The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


The community came to me

When our granddaughter, Makenna, was born in June, I thought my heart would explode with joy. The whole room welcomed this little one into the world with laughter and tears. Too soon our joy turned to deep concern as she had a seizure and was diagnosed with a stroke and blood clots on her brain. When the best and worst times in life happen in the same hours, when joy and despair are parts of the same breath, our hearts can only turn to God for consolation, for hope, for new life.

In that moment of crisis I couldn’t be the pastor. I was the grandma, the mom and the mother-in-law. My prayers were silent, not public. My thoughts were on my daughter, Jill, and son-in-law, Chad, as their dreams of parenting unfolded into a nightmare of wires and IVs, monitors and machines, specialists and technicians.

I’m so proud of them for their courage, their stamina, their ability to remain connected in the midst of crisis. So when that old question comes up: “Where is God in the midst of our pain?” my answer remains: “God is with us in the midst of pain, guiding us, keeping us centered, lifting us up, flooding us with tears.” God’s love comes to us in the affection and concern given in community, the body of Christ. And so it happened for me, when I couldn’t be the pastor, the community came to me.

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