense Him moving in me. My heart warms softly as I thank Him for the contents of this laundry basket. And for just a moment, I realize…it doesn’t hurt to breathe…

I decide right then that the only death I’ll allow to define me will belong to The One who conquered it.

Friends, this is only the beginning of the journey I’ve been on. Next up, I plan on sharing how I was guarding my heart in all the wrong places. I hope you’ll join me (and I’ll try to have that post up soon!).

How about you? How do you keep yourself from focusing more on the sorrow than on our Savior? I’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,


8 thoughts on “On How Pain Doesn’t Define {Except for When it Should}

  1. Oh, friend…how did I NOT know you lost a child. Sometimes I hate using the “lost” in connection with a child. It makes it sound, I don’t know…like an accident or something. While I don’t know God’s plan, I do that he has one and the pain associated with losing a child is so great that at times I think it will swallow me whole. All at once. Poof…I’m gone. Then some way, somehow – with His help – I climb out of the dark hole and live again.

    The way you express yourself in this post is touches my heart. I can’t wait to read more.

  2. Oh…I want to write you about this post but I need to head to work. I will be thinking and praying while I work the checkout in Chan. You are such a dear sweet sister friend. Can’t wait to see the beauty the Lord gives in eexchange for this offering. I will write you more this evening.

  3. I am so thankful that our Father in Heaven is so gracious and loving that He takes the time to reveal these things to us. Nikki, your words are so precious and I just know that He is so pleased with you and your surrender! I can’t wait to read more of your journey! Praying for you as you go!

  4. Nikki, dear friend and sister, I know some, only bits and pieces, of your hurts and pain. But I have never lost a child. Never. So, I cannot relate except through your words what it must feel like, how it must hurt. I am so thankful that God has revealed these words to you to write for the rest of us — the hurting mamas who have suffered loss, but also hurting siblings who are miles apart through estrangement, hurting parents who don’t know where that adult child is, hurting children watching parents slip away. For whatever you write about your hurt, I’m sure He will guide you to write in such a way that it can be applied to all of us at some point in time. He always does that for you, Nikki!

    Blessings on you and the men in your life,

  5. Vulnerable places. . .our words grow me and stretch me and I trust that God has put us in each others life for a precious purpose. So here goes. . .I think a change of perspective in the form of gratitude was the most healing thing offered me during that gray landscape of miscarriage. Perspective is such a beautiful word, isn’t it? Distance and time can provide a redemptive lens to the most heart-wrenching circumstances. Perspective has taught me that no one can determine how long I should be able to grieve the loss of my baby. You can’t put a cap on it and sometimes a grieving heart looks like laughter and tears all at once. Most days now are so good but there are bittersweet days too–mostly accompanied by the scent of peonies and dappled sunlight in my dining room during early June. Perspective has taught me that I can see beauty eventually against the backdrop of despair. Perspective says life is eternal and this world is just a dress rehearsal and I’ll see my baby one day. When I miscarried mine, it was so early, Nikki. I had just days previously had the confirmation appointment and the subsequent “swallowing of sunlight” that accompanies pregnancy when you’ve waited so long to see the pink lines. The only thing that got me through those days was the knowledge of a compassionate redeemer and that smallest scripture passage in the Bible-Jesus wept. It was of great comfort to me to know He carries my grief-the full weight of it-that it touches him deeply. Thank you Lord for seeing. Also, for pregnancy joy and for cathartic tears, for not thinking your girls crazy when we name our babies and still bake a birthday cake on a due date every single year; for blessed assurance and for keeping us as the apple of your eye even in the tough spots. And Nikki, perspective, when based on the truest hope and stay, can usher in another beautiful word–Resilience. We overcome by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony. Now I can look back on that time in my life as sort of a “Bethel” as I know without a doubt that God revealed himself as faithful in that place.

  6. I love you so… I have missed you and prayed for you and I know full well that He is and has been at work in you. I am so thankful that you are sharing it! Bless you sweet sister!

  7. Pingback: On Guarding Your Heart The Wrong Way | simplystriving

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