where i give us permission to grieve.

Things in my life haven’t exactly turned out like I planned.

When I was seven, I was going to be a Broadway star by the time I grew up.  Or President of the United States.  Or a brain surgeon.

Clearly that worked out for me.

When I graduated college with no sign of a “ring by spring”, I adjusted my plans declaring 25 as the perfect age to get married. That would give me a few years to enjoy life on my own before settling down into wedded bliss.

When 25 came and went, I declared that was really ok just as long as I was married by 30.  At the time, I couldn’t imagine much worse than being a thirty year old spinster.  Turns out, I would survive.

I’ve since made a bargain with the Lord about 35 and what things I’ll take into my own hands if that number comes and goes [hint: this involves a brown baby from Africa], but we both know I’m kidding.  Mostly.


Jobs I thought were long-term that ended after a season, friends I thought were forever [isn't that what the song says?] that drifted further away, shifting family dynamics–I am the oldest, but no longer the first to any new milestones–no, life has not turned out exactly like I planned, often sending me right back into the wilderness just as the promise came into sight.

And over the past three weeks you’ve told me your stories.  Jobs ended and no new ones can be found. babies wanted and babies lost. families longed for, relief asked for, change hoped for.  I had no idea the honor it would become to be entrusted with your wilderness longings.  And they’ve wrecked me.

I’ve wept for your disappointments and mine.  I’ve wept at the sweetness of the Lord even here, right here in the middle of the desert.  I’ve asked why and how long, even though I know those questions aren’t the point.  But they keep me turning to Him and I think that might actually be the point.

And so today, for one day, I think we need permission to mourn.  Guys, I’m always going to bounce back up towards the ascent. I’m the eternal optimist who will forever find the victory despite how great is the obstacle that we face.


We are disappointed.  The future we imagined may not ever turn out like we planned.  The sweetness of the past might never be fully recreated again.  And we will come back around to all the true things that those statements imply.  But for today, may I be so bold as to give us permission to grieve.

To let out the deep breath you’ve been holding in.  However ragged and shaky, let out your sigh.

To release tears to flow freely–they are not a sign of weakness.

To cry out, “But I thought, I hoped, I wanted,” even while knowing “He is, He will, He can.”

Disappointment may be the mantra of the desert, our expectations mirages that slip away before we can arrive.  But grieving gives value to our unmet expectations, acknowledging their sacredness in our lives.

And so, I declare this space holy for those that would like others to acknowledge the loss in their lives.

I won’t ever be a “young” mom.  But the good news is that I could run for President when I turn 35.

What are you grieving? And how can we mourn with you?

31 days of truth.

This post is part of 31 days of truth from the wilderness.  Click here to see all blogs in this series.

  • Jordan

    i like this. and some days the honest, raw grieving actually brings a relief–at least to me. i appreciate your vulnerability, and i absolutely love your heart, and how you express it. thanks for sharing.

  • Merridith Snyder

    Thanks for sharing, Kelly. I feel like I’ve been holding onto a couple of friendships by my pinky, and continually hoping that things would go back to how they once were. So this hits home.Thanks.

    • http://kellychadwick.org/ Kelly Chadwick

      Our pinky is so much stronger than we’d expect! And that loss is so real.

  • ashley higgins

    gah. thank you for this. so many of us need this permission. as i was reading it, all i could think about was how i am thankful that seasons and people in my life have been so good that when they are over and gone they warrant and require grieving. that thankfulness also gives me hope that goodness is coming or is already here.

    love you kel!

  • Mark Schandel

    In one day (yesterday), three potential jobs slipped out of my fingertips. Although small in the grand scheme of life, they’re big losses of the here and now. Thanks for writing today.

    • http://kellychadwick.org/ Kelly Chadwick

      oh yes, big losses of the here and now. I am sorry, Mark. And I will grieve with you.

  • Carly

    thanks for this. there have been disappointments in my life – my fiance passed away when we were planning our wedding 5 years ago and that scary number 30 is coming up way too fast, i moved to Nepal to “change the world” but turns out the world is a bit harder to save than anticipated. Its just helpful this morning for me to hear “its okay to grieve the disappointment and let out the tears” so thank you for writing! God is good and is definitely using these blogs to encourage my heart :)

  • Caleb Durham

    Kelly! It’s been a while, but this post popped up on my feed, and it blessed me like to my core. You’re amazing. Thanks for this. I had some really hard-hitting news today and have kinda been reeling, and felt like I had to get it together; instead I’m gonna grieve. Keep writing. :)

    • http://kellychadwick.org/ Kelly Chadwick

      Caleb–thank you for adding your voice here! Thought about you when I went to the Helser’s concert a few weeks ago!

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  • Brittany Grant

    Such a great post. I’m definitely in s season of grieving myself. Not big scale I suppose but stuff enough to break my balance a little. I cried it out hardcore two days ago and after that I felt relieved that it was valid and that I am just in a bit of a valley and that its okay. Your words are great Kelly!