Cave vs. Grave: on not being swallowed by stress or sorrow

cave 3

“Those who weep or who rejoice or who buy things should not be absorbed by their weeping or their joy or their possessions…For this world as we know it will soon pass away.”

1 Corinthians 7:30-31

I liked this reminder that it’s okay to weep, but not good to lose yourself in the weeping, because whatever I’m weeping over isn’t forever and it isn’t all in all.

This life and the stuff of this life – joy and hardships alike – this is not it.

It will soon pass away and I will be whole and healed and in the presence of my Savior. And being with Him at last…the stuff of this life, big and overwhelming as it is, can’t compare to it.

Storms always rain themselves out eventually. 

I saw two kinds of caves this week as we camped. One was dark and icy and tight and down very far, and I didn’t have the confidence to explore it.

The other got dark, but it was wide enough to walk through side by side with Cody, and just as it got too hard to see for sure what the ground was like underfoot, soft light rimmed the edge of the corner up ahead. We couldn’t see very much where we were, but we knew there was a way out, and we were heading toward it.

I have a much deeper appreciation for caves when I’m not walking through them alone and I know there’s an exit on the other side.

There is beauty in the dark, the moist air, the stillness of a cave. Perhaps hard and confusing seasons hold beauty, too, if only we can rally the confidence to remember that we are not in them alone, and that we will certainly climb out the other side of them eventually.

Lord, I am having a hard time, but it is just for now. So help me not to become absorbed in it. Teach me to faithfully replace my attention on you, again and again all the day long. Teach me how to walk through stress and sorrow with my eyes on you, drawing from you the hope I need to keep walking and the kindness I need to handle others gently and generously.

Help me to distinguish between a cave and a grave. For you have promised that whatever this life holds, I am not buried under it forever; I am passing through it into light.


“Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.”

Romans 8:18

No longer will there be a curse upon anything. For the throne of God and of the Lamb will be there, and his servants will worship him. And they will see his face…And there will be no night there—no need for lamps or sun—for the Lord God will shine on them.”

Revelation 22:3-5

I Am No Expert: on how to be a bold beginner


“Because of Christ and our faith in Him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence. So please don’t lose heart because of my trials here…When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and earth.”

Ephesians 3:12-15


The season I’m in is a gift. Somewhere, on the periphery, I know that. But mostly I’m struggling to notice what is so sweet about it as I rush around over-analyzing, fearful, constantly asking if I’m getting it right.

I have not yet figured out how to sit still in the midst of all the unknowns and just let myself be who I am, where I am, learning.

It’s new territory, this parenting thing. In spite of all my preparation, I do not get to skip being a beginner. And I’m realizing that I will not enjoy this season if I’m determined to be an expert. Experts are not allowed to be overwhelmed. Experts don’t fall to their knees and ask what they should do. Experts don’t find the simple things difficult.

I love that this verse in Ephesians describes us as bold and confident; not as we face down challenges and struggles, but as we ask for help to face them. 

What a concept. To be bold and confident in my role as a beginner. Perhaps God’s best for me is not to become an expert at knowing what to do, but to grow into a practiced seeker of His help To freely and happily ask for directions and feel that I have done nothing wrong. To let go of the pressure to handle this myself.

I believe that parenting bravely and confidently is within reach for me. I long to be out from under the thumb of fear and insecurity. But I think that only happens when, instead of running in circles, desperate to figure out what I’m doing wrong and how to fix it, I take what weighs on me and follow the pattern of Ephesians 3:15:

  1. I think of all this
  2. I fall to my knees
  3. I pray to the Father

I like the progression of these three steps.

three steps 2

Think of all this:” it’s like permission to walk around my mind and gather it all up: all the anxiety, all the fear, all the disappointment and failure and frustration, all the questions, all the heavy things, all the tension, every single thing that just feels off.

Fall to my knees:” an acknowledgement that these things are heavy and overwhelming. That maybe it’s not just me, but the things I’m facing are hard. That I don’t have to stand up straight and presentable and be able to talk about them with an even tone and a steady gaze. I can get down low on my knees and let my eyes well up and my voice waver. This place is safe for those in a humble, broken posture. It is a place for unloading, and we rarely do that while we stand totally erect.

Pray to the Father:” Unload. Let it out. The worries, the concerns, the confusion, the “What do I do now’s.” Psalm 55:22 literally says to throw down, hurl, or cast off my burdens onto the Lord. Confidently. Boldly. Passionately. I am invited to ask Him, to tell Him all that troubles me, to collapse in His presence, rip it off my back and thrust it into His hands. Yours, Lord. Yours. Yours. Yours. Not mine to carry anymore.

I do not have to meet this, even the smallest part of this, even the middle-of-the-night-when-no-one-else-is-up part of this, alone. I am instructed to be a bold seeker of His help, to fall to my knees and let the burdens fall and look at Him with expectation in my eyes.

I am no expert. I am a beginner, and I am allowed to be.


I can shrug and smile and say “Mommy’s not sure what to do here.” I can stare down my utter novice-ness and my many questions and my clumsy handling of each situation and say “This is okay. I am right where I’m supposed to be.”

This is not a story of perfect marks and zero mistakes. This is human and real and beautiful and it rides on the shoulders of a capable God who is excellent at crafting redemption and healing and light from the messiest of situations. He erases my shame and shoulders my burdens and reminds me that this does not depend on me.

I am a beginner and I will learn to be a bold one, because I do not have to be sure of myself to be sure-footed, and whenever I need an expert, I know exactly where I can find one.


“So we can say with confidence, the Lord is my helper, so I will have no fear…”

Hebrews 13:6