Monday, February 22, 2016

Loss or Tragedy? with Guest Jessica Snell

Sometimes loss is just loss: a missed opportunity, a broken glass, a favorite earring you can’t find. It’s sad, but not life-changing. You’ll move on, and forget it in the next few days or weeks. But sometimes loss is a tragedy.

Last year I spent a long time working through stories of tragic loss as I edited the contributions to “Not Alone”. Here were stories of losses that mattered, that mattered deeply, and that never will stop mattering: babies who never made it to their births, babies wanted but never held, longed- for children whose parents won’t get to meet them this side of heaven.

I can’t even hold the idea of these losses in my heart without wincing and wanting to put the thought of them down. But, oh! did I learn something from the contributors who shared these stories!

Here is their testimony: they turned towards the Lord. Over and over again. In sadness and confusion, yes, but also in their rage and their anger. Like the psalmist, they turned to the Lord in the midst of their grief and confusion.

Not after they’d gotten over it. Not when after they’d figured out how to package their losses into a neat little bundle. (In fact, I’m not sure these sorts of things are entirely gotten over this side of heaven. I’m not sure they should be.)

Their pattern of turning towards the Lord is a testimony to all of us—even those who haven’t suffered a tragic loss quite like theirs.

This “turning towards” is the very pattern God shows us in the Psalms: in the Psalms, we find God’s people crying out to Him while their souls are overwhelmed, while their tears are their food day and night, while they are downcast and mourning.

God sees in the dark. More than that, He sees us in the dark. The darkness is not dark to Him. The night is as bright as the day.

Our nights—our deepest, darkest, hardest nights—are places where the Lord still sees us and still knows us. The evil of the world and its losses do not surprise Him, and they do not overwhelm Him.

Turn towards God. Always. When you don’t know what to do, when the darkness overwhelms you. This is what I’ve learned from the contributors of “Not Alone”, who have been through things that would break me (and who would be the first to tell you were things that broke them): I have learned to turn towards the Lord. Never away. Not even when I doubt. Especially not when I am afraid.

Always turn towards the Lord. He is there, and He can see in your darkness.

Jessica Snell is the General Editor of Kalos Press and she regularly writes about faith, family, and fiction on her blog.  She and her husband live in sunny Southern California with their four children.

Social media/website links: 

Our society understands how terrible the loss of a child is when that child is out of the womb, but what about when a child dies before birth? Or what about the emptiness that comes when a very-much-wanted child is never even conceived? These quiet, private losses are hard for those who have not experienced them to understand. And these losses leave those who have suffered them feeling alone in their grief. 

Not Alone: A Literary and Spiritual Companion for Those Confronted with Infertility and Miscarriage is a resource both for those who have suffered through these experiences and for their friends and relatives, who want to understand what their loved ones are going through.

Buy links:
"Not Alone" paperback on Amazon
"Not Alone" Kindle on Amazon 
"Not Alone" paperback on Barnes & Noble
"Not Alone" on the publisher's website


  1. I am definitely sharing this....this is a book that is needed by many people. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Chaplain Debbie - thank you so much for the kind comment. I hope the book is able to help the people you know and minister to!

    And to Crystal and the rest of the Stitches writers: thank you so much for allowing me a chance to share on your blog. I really appreciate the opportunity.

  3. Thank you for your thoughtful insights. All of us, at some point in our lives, have need of surrendering all and just "turning towards God". Jessica, you have provided a valuable resource.