I’m honored to welcome Joy B. Rudolph to the blog today, with a guest post on grief. I asked her to share her experience after reading part of her story on her blog.


This post is in conjunction with the release of my e-book, Letters to Griefwhich is available on Amazon for just $0.99.

Please join me in welcoming Joy, and maybe even take a moment to thank her for sharing by leaving a comment at the end of the post? Thanks for reading, and thank you, Joy, for blessing us with your honest words today!


“I feel like God is a big jerk who gets pleasure from taking things from me.”

The words come out as tears run down my hot cheeks.

I am tired, on the brink of depression, and feeling trapped in a space that is suffocating in a city I don’t yet love.




My husband listens. He is there with me in my tears and grief. He is struggling, too.

I repeat the words to my counselor. They are ugly, difficult, but oftentimes feel like so much truth to me.

Some weeks later, we open the doors to our POD and a bad dream has come true. We see puddles, smell the scent of mildew and feel cardboard crumble beneath our fingers. Moving to a brand new city, leaving everything we know and love behind has been a kind of hard I never expected. But this is completely out of left field.

We assess the damage. A lifetime of journals ruined. Words poured out to a God I believe hears even when I’m not sure He cares. Art that has been made with hours of love poured out on canvas and layered on paper. Destroyed. It is irreplaceable and unquantifiable.


My dad died in December.

Some days I feel incredible loss. Others I feel relief. But most days I don’t know what to feel. I am numb. Our relationship was a disaster and his death leaves a different kind of hole.

In January, we started preparing for a cross country move and in March, we came to a city thousands of miles away from home. For the first six weeks we not only grieved what we left behind, but the trouble that seemed to wait for us behind every corner.

Moving to Houston has reminded me of the parts of grief I had forgotten.

Parting from those closest to us reminded me of my first husband’s death. Of how I wanted to to stop dreaming. Stop hoping for the future. Because you certainly cannot see the death of dreams if you don’t have any.

Saying goodbye to a city I loved reminded me of standing in the airport and putting the Colombian orphan we loved as our own son on a plane. It reminded me how I never wanted to open my heart again. You cannot have holes in your heart if you refuse to let anything take up space there in the first place. Giving up the life I loved reminded me of our miscarriages and failed adoption. Of what it feels to have something wrenched from your hands as you try desperately to cling to it.

I know grief intimately and yet I feel that grief is unknowable. It is broad, full of surprises and all encompassing. You never know what it may deal up next or where it may choose to show up unexpectedly.

Perhaps you’ve gathered this already, but I can’t wrap this up with a nice bow for you. I can’t tell you anything amazing about how to survive loss, suffering, or tragedy. I’m in the middle of it all over again, and if I’m honest, so many of my past losses have yet to be fully grieved. But recently I read this from Emily P. Freeman:

“He doesn’t shame me for my hesitation to trust Him. But He is inviting me to set those hesitations aside.”

So what if we sit in these hard places instead of running from them? What if we feel the ugly emotions, and experience the grey, and ask God all the hard questions? What if we’re not afraid to be mad at Him and not understand Him? What if we don’t hurry through grief and try to wrap it all up with a nice bow and move on?

That’s where I am. It’s hard. I don’t like it. But it is reality in this season. So I’m inviting you to join me. So that together in the midst of the difficulty we can begin to set our hesitations aside and let God regrow our faith.

I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. Let me know where you’re at on your journey or how you cope when life is at it’s darkest, because we’re in this together.


Headshot1Joy is a Florida girl currently living in Houston, with her husband and drool-covered basset hound. She is currently accepting applications for people to do life with around her table (a.k.a. friends). She writes to women about living intentionally on mission at joybrudolph.com. Find her on Instagram @JoyBRudolphBlog, Twitter @JoyBRudolph, and on Facebook.


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15 thoughts on “when you’re in the middle of grief {a guest post}

  1. Hi, Joy. I’m a recent follower of Kate’s and I loved this post. Such honesty and truth. I truly appreciate writers who don’t shy away from raw emotions. And, boy, do I get it. I lost my dad almost a year ago to a tragic car accident, and I’m still struggling to process everything. I’m sorry for your loss, but I do appreciate knowing that there are others in a similar place. I’ve written some about my own experience. This is what I lean on most often… http://lisamhurley.com/2015/02/10/where-is-god-in-all-this-mess/

  2. Thank you, Joy! I too am a Florida girl (or used to be)…transplanted ‘up north’ to Atlanta, GA! haha
    Thank you for sharing your real heart and for making room for us to look with sincerity and transparency into the middle of hard. I am much older than you, my girl, but over the last 6 years the LORD has been teaching me about running to Him “in the middle” rather than running away to hide under my bed or in my closet hoping everything bad and scary and dark will disappear at some point. You are in a hard place, but as strange as it sounds, you are in a good place if you intentionally run to Father…even with your least pretty thoughts and words. He is there and He will hold you and He will walk you through the hardest part of the middle.

    • Lisa, I love Atlanta! I would kill to be in that part of the country right now 😉

      “Running to Him “in the middle” rather than running away to hide under my bed or in my closet hoping everything bad and scary and dark will disappear at some point.” Wow! Great reminder.

      Thank you for your heartfelt and thoughtful words.

  3. I’m so sorry that you’re in a season of grief and struggle right now. I’ve been praying for you when I see the card you sent me sitting on my desk. Change brings its own kind of grief–especially when it’s change out of my comfort zone.

  4. I think we hesitate to sit in grief because we are afraid of being stuck there. So we avoid the work of grieving altogether. Or we’ve failed to see grief for what it is and called it something more encompassing. More defining. maybe even made life changing decisions out of it. So we hesitate to let ourselves go there again. I have grieved the loss of my father more times than I think is fair. With each relapse comes another wave of grief. Grieving the loss of normal, good, pleasurable times, even if it was short lived. And now I grieve not only for myself, but for my children and the losses they suffer as a result. And for what it’s worth, a box of maternity clothes of mine were ruined by water damage in our move. They represented so many memories and so it was the tangled mess of grief I felt again. You are not alone my friend. I am lifting you up before the Father, the Great Comforter.

  5. what an honest, painful but beautiful post. It’s refreshing to read something not sugar coated, but meeting grief, or numbness, face to face! After reading it, I heard ‘Blessed are those who mourn”..God knows you, holds you, hears those groans that you may not be able to groan.. I’m in a good place in my life now, but have been through a million trials and much pain which God has used well.. Blessings to you!

  6. Grieving is so incredibly exhausting. Praying for you, sweet friend. I love what you shared here — even if you try to put a nice bow on things, that bow won’t stay pretty and neat. Honest vulnerability with God is step one to healing. xo

  7. Joy, I can’t believe all you’ve gone through and are continuing to experience. You’re in my prayers, friend. I love you and I relate. A lot. I KNOW God has good plans for you. Keep hope. I know, easier said than done. I really believe you’re in the right place, and one day He’ll make sense of it all. Thinking of you. -Jacqui

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