When Life Is Hard

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How To Find Joy When Life is Hard

My world was upside down.

When life is hard, Jesus ‘gets real’ about suffering. He doesn’t sugar coat anything, He validates our pain and shares secrets to finding joy, even when we've lost a baby mid-term. Want to see His secrets to finding joy in the midst of sorrow? Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_andreypopov’>andreypopov / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

After 36 long hours of labor, I finally delivered our first baby who died half-way to term. I left the hospital with post-partum hormones raging, milk flowing, and enough grief to sink a ship.

Wiping away streaming tears and snot, I couldn’t help it. God got an earful. Why God?! We prayed for this baby! We loved our baby! Why?!

The greater the bond, the greater the pain. It’s part of being human.

I like the fact that Jesus ‘gets real’ about suffering. He doesn’t sugar coat the truth. He validates our pain, and shares secrets to finding joy in the midst of it.

One of those secrets rolled off his lips when He and his friends encountered a blind man. Puzzled by the man’s plight, the friends ask, Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?

It was an honest question. They were trying to make sense out of things, like we do. Sudden loss. Chronic illness. Unfixable problems. Broken relationships. Issues that leave us with more questions than answers.

The man was born blind. It’s the last thing a parents wants. We prefer a 10 on the Apgar scale. Like you, these guys wanted answers.

Like you, they wanted answers.

Now catch what Jesus says: It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.[i]

Do you see the shift that Jesus prompts? His friends were thinking cause and effect. They were asking the wrong questions, looking for someone to blame.

Jesus asks them to switch their focus and look for what God can do.

He spits in the dirt, slathers mud on the man’s eyes, and tells him to wash in a nearby pool. The man comes back sporting 20-20 vision dancing a jig peppered with cartwheels and back flips. OK. My imagination took over. Wouldn’t you love to have seen this first hand?

You’re asking the wrong question, Pam. You’re trying to figure it out. Look instead for what God can do.

One of the greatest gifts God gives you and me is the gift of choice. We get to choose what we look for.  And the good news is. . .

When life is hard, Jesus ‘gets real’ about suffering. He doesn’t sugar coat anything, He validates our pain and shares secrets to finding joy, even when we've lost a baby mid-term. Want to see His secrets to finding joy in the midst of sorrow?

When we look for what God can do, we find it.

When we look for poop, we find it, too.

When life is hard, Jesus ‘gets real’ about suffering. He doesn’t sugar coat anything, He validates our pain and shares secrets to finding joy, even when we've lost a baby mid-term. Want to see His secrets to finding joy in the midst of sorrow?

Shortly after I left the hospital with empty arms, I was swimming laps blubbering from one end of the pool to the other. God got another big earful.

Suddenly, I saw a picture of a book. I knew it was for moms who, like me, had lost a baby. God was planting a seed in my broken heart. A year later it bore fruit. Empty Arms was published and it has offered hope to 100,000+ moms.

Awhile back, another whisper came, seven years after our sixteen-year-old son relocated to heaven. Emerging from a long hard trek through the dark Valley of Shadows, I heard my Father’s voice again . . .Pave the way. Show them HOW to embrace their loss and I will heal their heart.

It’s Time To Break the “No Talk” Rule!

  • 1 million expectant mothers suffer a pregnancy loss every year in America.
  • 1 out of 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage.
  • Up to 59% of grieving parents get stuck in unresolved prolonged grief.[ii]

It’s understandable, because pregnancy loss is a topic that is still in the shadows. Most of us shy away from talking about death, which leaves parents in pain suffering alone in silence. And it often goes unnoticed because it’s an invisible loss to others who never knew our baby.

I’m so grateful that Susan invited me to celebrate with you the OFFICIAL LAUNCH TODAY of the Empty Arms Journal: A 21-Day Guide for Healing After Pregnancy Loss. Together, we’re on a mission to break the “don’t talk about it” rule.

So here’s the question:

Will you join us, get a copy of the book here, and keep a look out for someone who needs a lifeline?

https://www.amazon.com/Empty-Arms-Journal-Healing- /dp/0997687606

When life is hard, Jesus ‘gets real’ about suffering. He doesn’t sugar coat anything, He validates our pain and shares secrets to finding joy, even when we've lost a baby mid-term. Want to see His secrets to finding joy in the midst of sorrow?

You just may become an answer to the prayers of a broken-hearted mom.

In the meantime, when your own life is hard, keep your eyes of faith wide open. Look for what God can do.

According to Jesus, it’s a secret to joy.

When life is hard, Jesus ‘gets real’ about suffering. He doesn’t sugar coat anything, He validates our pain and shares secrets to finding joy, even when we've lost a baby mid-term. Want to see His secrets to finding joy in the midst of sorrow?

