I was already in my pajamas last night when Tim came to the bedroom to tell me we had company.

They had no idea how tired I was and yet how badly I needed to see their faces……………..

on this very evening.

There’s a lot going on in my life right now.

Many good things.

Some not so good.

An unexpected visit from one of Nick’s very best friends was like medicine to my soul.

The story Brandon shared about the gift in his hand washed over me like a refreshing rain on a hot summer day.

“I was in Huntington shopping and feeling really down,” he said.  “It was one of those times when I was having a really hard day and then I turned around and this cup was right in front of me on a shelf.  I had to buy it!  I shared the story of what the cup meant to me with the praise team at my church and now we give each other thumbs ups all the time.”


As I held the cup, covered in tiny images of hands with their thumbs up, I could feel the memory of Nick filling up my entire soul.  The thought of Nick’s life still helping Brandon on a difficult day was enough to remind me that God never wastes our pain.  It’s easy for me to think everyone has moved on and found happiness on the other side of Nick’s life, and for the most part that makes me happy.

There’s another part of my heart, though, that wants time to stand still and no one to move on or be okay with Nick’s absence…………..ever.

Grief has a way of gripping tight.

I’ve worked so hard to break free of it.

At the very same time, I’ve found myself running back into its arms time and time again.

It’s as if hugging grief is my only way to feel Nick’s presence.

The truth is though, Nick is always with me.  It’s just that when I get too far away from my grief, I’m not the person God wants me to be.  It’s not that He wants me to be sad.  I just believe He doesn’t ever want me to forget the deep ache of my great losses……………..

because it’s this very ache that keeps me grounded to the hearts of others who ache too.

And I feel so called to the hurting.

Maybe that’s why grief showed up last night and spoke through a coffee mug.

Maybe it wanted to remind me that………………………

Grief will always be my relentless and complicated friend.

It whispers loudly – even on a noisy street with horns blaring and engines roaring you can hear it.

When grief wants to speak, it doesn’t take “I can’t hear you,” as an answer.

It will even show up late at night in the form of a coffee mug if it has something to say.

Last night, I felt grief saying,

It’s okay to still walk with me.

You aren’t alone in your pain.

Nick’s buddy still walks with me too.

I guess a grieving mom just needs to know life has changed for others who miss her child too.

This knowledge frees us up to live a little more fully,

as if the shared pain lessens our own ache just enough to breathe again.

Brandon and Abby brought joy and hope to me tonight in the form of a coffee mug, and I’m sure they had no idea just how happy I was to seem them as I stood there in my robe, glasses on, make-up off, hair a mess.

If you’re walking with grief, don’t fight it.

You’ll find it to be one of your very best friends, shaping you into the person God wants you to be as your heart aches.

Brandon and Abby, I love you so much.

Thank you for still thinking of me and Tim as you move forward in your beautiful life together.

We’re always here for you!

We’re proud of you!

And we love you so much!

I’m sipping from my new treasure this morning, and it’s speaking hope and peace into my day.

Thank you so much for a coffee mug that I feel confident will have something new to say to me every single morning.

brandon thumbs up