About the Author

Jill is a writer, speaker, pastor, and author of five books. She specializes in faith and the next generation. She likes to travel, grow flowers, and break into random musical numbers. She believes in grace, kindness, justice, dark chocolate, and Earl Grey.

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  1. Jill,
    Oh how I needed to read your post this morning. I feel broken in spirit. I have endured another loss and I’m tired of mourning these losses. This line really jumped out at me: “… the past I imagined comforted me more than the present I knew.” Sometimes we glamorize the past in our imaginings. Trauma comes in differing degrees, but it’s still trauma. Thank you for your much needed reminder to lean into the Lord who led the Israelites out of slavery, and who can lead us out of our pain with His enduring love.
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

  2. I needed this devotional so much this morning. After 8 years of marriage, my husband began showing signs of severe mental illness and paranoia. When he would take his medication, his symptoms would subside and our life would return to some sense of normalcy. But he lacked insight to stay on the medication and just got sicker and sicker. He left my children and I a year and half ago, believing paranoid thoughts that I and his parents were out to hurt him. It has been such a long, painful season to lose an amazing husband and dad to such an insidious disease. The Lord has provided in so many innumerable ways, but at this point I just feel so rundown, traumatized and numb. Thank you so much for reminding me that even with seasons of pain that run for so long, our Lord is with us and it’s ok to feel discouraged and hopeless at times.

  3. AMEN!
    My son was amputated at the scene of a motorcycle accident 5 years ago, he was not to survive this ‘fatal accident’. I was so grateful he did, but it has been a long and grueling recovery. There have been times I have had to grieve what we have lost, lost and confused at my feelings as I was so grateful he was alive but confused I was feeling so many other feelings. I thought I just needed to be grateful, was actually ashamed I may have perhaps not been. God has lead me and guided me to feel it all, with no shame or guilt. He gave us feelings to feel. Healing is a journey, give yourself the Grace you need to feel it all, he loves you! Thank you Lord for never leaving my side. Grateful for it all, good and bad. Thank you for always bring me back to Peace, Love and Hope, you are my Rock and Comfort ALWAYS!
    AMEN!

    • Jill
      I was 10, my brother was 8 when we lost our mom to the insidious metastatic breast cancer. My dad worked 2 jobs so we could stay safe and fed. However, as children we raised ourselves. We were latch key kids before the term was ever around. My dad would give me 20.00 a week to buy groceries with my schwinn bike complete with baskets. I rode my bike once a month to the bank to pay the mortgage for my dad. The responsibilities I had would be considered neglect today. I lost my childhood cooking, cleaning, mowing the yard, shoveling snow, etc My dad would always say we had to stay working as a team. My brother suffered from PTSD and later schizophrenia. More trauma than a young person should have. He never remarried until we were in college because he didn’t want another woman raising his kids. God was good through out. I was raised in a college town and had the opportunity to use all the resources like the swimming pool, library and just the sheer beauty of my small town in New England. There was never any abuse, just a lot of hard work. My dad loved his beautiful wife and his 2 children. He suffered too. I just skimmed the surface, but I think you get the idea. I’m 65 now and have spent much time in reflection. I am loved by an amazing God who despite my traumatic childhood deserves my love and gratitude. Thank you Jill for your post. It meant the world to me to read of your bravery and Gods hand on you as well.

      • Thank you, Dee. I am so humbled today by the people who have been helped and encouraged. Your words are so appreciated. I felt a little of this, as I cared for the household while she was sick for a few years. And then my dad became an alcoholic because he also was lost without his wife. God is so good to hold us in these times.

  4. But what if you did this to yourself, you caused your trauma? I disliked my job and complained about it for years, and quit last May with the fears of the pandemic as an excuse. Despite praying about it and apologizing to God I still feel guilty everyday, that I ignored God’s wishes and did as I chose, rather than what He wanted, which I am guessing is that He wanted me to be working there…

    • I don’t know if God wanted you to stay or not, Nancy, but I do know that if so, the moment you asked forgiveness for going your own way, it was granted. However that chapter of your life was closed, can you see God as wanting to lead you forward to the next part? Crossing that Red Sea? No matter what causes God’s children pain, it hurts him because of his deep love for you. Love keeps no record of wrong, right? (1 Cor 13). And God is love. I’ll pray today that you find release.

    • Nancy,

      You don’t have to feel guilty for doing your thing. If you asked forgiveness God will graciously grant it. He will forget about it & move ahead. Praying God will give you peace & guide you on your journey. May He show you the next steps to take.