Pam Vredevelt has been in private practice as a Licensed Professional Counselor 25+ years at NW Counseling Services in Gresham, Oregon. She has Master of Science Degrees in Communications and Psychology, a B.A. in Religion from Multnomah University, is the author of 14 books and is a beloved inspirational speaker. Find more at Pam’s website, PamVredevelt.com.

Get connected to Pam! Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube.

[i] John 9:1-3, ESV
[ii] S.X. Lin and J.N. Lasker, “Patterns of grief reaction after pregnancy loss,” American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 66 (1996) pp.262-271.

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30 thoughts on “When Life Is Hard

  1. Oh Pam, what painful losses! I simply can’t imagine. Thank you for following God’s lead and writing words of hope for so many women. I’ve kept journals most of my life and throughout my past six years of infertility and it was so comforting to have a place to write out my prayers and pour out emotional honesty to God. He always answered and always comforted me. God bless you!

  2. Susan, I love your post and can’t wait to read more. Your book sounds intriguing. I love the way you write with such a raw honesty and vulnerability. I am going to add it to my list of books to read.

    I am so sorry for your loss. I can’t imagine the pain involved with losing a baby. I do believe we choose “JOY”. I have never lost a baby, but I have come close to losing a child and walking in some difficult circumstances, and I had to learn to look for the blessings and choose joy in the small everyday things. I am still learning. Always a work in progress.

    I write on “embracing life in the midst of the unexpected.”

  3. What a beautiful message of hope, Pam! Susan — thank you for sharing Pam’s story with all of us today. I cannot imagine the depth of your grief in those moments, but as someone who struggles with chronic illness, I have wrestled with some of the same emotions and questions. But God always makes beauty out of ashes. <3 Happy to be your neighbor at the #livefree linkup today.

  4. Such pain we experience in our lives. 🙁 I’m so glad that Jesus was and is the “Man of Sorrows and acquainted with grief”. He is not the one who forbids mourning; our culture tends to frown on it, but cultures have many practices and beliefs that are not in line with God’s desires. Jesus wept. The Holy Spirit is grieved by our sin. I’m so glad that He welcomes our questions and comforts us in our grief.
    I like how you pointed out that Jesus wants us to “switch (our) focus and look for what God can do.”

  5. Thanks so much for your willingness to be honest about the hard things. Right now I’m writing a series about a very hard thing — our son we adopted from foster care and how his intense behavior has affected our whole family. It’s been so hard to write, but I know sharing is helping other people, from the comments and emails I’ve received. I cannot imagine losing a child and my heart breaks at reading your words. God’s peace to you this day.

    1. Oh Sara, I can’t begin to imagine, yet God knows the situation and each one of your needs. And you are so correct that someone else’s healing is in your words. Thank you for being bold and penning them. Hugs, Susan

  6. What an important message of hope this is, Pam! Miscarriage and pregnancy loss are so painful. My dear friend, Kathe Wunnenberg writes on this topic, too. She shares a message of hope for those grieving the loss of their children in “Grieving the Child I Never Knew.” It’s such a tender area of pain … I am so thankful for people like you and her who are ministering to their hearts!

    Thank you, Susan, for you heart to minister to the grieving Mother, too. I am so thankful for you! Thanks so much for sharing this at #MomentsofHope!
    Blessings and smiles,
    Lori

  7. Yes, even in such devastating heartache, we can see God’s hand at work. Sometimes seeing His hand is obvious; sometimes we have to diligently look for it; and other times, it won’t be revealed until a later time, but we can rest in the confidence of knowing He will work all things for our good and His glory!

  8. Pam- thank you so much for your story. I have a good friend that suffered a mid-term lost a year ago with baby Lily. She’s really struggling with her faith. I can only say so much, but now I have a resource to give her.
    I think this will be so helpful for her. I’m going to order it!

    Thank you for your ministry and giving hope to others suffering!
    Julie

  9. Pam, thank you for sharing your broken heart story and pointing us to the One who is able to heal. My eyes are brimming with tears after reading your words. You have suffered great losses. So many women have heartache when it comes to children . . . infertility, rejection, addiction, loss. Our stories are different but one fact remains and that is Jesus is able to put the pieces of our brokenness back together in ways that glorify Him and help others. Thank you for this!

    1. Deb,
      Amen, what a powerful truth – Jesus is able to put the pieces of our brokenness back together in ways that glorify Him. Beautiful. Thank you for commenting. Hugs, Susan

  10. Oh, Pam. My heart breaks for those who suffer such loss. And you’re so right, God’s does too. He so desperately wants us to turn toward Him in our pain and suffering, but all too often our sorrow turns us away from Him. He doesn’t mind the hard questions. Jesus didn’t scold Mary and Martha for asking them when Lazarus died, He simply wept with them. He understands grief. Blessings!

    1. Amen, Jesus wept. Thank you Liz. Hugs, sweet friend. It sure has been great to see photos of you and your handsome honey lately. He’s HOME! Yea! Hugs, Susan

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