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Grief-stricken, thick-tongued, heavy-hearted

When I lost my daughter at birth, I was grief-stricken. I was lost, thick-tongued and heavy-hearted. This incredible loss was beyond pleadings, beyond anything I could have imagined, beyond prayer. Words did not come, only ache and tears.

And somehow, the ache and the tears, the groans too deep for words, were indeed the Spirit interceding and praying on my behalf. The more I embraced my grief, the more I knew that the Holy One who made me, who loves me and holds my life, was grieving with me. I had a physical awareness in my body of God pulsing with me in each wave of grief.

I am grateful that our God chooses to be with us in our suffering, vulnerable to the heartache of humanity. In Jesus, God shows us the depth of love that will suffer with us. We do not have a distant God who escapes suffering or who stands back and watches as we suffer. Our God makes the opposite move, leaning in toward suffering of the whole world and holding it all in divine love. Alleluia. Amen.

Dr. Amy Oden

Dr. Amy Oden is Professor of Early Church History and Spirituality at Saint Paul School of Theology at OCU. Teaching is her calling, and she looks forward to every day with students. Her latest book (Right Here, Right Now: The Practice of Christian Mindfulness, Abingdon Press, 2017) traces ancient mindfulness practice for Christians today.

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