Staring down grief is like staring into a deep dark tunnel. In the beginning, you may not even be able to see the light. As you walk through it, it can feel endless yet slowly but surely a light may begin to reveal itself at the end. The hardest part in our culture is that we do not have any traditions to place honor in our losses and lamenting. We must make room for it in our busy lives and not deny our hearts, minds, and very souls from acknowledging what we do not know or understand.

One of the things I have learned the most recently is the art of lamenting. I am not an expert in this. But what I have come to acknowledge is that it is in our very nature to lament with hope. It can be difficult to begin this process, where words often fail us. I started without words. My body grieved. I would full-on body weep. And as I released it that way, groans followed. From there my spirit would rise and words finally burst forth and rose. Messy but beautiful is the best way that I can describe it. It still is.

Kalley has a new song that was released on September 9th titled, “This House”.

In it, she delicately and eloquently sings pieces of the journey that I have been on in a slightly different way this past year. It has almost been a year since the last big loss in our house. I know that many of you do not know the journey I have been on because it was to be kept confidential.

For the first time, I will briefly outline the beginning and the end with the hope that it may bless someone else who has suffered a loss.

It was an ordinary day when we met two beautiful teens. They were a brother and a sister that looked like they could be twins yet were a year apart. Their eyes held horrors unknown to the masses yet there was a beauty that not even the worst injustices could take from them. When my husband and I met them, our hearts were stirred with love and compassion. We saw them here and there at framily (friends who are family) get-togethers. Months went by and we were stirred further to see if we could help invest in their lives and provide a little bit of respite care for their foster parents. What began as respite care soon turned into a path for our family to begin the journey to foster-to-adopt. In our minds, we never considered the option that adoption would not occur. When we began the journey to invite them into our family the decision was forever.

The worst days of our lives followed after having them full-time in our home and family for over a year. We were a couple of months away from adoption finalizing when actions not of our own occurred and forever changed the path we had intended. What was forever to us soon changed to never. The devastation was agonizing. This was “goodbye”. Goodbye in our home where we had laughter bouncing down the halls and off walls. Goodbye in our home where we had toiled and tarried for their safety and protection. Goodbye in our home where we had holidays and dreamed dreams of healing for greater holidays and better family times. In our home, it all burned down. Flames consumed every dream. Flames consumed motherhood. I was left battling in empty rooms and for the one daughter who was set against me. 

Motherhood for many has been full of sweetness. I have known loss and suffering. And the loss of my two teenage children left me at the end of myself. I had come to a place of a forced goodbye multiple times in the home intended to be filled. I won’t go into the details that continued to compound my suffering in the months that followed. Rather, I would like to detail the healing power of Jesus amidst it all.

Jesus, my precious Jesus, was with me through it all. And as I turned to walk into my tunnel of grief and loss, I had Him walking with me. Grief was not a new journey. I had lost my mom and a baby to miscarriage years prior. But this time was different. The tunnel was so dark. I could not see any light. My body had been through so much that my adrenals had become exhausted. The weight of grief was so heavy. I thought something was wrong with me as I tried to work through every step I had done in previous losses. My home still felt unsafe and what I had found out was that until I could crawl out of the pit of fight or flight mode, I could never heal. The constant state of stress was disabling me from lamenting towards healing. I began to dig deep and search in the darkness for my healing even though I could not even see my hand in front of me. I allowed Jesus into every dark space and contended for freedom. 

Jesus, my precious King, and Healer helped me take one painful step after another. He brought sisters, friends, family, and even strangers to join my healing journey. At times it felt like I would become consumed by my suffering. I wanted to run away. I wanted a different home. I did not want what I had been “given”. I yelled, screamed, and wept with Jesus in my most vulnerable moments in the tunnel where the darkness felt never-ending, and the air seemed so thin that I could barely breathe. Yet, one day, after being prayed for multiple times and having tiny moments of relief, God delivered me from the pain and agony that had been delivered to me by the devil himself as a child. My lamenting towards hope had led me to it! Jesus delivered me from suffering to stand victorious in hope and joy. 

Now, I sit with grief and lament as a holy act. I am no longer consumed by the darkness. Jesus set me free from it and revealed His goodness when I was surrounded. In my suffering, I met Jesus in a new way.

This is what birthed Nicki Ministries. This is why I am writing to you today. 

I pray for you to meet Jesus in your suffering. I pray that you can see that God is good and He never fails you. If you are looking at a life engulfed in flames or are standing amidst the ashes, I can assure you that He is with you. I can assure you that when there is nothing left, He is there. 

I pray that you will allow yourself to be vulnerable and lament. By doing so, you open the door to healing. Lamenting is holy. It can be a catalyst for your growth. You will find that Jesus joins you. He records every tear. He knows your heart. When others around you do not know why you are in so much pain and you need a friend to come close, He is with you. Let Him come near. Let Him lead you out of the tunnel where sunrises return and beauty can be seen in the skies once again. 

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