Joy in the Mourning

I discovered Compassion through loss. We all arrive here in different ways, and for me it came through the deepest, most mind-numbing grief I have ever known.

As I stared at a table full of child packets, my heavy, broken heart was looking for some relief in the faces of a hundred children. I picked up the packet of a small boy, about the same age as my beloved nephew when he died.

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For two years, I had worn sorrow like heavy armor, protecting myself from any further pain but also keeping out any comfort I might receive. Even at the moment of sponsorship, I can honestly say I didn’t want to do it.

Since the day of my nephew Kyle’s accident, God had been trying to draw me to Himself, and I wanted to be left alone. But I was fully aware of His relentless pursuit and knew He wanted to use my grief for His glory. The moment of sponsorship was my surrender.

Through the simple act of sponsorship and opening myself up to a relationship with a child I had never met, my Savior called me out of the darkness and allowed me to discover the “peace of God that transcends understanding,” which Paul writes about in Philippians 4:7.

He gently ushered me out of a preoccupation with my own pain and led me to a place where I could fully serve Him.

I wish I knew then what I know now, but as C.S. Lewis wrote in A Grief Observed, “You can’t see anything properly while your eyes are filled with tears.” The perspective gained through my family’s experience I would never wish on anyone, but I cherish it now like a valuable heirloom.

The place in my heart that held pain now holds immense love and joy.

Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. —Lamentations 3:32, NIV

Prayer: Father, we pray Isaiah 43:2–3 back to You: When we pass through the waters, You are with us. When we walk through the fire, we will not be burned. For You are the Lord, our God, the Holy One of Israel, our Savior. In our pain and grief, keep our eyes, minds, and hearts fixed on You. Thank You for being our peace and our hope.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Marie Hagen works as a Director of Development at the Global Ministry Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.

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2 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Andrea July 30, 2012

    I can really relate to this post. I also discovered the joy of sponsorship through mourning. After two miscarriages and the loss of identical twins to twin-twin transfusion syndrome, I was searching for a way to celebrate the lives of my four little angels and find healing for my sorrow. Sponsorship through Compassion International provided an incredibly meaningful way to do just that – and now four precious Bolivian children are part of our family – Compassion even helped us find a set of twins!

    1. Marie August 1, 2012

      God bless you, Andrea. Thanks for sharing your story. My heart breaks for you but I am glad you have found some healing through sponsorship.

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