I’ve been waiting for something to say, but there are no “right” words that have come to me to explain the heartbreak, doubts and immense number of questions that have messed with my mind for over two weeks. Norm said in his sermon what I’ve battled with in my heart… when we face a tragedy, we must also face the gap between what we know to be true and what we want to be true.
I know Nicole is free from pain, free from cancer and finally made whole. I know that God is sovereign. But I selfishly want more lunches with my friend where we can chat about marriage and children. I want to glean from her gentle heart and grow from her wisdom. I want her kids to know her touch and I want her husband to have his best friend by his side. I hate the hole that exists in so many lives now and I just want the emptiness to be gone.
I got the beautiful privilege of taking photos of the Hamlin family six times over the last three years. I watched their family grow from three to five and I brainstormed Christmas card ideas every October with Nicole – who was also obsessed with preparing for the holidays. As I looked back through each session, there were so many photos that caught me off guard. The sidelong glances Mark was always giving to his beautiful wife that just screamed of his affection for her, Nicole’s glowing laugh when the kids were being goofballs, and the stray hand in the corner of a few photos that reflect the desire Nicole had to care for and protect her babies.

Honestly, I think I’ve been in denial. But today I realized that pleading to know why or grasping to find a reason that makes sense has led me nowhere. Before Nicole was diagnosed, she shared a song on Facebook. I listened to it many times over those weeks – even writing out the words to hang on my computer – but I never grasped the depth of the song until I was driving home and heard “Nicole has gone to be with Jesus”.

“Though You slay me, yet I will praise you.
Though You take from me, I will bless Your name.
Though You ruin me, still I will worship.
Sing a song to the One who’s all I need.

My heart and flesh may fail.
The earth below give way. 
But with my eyes, with my eyes I’ll see the Lord lifted high on that day.
Behold, the Lamb that was slain and I’ll know every tear was worth it all.”

And then the clip from John Piper that I have been whispering to myself over and over… “It wasn’t meaningless. It’s doing something… of course you can’t see what it’s doing. Don’t look to what is seen…”

I may never see the meaning, but I am clinging to the truth that this is not meaningless. That someday every tear… every freaking tear will be wiped away. That even when my heart and flesh fail and the earth gives way and I scream “Why?!”, Christ’s sacrifice, punishment and death is still all that I need… Oh that Christ will shine through this brokenness and keep in His grasp those who are hurting.

If you would like to hear more of the story, Mark gave a beautiful tribute to his wife in the Lansing State Journal today.


2 thoughts on “Broken

  1. So beautifully expressed. I haven’t been able to express anything in writing because I don’t feel I can put it together adequately. You have expressed my feelings and thoughts, questions. Love you dear


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