Saturday, April 27, 2013


I was blessed to attend the Chris Tomlin - Louie Giglio - Kari Jobe worship concert in Seattle last Saturday. Still singing the songs, still feeling the Spirit, still smiling at all God spoke to me and healed in me. Some of it celebratory, some of it tough truths. This one had me weeping...

"In Your everlasting arms all the pieces of my life..."
My life feels like it's in pieces - more so the past couple of years. I'm not THAT old, but I can look back and see the "pieces" of my life so far... some amazing, some horrible. What a comforting thought that they're all held in God's loving, everlasting arms.

"Whatever comes my way, I will trust You..."
Whatever? Honestly, that's not easy to say for me. Only in God's strength can I say that because I know He's carried me this far... and He won't let me go. Ever.

The past few weeks have thrown me into a new twist in my grief process. I was thrown when I heard my grief counselor, our counselor, our counselor-turned-friend passed away on April 1st. What a blow! This was the sweet woman who listened to our story, Anna's story, and encouraged us and prayed with us. She gave us Godly insight into ourselves and our marriage as we worked through our grief. She cried with us and laughed with us. She was possibly our only objective outlet, and man, I really miss her. I wasn't done talking with her. Not only do I miss her, and grieve my loss of her counsel and friendship in my life, but it feels strange to wonder where all our conversations went. (???) Does that make sense to anybody else? All I shared with her - all those meetings Matt & I sat with her and cried over our frustrations and feelings - all those words...

I know somehow they're not gone. They remain in my heart and mind (and some in my journal). And the basis of what Mary Gayle taught us was Truth, so I know that is eternal. But knowing SHE IS GONE from this earth... that takes my Anna-girl loss a little more out of reach... I don't like that feeling. But I'm already finding more peace day by day as I process and God has begun to show me healing graces within these stories.

At the concert I mentioned above, God showed me that as I was worshiping Him, Anna Joy and Mary Gayle were, too. Right then! It wasn't a here and there type of thing, but a here and NOW - together thing!! I saw them so joyful and complete and fulfilled, and that brought a bit more healing to my broken spirit. 

Oh, that I could stay more eternal-minded! Even after all I've experienced, I struggle with staying there. 

God, help me. I want to say, "whatever comes my way, I will trust You". 
Your arms are everlasting. And I'm SO thankful you can handle with care all the pieces of my life... from beginning to the end.


  1. Beautiful words, Alissa. You have endured so much. Thank you for sharing your story here for us to be blessed along the way. Father thank you for sending healing graces. Thank you for all the ways you have cared for this hurting family. Amen

  2. Your story continues to inspire me. Your careful handling of people, and how much respect and care you give to the life of your daughter Anna. We all walk our own paths in grief, yet hearing of how another is getting through helps us all. Blessings to you and Matt.

  3. OH thank you for sharing your I was reading I saw all of those conversations and moments with Mary Gayle and Anna Joy loving cupped in the hands of Jesus. I got a sense that He treasures them closely to His heart. I am so thankful for your Blog it brings me closer to Jesus each time I read it. I was in worship yesterday at an event and I just got the sense that I wanted to stay there and not finish.... I just wanted to stay in that place at Jesus feet and oh what sweet victory when we do that very thing at the feet of Jesus...

  4. Alissa, Mary Gayle was my grief counselor as well, through a very difficult time. I'm going through another season of deep grief (chronic illness) and I so often think of her. I miss her, too. Thanks for sharing this.

  5. Alissa, I don't think the words between you, Matt and Mary Gayle are lost; they're with you and Matt, and Mary Gayle has taken them to God where he'll hear them firsthand. I'm sorry you lost your friend. As we all look to our life lived, everyone has pieces and all of them represent good and bad in various sizes and shapes. I don't think you can help God to help us if we don't add the dimensions of life to share. I believe that everything we encounter is a test from God and it's how we handle it that makes our belief in God so strong and ongoing. Anna's part in your life is a major dimension to what will be a very full life, if you let life continue to happen without repressing the now and future by the past. I trust that you will. Blessings. debbie