{Not} Consumed

Because of the Lord’s great love for us we are not consumed, for his mercies never fail. They are new every morning. Great is thy faithfulness.

Lamentation 3:22-23

In the last 24 hours, I have read of three families who suffered deep and painful losses.

As I pray over these families who are in the darkest days, with the fresh open wounds of suffering, my heart goes back to “that awful week” which is how I refer to the days following Justin’s passing. Even having lived through that week, I only know my perspective; the grief of a wife mourning a husband, parents mourning a son, children mourning a daddy are still unimaginable to me. But I’m confident that God’s promises stand true no matter the perspective, and I am praying for the truth of these promises to surround these families in these dark days.

Here are some words I wrote after reflecting on that week.


Lamentation is an expression of sorrow, mourning, or regret.  It is also the book of the Old Testament that I was reading in that August day when we heard the news of Justin’s tragic passing.  My journals leading up to that had been a bit sparse, but two days earlier I had copied down Lamentation 3:22-23 and even taken a picture of this scripture in my bible.  “Because of the Lord’s great love for us, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning.  Great is thy faithfulness.”  As we drove up I-95 into the epicenter of lamentation, this was  the picture I saw there just a few photos back in my camera roll. 

No single word can describe that week for me – those few days between the news and the service.  The house was full with a steady stream of loved ones coming and going.  Kind neighbors were bringing food, children were running around, arrangements were being made.  Every bit of air in the house was heavy with shock, disbelief, and brokenheartedness . I had an acute awareness of Brooke, barely leaving her side.  When I stepped into the house I fully took on the role of sister, temporarily pushing aside Mom, Wife, Daughter, Sister-in-law.  It was all about Brooke in those days.  The horrifying list of things that had to be done and impossible decisions that had to be made created a frantic feeling. We tried as gently as possible to seek Brooke’s wishes, dreading the fresh wave of grief each question would bring. I clearly recall walking through the mostly-empty Belk one of those days thinking how wrong it was that I had to search for funeral outfits in the children’s department. In the evenings, when Brooke retreated to her room and most of the family left, we shifted focus to the children.  There was this need to be close to one another so all of the kids made pallets on the floor so the carpet was covered with a tangle of blankets, pillows, and bodies.  It was a strange contrast –a slumber party in a house of sorrows.  Jon and I rotated through the kids, lying with them one by one.  And finally, when the house was quiet, Jon and I fell into bed and he held me as I wept and wept. No single word can describe how I felt, weeping in bed those few nights, but the closest word I can find is consumed.  

After a fitful night’s sleep, twilight arrived and as I lie there in the quiet house the first rays of the morning sun give light to see a picture on the wall of this yellow room where Jon and I were sleeping.  Beautiful hand lettering delivered a different version of a very familiar promise: “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His Mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning.  Great is your faithfulness” ~ Lamentations 3:22-23.   From the rising of the sun, God sent his comfort to me – “dear child, you are NOT consumed.  I am faithful and full of mercy.” 

Eighteen months later after Brooke’s passing, we lamented again, but God had proven to me the truth of his promises. Grief was deep and there was still much weeping, but that week I did not feel consumed.  As we remembered Brooke’s legacy at her service, I sang these promises with confidence along with a sanctuary full of voices: “Great is thy Faithfulness, oh God our Father;…. Morning by morning new mercies I see.”   Words that Brooke loved and believed with her whole heart, and words that were made more beautiful after carrying us through the darkest of nights.


  1. Prayers continually surround your heart, precious Liz. Your words are truly anointed and a comforting balm. Love you and yours dearly!

  2. Jennifer Hamilton says

    Amen, may we seek to be consumed and anchored
    by the depths of Jesus Christ love and hope he
    has for us in our daily suffering and circumstances.

  3. Jeane Moore says

    I have you all in my prayers everyday. He stops me during the day, and brings thoughts of you all. Your words are comforting, I know they must help the children as well. Continued prayers for peace and comfort..