      Blessings 🙂

  5. Loss is the hardest part of life. Sometimes the hole in your heart never heals and the grief lingers. After reading your story this morning, the word HOPE is missing. When people give up HOPE, even for a second, suicide can happen. Our Hope is in the Lord. Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted. Matthew 5:4. Look and Seek our Lord’s comfort each day and keep a journal of your thoughts, or journal in your mind. This Holy Week is the miracle of Love conquering All, even death.

  6. Thank you, Jill! This is so comforting! I had my mom all through my young adulthood and I still didn’t know how to cook, when I got married. Teaching was not my mom’s super power. But love was. And I’m so thankful for the years we had her with us.

    • Honestly, teaching wasn’t my mom’s super power either, and–she was not a good cook! So that might have been just as well. 🙂 But we remember the past with rose colored glasses, especially when it comes to our loved ones. And I think that’s OK.

  7. So sorry you suffered that terrible loss at such a young age, Jill. Thanks for the reminder that God is with us in whatever trauma we experience and he’ll stay with us through everything.

  8. Jill,

    Traumas & loss at any age are hard to handle. You wonder if you’ll ever feel “normal” again.
    Fortunately we have a God who understands our emotions & doesn’t rush us into a rallying march of victory. He empathizes with us when we cry out in anguish. Jesus gives us time & space to share our feelings. He comes down & comforts us with a love like no other.

    Blessings 🙂

  9. Jill,
    So sorry for your loss of your Mom at such a young age. Thank-you for your encouragement this morning, and the reminder of God’s love.
    Blessings,
    Penny

  10. Thankyou for this. My deep grief is the loss of my husband to Cancer . The future is scary to even think about

    • I am so sorry, Tricia. I’ve helped a friend through widowhood these past two years, so I’ve seen a lot of the fear and grief. It’s such an unfair end to your hope and dreams. Praying for you and your future.

  11. Thank you Jill for sharing. I’m so grateful for your words today. I have 2 nieces that were young teenagers when their Mom, my sister, died of breast cancer. Today they are women with children of their own. I’ve always tried to be a comfort for them, reminding them I’m here if they need anything, but until I read your story I had no idea how hard “Mom” life must be for them sometimes. How tender their hearts must feel when they look at their babies and can’t pick up the phone or send a cute picture to gramma. How they don’t get to share “all the firsts” like kindergarten or a bike ride. How to get through the day when it’s just hard to be a Mom and you just want to talk to your own Mom.
    I think my compassion will have such a different perspective now…and with the added scripture…
    Thank you!

    • Thank you, Janet. I am sure you’ve been a great and loving aunt to them. I’m sorry for your loss, too. I’ve lost two sisters as well. It’s all so painful. I am so happy you will take something from this to encourage them.

  12. “He understood the prophets who wished they’d never been born.” This sentence…….. I have struggled with this feeling for as long as I can remember. To see it here today, is indescribable. To grow up hearing “if you hadn’t been born………” leaves a lasting stain on your heart and mind. A reminder to me “…a broken spirit. It was trauma from all that had happened…” and trauma of any kind takes time to heal. I really needed to read this today. Today has been hard as I am struggling with not being over it all yet.

    • Oh my friend, I am so sorry you heard those words. I can’t imagine more painful ones to a child’s heart. God is so glad you were born. Not just resigned or has to love you–God is positively joyous you exist. And he weeps at what you endured. I am so grateful and humbled you were helped. One day at a time. I don’t think there is a “being over it all.” But there are days when the future is better and hope is real.

  13. Thank you for sharing! I also had to learn to be a mom and a woman without my mother. Although she is not dead. God is definitely always there for us and fills the holes in our hearts.

  14. Oh my goodness how I needed to read this! It is EXACTLY, EXACTLY what I was just talking to my Christian counselor about earlier today. Almost cried reading it

  15. Decades of complex trauma that I’m trying to crawl out from under. And when I thought I was coming to terms with every broken dream and hope, I now deal with a country that shows me that people who look like me deserve violence and hateful attacks. The church has remained completely silent as have people I once thought of as friends. My faith is shredded as am I. I don’t even know if I believe anymore but that God is wrathful and cruel.

    • Christine, I am so very sorry, and I know that sorry is not enough. The church has failed in many, many ways to do what we are called to do. I can only tell you that, as a pastor myself, I am learning and working toward doing better and creating a just community around me. You have good reason not to trust people who won’t speak and act to value the image of God in people of color. I am glad you’re working through your trauma. I am sorry for those who have contributed to it.

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