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Giving Sorrow Words


My joy in the jungle: Friday night kids services in a Shuar village

My joy in the jungle: Friday night kids services in a Shuar village

“Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak knits up the o-er wrought heart and bids it break.”        –Shakespeare’s Macbeth

Shakespeare’s advice is practical but painful. In fact, giving into grief is pretty much at the top of my list of “Things I Never Want To Do.” And yet, here I type with the plan to do as The Bard biddeth.

It’s been over seven months since I left the Ecuador. However, it’s not been more than 24 hours since my mind wandered back there. My thoughts pose and twirl, linger and sway as if my mind is performing a lyrical dance of memories. But rather than burst into applause, the audience — my heart — mourns.

A season of life that I loved is over. Days that I adored are over. The person I was is washing away with sweep of the second hand. Honestly, it hurts.

Those are dangerous words to speak because people just don’t get it — and what people don’t understand, they judge. Some might say, I’m too emotional. Others will say get over it. And then there are those who suggest if I was truly following God, I shouldn’t grieve — and I’d be apt to agree with them. That is until recently.

A few months after we returned to the states, I became frustrated with my constant yearning for Ecuador. I reminded myself of some of the very things that people had suggested to me. But no matter how much I prayed, or looked on the bright side of life, the feelings kept overwhelming me.

One day, I specifically ask God to take away the sadness and the longing. He said no. I was a little surprised by His answer but then He explained. It went a little something like this:

“Death doesn’t only come to the body. Death comes to every part of life. It’s reflected in everyday you live. The light of day signifies life; the dark of night mimics death. Even the seasons succumb to its influence. Your jungle life has to die, so you can live the new life I’ve called you to. It’s okay to mourn, to grieve, when faced with death. You fought HARD to love the jungle life, and it feels like a complete loss to be asked to let it go.  So be sad, but know that nothing you ever give up for me will be wasted. No pain you ever felt as you’ve walked in My will goes unnoticed. I will redeem every moment of your life.”

So, I mourned. Some days I still do, but what I’ve discovered is the grief is slowly being replaced with excitement for the future. God provided my joy and purpose in the jungle; He’ll do the same in the mountains. God took another step of perfecting Himself in my heart in the heat of the jungle; He’ll do the same in the chill of the mountain snow.

Shakespeare had the right idea when he said unspoken grief breaks a heart. I’ll add that finding the words to speak of it is much like a wrestling match in the mind. But today on both accounts, heart and mind, I win.


Can you remember a time in your life where grief didn’t apply to losing someone you loved to death? If so, please encourage us with how you moved past your mourning.




Happy Endings Do Exist

The Hall Homeschool

The Hall Homeschool

In the past year, I’ve said goodbye to a lot in my life. First was the life of a foreign missionary. In that farewell came the next goodbye – life as a Spanish speaker. And most recently I’ve said adios to being a homeschooling mother. I mourned the loss of the first two but might have done a little dance when the last one ended.

Please understand I believe homeschooling is a gift for families who have the ability to do so. But for us, our gift had reached an expiration date. (Many homeschooling parents will tell you that expiration date seems to rear it’s ugly head a few times each year- especially in the spring.)
For three years SoccerAce, Sassafras, and I have spent the days teaching ourselves and each other: SoccerAce the history/math whiz, Sassafras the organizer, and me the supervisor. While there were sweet moments of family laughs and unforgettable memories, I spent much of my time re-learning algebra and nagging. Just typing that sentence makes me cringe. If you know me, the last thing I want to spend my time doing is nag and fight with algebraic equations. In fact, I despised it.
So as the expiration date for Hall Homeschool neared, I experienced giddiness with an inkling of nostalgia. Giddy because I didn’t have to wrestle for hours (not an exaggeration) with logarithms, polynomials and variables, exponents, and trigonometric expressions. Giddy because my children didn’t have to hear me repeatedly say:  “What have you gotten accomplished?”  “Why haven’t you finished that assignment yet?”
But even with giddiness and a feeling of William-Wallace-FREEDOM, I have felt I still find myself a little sentimental about the years I’ve spent educating my children. For the most part, it’s been just us in the house each day. Just us sharing breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Just us taking a break to watch a movie or a favorite TV show. Just us in the first hours of morning doing our devotions. Oh, how I’ve enjoyed “just us.”
This fall I will be mother to two high-schoolers! Even crazier, is that one heads off to college in just two years. No matter how much I wish I had a time freezing machine, it just won’t happen. Honestly though, I’m okay with that. I know huge adjustments face us, but I also know that God has great plans for each of us. It’s an end to one season of life but a chance to find new meaning and purpose to another season. (I for one would like to blog more.)
Through this transition, my heart is focusing one thing: smiling at the future (Proverbs 31:25). I will see our homeschooling days for what they were: a sweet gift. I will not spend my days wishing to relive them or keep my children from spreading their wings.
There will always be ends that we celebrate and ends that we mourn — and some call for a little of both. But like Dr. Seuss says, “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” So you’ll find me smiling and being grateful for a gift I was given. I think they call those happy endings!