Grief, Growth, Change

Part 1

I woke slowly Tuesday morning with coffee and my lap top. With a blog post partly done, I turned to an interview, lessons, and a nap before realizing the Word document had disappeared.

Disheartened, I considered writing another day. But since NCIS was on with multiple commercials to ignore, I tried beginning again, with only lackluster results.

Earlier in the day, text after text had arrived, cancelling lessons. When the third one hit, I knew a hurricane was on the way. Or something. The air certainly felt odd when I opened the front door for my last student who left after dark. 

While making toast for dinner, I thought about how crazy it was that a swirling storm out over the ocean would soon fly through our skies. Since without radar, we’d be clueless—like my mom's biological father.

Just last week we learned more details about the Navy pilot's death. Considered lost at sea, we'd known he went down in a sea plane during a storm off the coast of Honduras. But my dad just found out that he died in Tropical Storm 10 on October 20, 1943.

In looking over the storm’s history, we saw that it caused minimal damage. Meaning, Paul Mohney died, unable to dock in the kind of storm we now see coming days ahead. 

As I stood at my front door and smelled the coming weather change, I savored the grand mystery of it all. 

Part 2

Trapped in that well of emotion, I never finished my post. Thoughts wouldn't form. So, I woke frustrated today. 

Bloggers are supposed to be consistent. Write at least once a week—on the same day. Yet, once again, an unmentionable encounter from yesterday stymied progress. 

I’ve had a lot of those lately. Deeply personal, hard conversations where I know God is at work in the deepest place, but that also wipe me out on some level. 

As I’ve reflected on the last year, I’ve listed a series of encounters where God orchestrated love in places of deep wounds. Thus, after years of living through challenging rejection, I now marvel at how in one year, a series of events and conversations have rewritten several stories from my past. 

I’d love to share them. But that time hasn’t come.

For now, as the season changes, and a hurricane burrows through, I ask: 

1)     Do you look for God’s healing hand in your wounded places? 

2) Do you expect Him to do above all you can ask or imagine? 

3) Do you live with the expectation that this Jesus walk is a lifelong journey meant to draw us closer to Him and thus allow “Christ in us—the hope of glory” to grow stronger than all the flavors of death this world serves up?

Even as another coastline is demolished by wind and waves, I believe wholeheartedly in redemption.

Part 3

My grandmother never buried her first husband since his body was lost at sea. Survivors testified that he spent hours joking with crewmen, assuring them that they would live to share the story with their children. 

But when the plane ran out of fuel and the waves battered on, the Navy pilot stayed until others climbed onto rafts. I like to think he went down, thinking about my grandmother who was only three months pregnant with my mom at the time. 

Paul Guy Mohney wasn’t declared dead for another year. But when his little girl entered the world, she was named, Paula Gay Mohney. And when she grew up, she married a Naval Academy graduate who defied many odds and became a navy pilot.

Big picture redemption, indeed.

Days of grief and growth often precede change. I waited over a decade to live out better endings for some of my stories. My grandmother, much the same.

So, if you're surprised by loss. Stunned by your story line. Or undone by recent events. Take heart. Breathe deep. Binge watch Call the Midwife. And give it some time.

“And then they’ll see the Son of Man enter in grand style, his Arrival filling the sky—no one will miss it! He’ll dispatch the angels; they will pull in the chosen from the four winds, from pole to pole" (Mark13: 26 - 27 MSG).


  1. Michael has dumped on us all day today. God is teaching me to trust him in the storms of life. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. Your writing is compelling.

    1. Cynthia, Thanks so much for commenting. Your encouragement means a lot. Hope you're drying out now. What a crazy storm. Blessings!!

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