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Hurting With Hope

Last month, Josh and I had the privilege of attending a conference hosted by Levi Lusko and Lisa Harper. Two of our absolute favorite people to learn from.


Days after Eleanor passed away, a mentor of ours sent us Levi’s book, Through the Eyes of a Lion, a book he wrote about the death of his own daughter five days before Christmas. We both read the book in about four days. It was the only thing that brought us any sense of hope.


We then started binge watching all of Levi’s messages from his church, Fresh Life. We had never heard of him before encountering our own moment of suffering and we loved the way he preached the gospel without any fluff. He spoke on painful topics, about how life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. It was the only thing we would watch after the kids went to bed.


I’ve been a long-time huge fan of Lisa Harper’s podcast and her bible studies. Her study on the book of Mark is what brought me back to the bible after losing Ellie. I whole heartedly wanted to be done with the whole Christian walk thing. But I gave her study a shot, and am so thankful that she helped me see the real Jesus that my heart was aching for.


I had no idea that we would have the opportunity to sit front row, to tell them a little snippet of our story, and get to encounter a new level of healing that night.


I’m usually very introverted. I don’t like speaking in front of large groups of people. I’m shy and reserved. But I also felt an overwhelming need to share how these two people, who played such a pivotal role in Josh and I’s initial healing, sharing a stage in the exact city our tragedy took place, was not a coincidence.


Josh shared first, and naturally we both started crying. And they both walked over to us and just wrapped their arms around us. Lisa sat in the empty chair next to me and just held me while I cried.


And it was the biggest display of why God sent his son Jesus.


To sit with us.


In our aching.

In our misery.

In our moments of darkness.


When we bring our mess, our questions, our doubt, to the table, Jesus meets us there. He occupies the empty chair beside us.


When we are honest, when we are vulnerable, when we stop pretending like we have it all together, we reveal the opportunity for divine healing to enter in.


I was a wreck that entire conference.


Strangers laid hands on us and prayed over us. They cried with us. They came up to us sharing their own encounters with grief, and told us to just keep holding on. It was such a special moment.


At the end, we were asked to come up and light a candle, representing that God’s light will always overcome darkness.


Levi gave us the candle and told us that when we light it, to always remember that the darkness will never win. It will always be overcome.


And that, “worship that hurts like hell heals like heaven.”

When we lift our hands in worship on the days where we just don’t want to, God’s presence is felt even more. Sometimes, a teary-eyed, whispered, “Thank you, God,” is the most beautiful form of worship, because it's all we have to offer.


Being able to pour our hearts out to someone who gets it, someone who went through what we are currently walking through, was such a significant moment. Seeing someone who suffered unimaginable grief and heartache still cling onto the hope that God promises was a refueling for our soul.


God always promises to meet us in our valley.


Life may not look the way we thought it would. But we will always choose to continue chasing after God’s promises.


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