I sat deep into the corner of couch, my arms wrapped tight around myself, with ugly tears dripping off the end of my nose. It was the year I had lost a daughter to a failed adoption, lost my dreams to brokenness, lost my ideals to the anguish of barrenness.
It was agony.
She asked me what was wrong, and I wanted to give excuses for my hurt, but all I could manage through the tears and choking, was the mangled declaration that I knew for sure that I would never, ever be a mother.
And with all my hope ripped to shreds, I had nothing left.
It was after the tears had quieted that he spoke. My friend’s husband who was sitting across the room, praying over me with the gentleness of a father, he just leaned forward and said, “I kind of hate to say this and I’ve been hesitant, but I have a word from the Lord that I know I’m supposed to say. You’re going to have a child, Tasha. You are.”
When God leads you, hope becomes something deeper and wider than a mere thought. It becomes something called faith.
I was stunned, in awe of what God did. It was a sudden miracle that was years in the making, but a month later we were picking up our daughter. And this adoption wouldn’t fail. This child would stay in our home and our hearts and fill our lives with the beauty and glory and harshness of parenting.
God built hope right into me.
Time passed and we buried another daughter, brought another older adopted child home, mourned dreams, and celebrated goodness.
And God kept working, kept drawing, kept speaking LIFE into what I felt was beyond repair.
Because that’s just what He does. He is, He was, and He always will be the Author and Perfecter of our Faith.
I wrote the story into a book because that’s what He called me to. I wrote the words, wrote the truths, wrote the life and faith and hope that kept burning even when I couldn’t imagine how it would.
I titled the story Counting Grains of Sand and I shared all about how God taught me to delight in His promises, even when everything was crumbling around me.
I wrote and I cried and I worshiped.
Worship, as described in the Old Testament, is more than music–it’s something scholars call “covenant recital”. It’s the repeating of the God-stories. So this work was my worship and I placed it on the altar.
Then I stopped and looked around. I finally started picking up other women’s books—the stories they had written through their own tears and sorrow and unrelenting beauty—and I was stunned again.
Because God has been writing a similar story in so many of us.
It’s the God-story of this generation and it’s something to behold.
For years the church has responded to the world’s agony with theological studies on the problem of pain and brokenness and emptiness—but now something new is pouring forth from the pens of writers around the world who know and follow the Christ. It’s not theological answers, but testimonies of God’s relentless presence. Instead of trying to give reasons, we are simply doing our best to give our worship to the God who is.
It’s Ann Voskamp, and her eloquent words reminding us that God is calling us to live broken and through our brokenness we can reach a broken world with His presence. It’s the idea of our brokenness being the path God uses to share His life with the world.
It’s Sara Hagerty, with her quiet gentleness reminding us that God meets us in the mundane, the quiet, the secret– and it is from the unseen places that He transforms our hearts. It is the reminder that nothing is useless, nothing empty, when we are holding out our hearts and minds to Him.
It’s Katie Davis Majors, with her vivid life example, sharing about God being good and there being hope, even while this world serves us loss. It is her story of the poverty of Uganda meeting the God who gives life.
It is all of us, writing our worship, sharing the story that God wants this generation to know:
He is present.
When I received an Advanced Readers’ copy of Daring to Hope, I knew I would enjoy it but I had no idea how it would wrap around my heart and my mind and build me up in my empty places. Her story, which includes a lost-daughter, mirrored my emotions through losing our two daughters in a way that was impossible to ignore. And then the book began to feel astoundingly familiar.
I knew this story.
No, I didn’t know all the details of Katie’s story but I knew the God-story that He was painting into her life. I knew it because I had just written my own testimony of His presence.
Two years ago I wrote these words:
And always, God’s kindness leads us toward repentance and love. In fact, I guess you could say that God’s kindness is what leads us home.
And now, this book that just hit the market, written by a girl I’ve never met who lives in Uganda, it says,
Children dance in the firelight and their laughter echoes loud in the dark. I can’t help but think of all He has done here, the beauty He has made from nothing. I see His glory. I know His kindness, always calling us home.
I can’t help but realize that this is more than my story being similar to her story– this is the God-Story filling both our lives. And He is unchanging, should you live in a tiny town in Northern New York, or the dust of Uganda.
There is a reason we’ve all been called to write these stories, to share these testimonies, to bring this worship to the altar. Much of it is for our own hearts, to cement His truths into the essence of our beings, but some of it is for your heart as well.
- If you are struggling to hold onto hope and wondering where God is, pick up a copy of Katie’s Daring to Hope.
- If you are agonizing over the brokenness of this world and wondering where God is, grab a copy of Ann’s The Broken Way.
- If you feel confused over the promises of God and are wondering where He is, read Counting Grains of Sand.
- If you are feeling lost and unnoticed and wondering what God’s plans are and where He is, Sara’s Unseen may be just what you need.
But regardless of what you read or don’t read, I pray you know one truth: God is present. And our hope is not in vain.