I won't pretend to fully understand the depths of emotion and pain you are experiencing on this day. I won't offer words of advice or platitudes; you've heard enough 'It will be okay's to last you a lifetime. I'm not going to rehash all the awful circumstances over the past years that have led up to this outcome. And I won't try to stop your tears or your sorrow or your mourning or even any 'Why me's? you want to voice. I'm here with you in sackcloth and ashes, and I won't diminish your grief with empty consolations.
But I do want to tell you a few things that I hope will breathe life into your hurting heart. And I want to say them publicly because they are a testimony to the Power that is within you and a celebration of who you are in Him.
I want to tell you that in all your sufferings, in all your circumstances, I have seen a woman with a quiet fortitude show faithfulness not only to a man who didn't deserve an ounce of it but also to a God who was the true source of it.
I've seen you respond to unbelievably hard situations with strength and dignity. I've seen you stand, full of supernatural grace, as the waves repeatedly crashed over you. You've struggled, you've fought, you've become weak and weary, but I have seen you cling to the Rock that is higher than you and repeatedly turn to Him for endurance and for the will to carry on.
My friend... I've seen you growing, changing, learning, becoming emboldened, coming to life. I've seen you seeking, waiting, trusting, hoping, holding tight to our Savior and truly becoming more and more like Him with each long month that has passed.
I've seen you suffering, but never giving up.
I've seen you sorrowing, but never giving in.
I've seen you cry out like David, "How long, O Lord, will you forget me?" But also like David, I've seen you respond to God by rejoicing in His unfailing love and salvation, proclaiming even on your darkest days that He has been good to you.
I've seen the unwavering faith of Job in you. You have been dealt hard blows. You have experienced the death of a future you had planned your life around. And yet, even in those losses, you have put your hope in the only One who won't disappoint. You have said, like Job, "Though He slay me, I will hope in Him."
I've seen you live out the same heartaches as Hosea, waiting patiently and willingly for reconciliation, offering forgiveness and the opportunity for restoration over and over while being handed only more and more contempt and hatefulness.
I've seen you feeling bitter and destroyed like Naomi, no longer able to see the good in your circumstances, but then I've also seen you rise up like loyal and trusting Ruth to say to God, "Where you go, I will go."
I've seen you believe, like Samuel, that God has brought you this far and that He will continue to lead you forward.
I've seen you waiting expectantly and with steadfast hope that this life you never saw for yourself is going to somehow unmistakably turn out for God's glory and for your and your children's good.
Sweet friend, I have seen God's hand on you, stirring your heart, strengthening your faith, empowering your life. I know you are afraid. I know you are uncertain about so many things. I know you don't feel capable or strong or prepared. You don't have to feel them, but I want you to know that our God is making them evident in your life.
So I don't know what lies ahead, and today we won't worry about that. I just needed you to know that your faith, your perseverance, and your response to these trials have challenged me, inspired me, and blessed me in ways I could never even fully articulate. And your life has already given so much glory to our God and Savior.
He cares about you so much. He is tending to every detail of your life and will, in time, mend every wound in your broken heart. He will make beautiful things out of the dust you find yourself in right now. He loves you.
And I love you too.