When I was pregnant with my little girl, I was working as a therapist at the county mental health clinic. At about 7 or 8 months along, I remember sitting with a client who was deeply troubled by depression and losing the fight in finding a reason and a will to continue living. With every question I offered, he fired back another cause for hopelessness or despair.
Eventually, the conversation petered out and we were left sitting with each other in the thick of his grief. It was then that my little Eden Joy started to dance and wiggle in the womb. I shared with him that she was kicking, and together we watched my belly move. The contrast of life and death in that moment was breathtaking. And the stretch of that tension grew my heart to a capacity I didn’t know it was capable of.
What’s even more wild is to consider how big God’s heart is, with all that it holds. It dawned on me once, as I was serving at an orphanage in Senegal, that God’s heart is so big!
He sees every orphaned child, every man and woman curling up on a doorstep to sleep for the night, and every last breath breathed by a child dying too young.
Likewise, God is front and center for every beautiful union formed in marriage, the miraculous conception of every child, and the random acts of kindness that go otherwise unseen.
And his heart can hold it all. It stretches wide enough to hold space for the deepest pains and grandest joys and the breadth of tension in between the two. What a sweet gift to know he has room to hold us closely in his heart as well.
God is sovereignly aware of the coexistence of good and evil on this earth. And as I grapple with how to live in a world that presents daily travesty alongside hope-filled new beginnings, I take comfort in trusting a God who sees and knows.
Though the balance of holding hardship and joy in either hand can cause us to feel unsteady or confused, it’s the very practice of withstanding that tension that strengthens our hold. We can learn to navigate circumstances that seem to be forever unresolved, sit with discomfort, and lean into the God who has come before.
2 Chronicles 16:9a
For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.
About the Author
Britni is a quiet but fearless spirit who is earnestly seeking the beauty of the redemption that Jesus has personally determined for her life. Committed to the truth that listening breeds understanding and understanding results in compassion, she clings to the power of life’s stories. She has embarked on the venture of discovering her own story and lending an ear to the stories lived out in others and savors the trace of Jesus that is woven throughout them all. Currently, that journey has landed her in a balancing act between the role of wife, momma, and a mental health Care Coordinator.