One glance in her direction, and I knew that she was carrying a terrible ache in her heart.

Maybe it was the way her head was lowered, covered up by the golden locks that frame her face.

Maybe it was the way she flicked her husband’s hand away from the back of her neck as he tenderly tried to comfort her.

Maybe it was because I knew some of her story.

Maybe it was because God needed me to notice.

Regardless of the reason for my knowing, it was clear to me what she was so desperately trying to hide . . .

Her grief. Her loss. Her something.

“Everybody has something. Your something might not be my something, but at some point in your life, you’ve had a something. Maybe not a big something, but something large enough to rock your inner equilibrium and force your outward response. It’s not particularly important what your something is. What is important is what you do with your something. Somethings come and go; what will endure, however, is the memory of how you handled yours.” (from Beyond the Scars, p. 13)

I think she is handling her something as best she knows how. Somethings don’t come with a survival manual, and the last thing she needed in those moments was another “how to” on how to handle her grief loaded on top of the already burgeoning responsibility of carrying it. Instead, what she needed was for God to notice her and to do his noticing through one of his children, through the unexpected hands of a servant who isn’t normally included in her inner circle but who was willing to momentarily charge in to deliver a message of hope.

And so I entered in and interrupted her grief to give to her what God had given me moments earlier. To wrap her up in my arms, cradle her pain, and strengthen her with heaven’s declaration.

“This is not the end of the story.”

In that sacred pause between us, I knew that she believed me . . . believed God, and I felt the burning of a great love inside of me for a woman I barely know. I am grateful for those flames because they remind me, even as they reminded her, that I am alive and that . . .

“This is not the end of the story.”

Not for her. Not for me. Not for you either.

I don’t where you are in this season of life. I don’t know the suffering somethings that have walked these many miles by your side. But I do know what it is to lower my head in sorrow, to wet my lap with bitter tears, and to flick tender caresses away from my neck. And I know what it feels like to feel alone, to feel so buried beneath my grief that I didn’t even know that I needed God to notice me. When all I could see, all I could hear, all I could absorb was the terribleness of my something.

Like a death march to a bottomless grave.

Maybe today you’re marching in similar stride. I don’t know how long it will last, friend. I wouldn’t dare try to talk you out of your grief. Grief walks its own timetable, and I’m not in charge of the clock. There’s a seasonal work taking place in your soul, and it can only be accomplished by your willingness to walk it through. Piece by piece, step by step, until one morning you wake up and you feel the warmth of something stronger, a peace that surprises you and that reminds you . . .

“This is not the end of the story.”

That day is coming, and it isn’t very far from now. Our God has taken notice of your pain; your something matters to him. It matters to me as well. Rest easy in the arms of Jesus, friend. There are more lines to your story, and our very good God is working on a way to make them all count for the kingdom . . . even when you can’t feel past the pain.

Especially then.

I love you dearly.

If you or someone you know is walking through a suffering something right now, I have a resource that will serve as a gentle companion to you and to them while moving through the pain. It was written with you in mind; it is released to you in love. Click here for more details.

Also, my friend, Laura Boggess, is hosting a give-away of the book at her website. Click here to learn more.




15 Responses to Something

  1. You brought tears to my eyes, I was on the fence about buying one of your books. I thought why would I need a book about cancer? But you sold me with this post. I learned that everyone has something during my journey these past years. But I have also learned this is not the end of my story either. I want to read your new book–yes, you have convinced me. Thank you!

    • And this is why the name of the book was changed – my “something” is named cancer, but there have been others “cancers” that have surfaced in my life these last many years that have eaten away at my soul’s health, perhaps greater than the breast cancer journey I went through. When I got to the end of my cancer season, I realized that another battle awaited me – soul-survivorship. God took me on a 40 day journey in the desert to write these words. I know it sounds cliche, but this is a work He and I did together. How do I know? Because at that point in my journey, I couldn’t even lift my head off the pillow most days. The sorrow and despair were tremendous. One thing God asked of me in that season … “Out of your poverty, Elaine, surrender your pen.” It was all I had to live on at that time, just like the widow’s offering in Luke’s Gospel. What was birthed from that seemingly pitiful offering was far more than what I had anticipated. These words have become a way for me to link arms with others who are suffering with the prayer of leading each one to the hope I’ve experienced in Jesus Christ.

  2. So glad you were able to minister comfort and hope to this precious child of God, Elaine. One of my somethings is the something our kids are going through. So very thankful it’s not the end of the story. Thanks for the reminder, friend.

  3. Beautiful post Elaine, and having read your book, I know that it is applicable to whatever ‘something’ the reader may be going through.

  4. I was thinking just this morning that I carry my something well in these days 3 years removed from my most grievous life change. On the outside nobody would ever think that I still struggle with the pain of loss, but golly, on the inside, today, this week of anniversaries, I carry a deep pain and longing to just be caught up with Jesus and allow the pain to dissipate, if even for a short while! I know this is not the end of His story for me, yet some days….. Your writings always bless my heart, Elaine!!

    • Your faith (exhibited to me by your getting up every morning and letting your feet hit the floor – walking it through) is a wonderful strength to me. Praying your pain is less today, even for a short while, friend.

  5. Oh Elaine. What a beautiful post. It shines like a beacon in a dark and stormy sea. I am in a season of…well, I don’t quite know what it is. It’s weird. It’s a little lonely and lost, a little down and tired, a little “I can’t figure it all out.” But, your words were so encouraging. And, when I read what you said to that woman, something in my heart stirred mightily.

    “This is not the end of the story.”

    Not only is that incredibly comforting, it’s also amazingly hopeful. I heard this Truth in my heart, as if it was echoing down through the millennia from that dark and dismal Friday at Calvary. Not the end, not by a longshot. And because of that day, which was truly the beginning of our story, God is writing a new story that will never die.

    One day we will be released into the final chapter that never ends – in which we all live happily ever after. Truly.


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