The Same Ache

I was halfway through sweeping up the crumbled edges of leaves carried in by my kids’ feet when it hit me that gratitude can feel a lot like sadness. These are grateful days, with the light slanting golden and rust through changing trees and our hours full of the things that matter most. The grace of it presses and aches in my chest the way grief did before in the unexpected leaving of home and community and ministry.

And I remember again the abundance in letting go.

The winding weight of those long months carved a canyon to welcome this rush of beauty now. Somewhere along the way the bitter ache bled slowly into the sweet, and I couldn’t tell you where one ended and the other began.

Grief and gratitude aren’t separate. They’re one continuum, one story. They both pull at the tight edges of our hearts because they overlap into the same eternal truth — this world is a broken place that is being made new.

Jesus said He came to give us abundant life (John 10:10). Not easy life, or comfortable or pleasant.


Life that overflows, rushes beyond our boundaries, stretches us to hold more than we ever thought we could.

And just a few chapters later Jesus said something that took that astonishing promise and made it overwhelming: “…I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me” (John 14:6, NLT, emphasis mine).

He is Life. The abundance Jesus offers is Himself.

That ache we feel where we’re pressed deep by loss or stretched wide by beauty — it’s all just thirst to be filled by the only One who can completely satisfy.

“But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” ~John 4:14, NLT


  1. Lenora Jean Davis
    Nov 5, 2018

    I always appreciate your writings! Thank you for sharing!

  2. Linda Weissenburger
    Nov 5, 2018

    Your insight is astonishing. Certainly part of the gifts you’ve been given. You articulated here something I’ve experienced but couldn’t identify. Thank you!

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