Day 32 ~ Heartache & Hope

We’ve done our share of moving over the years; Hanford to Springfield, OR; Springfield to Ames, OK; Ames to Oakdale, CA; and Oakdale back home to Hanford. Five moves….five homes….five seasons of life….five times of making decisions about what stays and goes, what to toss and what to keep. My packing binder is an organizational thing of beauty and it’s kept us in good stead through each move, making quick work of finding everything from toothbrushes to paper clips!

There is, however one area I don’t think I’ve handled all that efficiently, because the last few weeks I’ve been finally….finally attempting to sort through the many boxes and bins that hold the things that aren’t easily sorted into sock drawers or kitchen cupboards. I’m going through the boxes that hold precious memories from literally our entire lives. And there are so many! Some I laugh through, some I can’t wait to share with Tom so we can remember together, and then there are some that I open, quickly assess the contents, feel the lump rise in my throat and slowly close back up for another day.

Did I mention I’m a saver?

Just today I came across my Shorthand Certificates from high school (Google it…) and Angels game ticket stubs from 1979! And those are the types of things I can smile at, shake my head at myself for holding on to for so long and then let them go.

But it hasn’t all been that easy, and the honest truth is there are some boxes that I’m fairly sure I’m not ready to look through yet. I’m that mom who still has a banker’s box of her kids’ preschool projects (don’t judge …) And it doesn’t stop there! There is something from every school, every year, every sport, every club, every church, every play and musical, every summer camp, every family vacation, every sweet card for birthdays and Mother’s Days….I still have them all. And maybe someday they won’t feel so priceless, but today they sure do.

I have dozens of journals that take me immediately back to the moments in time the words were written, some of them incredibly encouraging to my heart even today and some of them places I hope to never be again. Memories aren’t so simple these days – they hold all sorts of complicated emotions that leave me often laughing through tears and usually leave me longing for those days when I was stuffing away things that were precious just because they seemed important pages in the story of our family.

I’m not sure why this felt right to share on this Day 32 of Lent, except I know I’m not the only one struggling to live in the tension of grief and hope. In fact, that’s exactly where we are in the journey with Jesus just over a week before the most painful and sacrificial days of his life. There’s almost a heaviness in the air as we prepare ourselves to remember the hard road ahead for the one we love so much, but there is also great hope as well!

Something I’ve learned from this deep dive into family memorabilia is just how faithful God has been, and how he has so lovingly and intentionally gone before us in each step of our journey. Yes, there has been great sorrow and loss and yes, there are still some boxes that will remain unsorted until the time feels right, but there is also such assurance and grace, even in the hard places.

And most of all….there is hope.

So, if you are in your own season of grief, no matter what form it may be taking, please know you are seen….you are heard….and you are so very loved. God hasn’t abandoned you or forgotten your name – and you are definitely not alone.

Holding on with you,


About Shellie Warren

Welcome ~ I am a mom, a wife, a friend, a sister, a daughter, a dreamer and a writer. But most of all I am a woman of faith - I have a deep longing to know and love....God.
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