It isn’t an actual word. Not really.
But I can’t think of a better word to describe the last two and half years in my world.
It has been brutal.
It has been beautiful.
I wish I could say I coined this word, but I saw it on an Instagram post from my lovely friend Angela Doell. She is the pastor of Relate church in Surrey. (if you live in that area and are looking for a church, check it out!)
My family has faced a tremendous amount of loss over the past few years.
Loss of relationships.
Loss of pets.
Loss of loved ones.
Loss of jobs.
Loss of health.
Loss of hope.
What we have learned is that loss is accumulative.
And time doesn’t heal all wounds.
Each loss has stacked up on the other, making it a heavier and heavier load.
Have you ever had to pack a lot of things at once? Or maybe pack a lot of items into a small space?
It takes constant readjustment with each new thing added. And it gets heavier and more awkward and also harder to navigate.
Experiencing a lot of loss in a short period is like this. Things stack up quickly and you work hard to adjust and adapt and readjust but it just keeps getting heavier and harder to hold.
When loss comes so quickly and unexpectedly you can really struggle to even manage to do the smallest of things.
It is brutal. Each breath just gets harder.
Each emotion just feels so overwhelming.
Even the smallest of tasks or conflicts can seem impossible to manage.
It can be incredibly crippling.
It can also be incredibly beautiful.
That might seem like a strange thing to say. And honestly I almost feel like a jerk for saying it. Because I know there will be people reading this who are in the midst of their greatest loss to date, overwhelmed and unable to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
But I promise you, that with JESUS, there can be breathtaking beauty in it.
Psalm 147:3 “He heals the wounds of every shattered heart.”
Matthew 5:4 “You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.”
Isaiah 61:3 “God has sent me to give them a beautiful crown in exchange for ashes,
To anoint them with gladness instead of sorrow,
to wrap them in victory, joy, and praise instead of depression and sadness.
People will call them magnificent, like great towering trees
standing for what is right.
They stand to the glory of the Eternal
who planted them.”
There is something so beautiful that grows between us and Jesus when we go through loss and still press into him, believe in him, and allow him to comfort us.
We can experience a grace unlike any other.
There is this beautiful exchange that happens.
Jesus comes close. So very close.
Psalm 34:18 “When someone is hurting or brokenhearted, the Eternal moves in close and revives him in his pain.”
There is nothing as sweet and beautiful as feeling the presence of Jesus so close that he is moving in your heart.
And this closeness grows us like nothing else can.
We become so interconnected, that we begin to see the very heart and mind of Christ moving, growing and flourishing within us.
I am certain this is the experience of the psalmist when they penned these words:
“Out of my deep anguish and pain I prayed,
and God, you helped me as a father.
You came to my rescue and broke open the way
into a beautiful and broad place.
6 Now I know, Lord, that you are for me,
and I will never fear what man can do to me.”
The brutal, through Christ, in Christ, with Christ, can break open a way to a beautiful and broad place.
A place where fear can no longer grip us.
A place of peace and comfort unlike any other.
We can make an exchange.
We can take our depression, our sadness, our loss back to Jesus and he will return to us something so much more valuable.
A heart of joy.
A mouth filled with praise.
A peaceful place that we can find shelter in when storms come and we face more loss.
Because unfortunately, we cannot escape the loss we experience in this world. It can be brutal.
But we can CHOOSE to allow it to mold us into something beautiful.