Cupcakes and Rainbows – Life After Tragedy – Day 1

Day 1 – The Journey Begins

I’m willing to bet that for most people, true tragedy is very unexpected. On March 11th 2017, my life changed forever. The day began with excitement and anticipation as my family and I loaded up the car for a spring break trip to San Antonio from Dallas. Looking forward to an exciting vacation with my 4 year old daughter Brynleigh, 8 year old son Kasen, and my wife Cassie, we set out early that morning.

 

As we had hundreds of times before, we pulled out on to the highway without a second thought to what the next few hours held. “I love you” I told my wife Cassie as we set in bumper to bumper traffic caused by a wreck ahead. Just a few hours in to our trip, we sat waiting completely stopped because of the traffic ahead of us.

 

I awoke to the smell of smoke, unable to see, totally stunned with chaos all around me. Hearing the moans of pain from my wife beside me, I unbuckled myself from my seat belt. What just happened? Time both stood still and raged forward all at the same time. As I opened my door and stepped outside, I realized the truth… we were in a car wreck.

 

As I walked around outside the car still dazed and unable to come to my senses, men and women swarmed around our car. “Sir, please sit down, your neck may be broken” the first responder said to me. “Please, save my family” I pleaded, realizing this wasn’t just a fender bender. As I heard the first responders talking about the occupants in the vehicle, I remember saying “her name is Brynleigh, she is 4. His name is Kasen, he is 8. Her name is Cassie, she is my wife.”

 

As the rain fell on me outside the car, sitting still unable to come fully to my senses outside the car, I could taste the blood streaming in to my mouth, struggling to breathe. In that moment as the first responders spoke, I came to the realization (call it a father’s intuition), that my precious Brynleigh had left this life. Although in that moment no one told me (I only found out later), I said a prayer “Lord, I know you took Brynleigh, please have mercy on my family.”

 

Today, I don’t know what pain and heartache you’re suffering through. What I know is that years after the accident, thinking about it still causes a torrent of emotions to swell up inside. Pain, grief, heartache, sadness, regret, I can barely compose myself. I don’t say this to cause you any more pain, I say this to start this devotion with honesty.

 

The first step in this journey is to truly realize how broken and how hurt you truly are. Scripture teaches us that God opposes the proud but that He exalts the humble. I can think of no greater way to humble ourselves than being totally vulnerable and honest with God about our grief. I have found myself many times over the past few years praying something like this: “God, I am so angry at You. I’m sorry I’m so angry Lord, please have mercy on me.”

 

In our realization of the true depth of our brokenness, there is only one place (rather One person) who can truly make as whole again. Today’s study will take us to two truths in the New Testament:

 

First we will read how because Jesus was like us in every way, that He can sympathize with our weakness. This is truly profound, because Jesus was fully human He felt every ache, every pain, every emotion, faced the same trials, temptations, and heartache. Because of this, there is nothing we can face that Jesus isn’t intimately aware of. (Hebrews 4:14-16)

 

Second we will read about the kind of humble prayers that God is looking for. In this Scripture we will look at two different approaches to prayer and how two radically different men approached Him. In this Scripture we will see that is those who are truly honest with themselves and God who “go down to their house justified”. (Luke 18:10-14)

 

Today’s prayer: Father, we need you. We confess that without You we can never truly be whole. Jesus please hold us in the midst of our pain and suffering. Although we are sitting in the middle of a storm we can’t control, we know that You can. Give us peace and help us feel Your presence. We need you Jesus. Thank you for never leaving us or forsaking us. Thank you God for hearing our prayers, in Jesus name.

Cupcakes and Rainbows – Life After Tragedy

Introduction

Anyone with kids is likely to immediately recognize this quote: “the world isn’t all cupcakes and rainbows” from the popular kid’s movie: Trolls. (Spoiler alert) In this scene we see the heroes of the movie (Poppy and Branch) debating the differences in how they view life. On one side a very optimistic princess. On the other, a cynical broken companion.

 

This 7-day devotional is meant to serve as a starting point for those struggling with grief and depression. Through this devotional I’ll share how I’ve experienced firsthand the fact that life isn’t always “cupcakes and rainbows” but how God has been faithful and unchanging in the darkest, most painful moments. Through the lens of Scripture and sharing the broken road I’ve traveled; my hope is to show you there is life after unthinkable tragedy.

 

As I share the story of the life and death of my daughter and wife, along with the physical, emotional, and spiritual suffering my son and I have faced, I pray that you would realize the truth God has shown me: even when life isn’t all cupcakes and rainbows, He has never left our side. My promise to you, if you are walking through unspeakable tragedy, is that although you can’t see it right now, there is life after tragedy.

 

If you are willing to open your heart and allow God to do so, He will give you a peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7). Starting this devotion is step 1 in a series of lifelong steps that will ultimately see eternal restoration at the resurrection.