Posted by: Kara Luker | September 10, 2018

Pain with a purpose

Before losing Cole, I had no idea what grief was. I figured it was a really deep sadness that lessened day by day until you weren’t sad anymore, except maybe on special dates like a birthday. Thinking it was simply sadness was as misinformed as thinking that labor is simply pain. Both consume your whole being in a way you can’t fully understand until you experience them. Both are infinitely unique for each bearer – in duration, in intensity, in response. Both progress through contractions; wave after wave of a sometimes-ferocious squeezing of everything inside. And, as it turns out, both are meant to produce new life.

That’s no surprise if you are giving birth; new life is an obvious and expected outcome, even though it’s easy to lose sight of during the agony of labor. But it’s news to me about grief. I thought the point was to get to the other side so it wouldn’t hurt so much anymore. But the Lord is showing me that, like labor, it is pain with a purpose. As I yield to the pain and let it do its work – or maybe it’s more accurate to say that as I yield to the Lord in the pain and let Him do His work – I will be rewarded with a beautiful new life that will change my everything.

For me, this labor of grief has taken different forms. There have been many times when the pain rises and a powerful grace meets it with an overcoming comfort. There have been waves that have brought me to my knees, crushing me with their magnitude. And there have been complete breaks in the contractions when I feel joyful, strong and hopeful; where pain is nowhere to be found.

In the midst of it all, God has been speaking to me of His great compassion and of His understanding of what I am going through. After all, He also lost His beloved son. But He doesn’t feel sorry for me and has no desire to rescue me from the delivery room. Because He knows that if I keep trusting Him in this grief like I’ve trusted my doctors through childbirth, my pain won’t be in vain and it won’t last forever. It will produce new life and as I behold it, the joy I experience will make all the hurt seem insignificant or, at the very least, worthwhile. I’m not there yet, but if there is anything I know, it is that my God is good and His promises are true.

You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. A woman has pain in childbirth because her time has come; but when she brings forth her child, she forgets her anguish because of her joy that a child has been born into the world. So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. John 16:20b-21

Me and Newborn Cole

The joyful arrival of Cole Traveler

Baby Cole

My beautiful boy


  1. Thanks for letting your words see the light of day… honored to be a friend thats comforted through your shared, hard fought for, understandings… your a Lioness

    • You, Bryan, are one of the ones who have helped me be who I am and step into this God story. Love you forever. Roar.

  2. Powerful and triumphant truth!

    On Mon, Sep 10, 2018 at 11:03 AM, where waves grow sweet wrote:

    > karanoel posted: “Before losing Cole, I had no idea what grief was. I > figured it was a really deep sadness that lessened day by day until you > weren’t sad anymore, except maybe on special dates like a birthday. > Thinking it was simply sadness was as misinformed as thinking t” >

    • Thanks dad!

  3. Once again, you spoke to our hearts. And I so wish I could aleviate yours. But you are in good hands. And so is our Cole. Keep smiling my friend. The joy comes in the midst of pain because He is a miraculous God and the Master Healer.

    • I love the way you always bring me back to the truth and lighten the weight on my heart. His is indeed a miraculous God and the Master Healer. How could we bear to go on without Him? And yet, with Him, there is always great hope and new life. Love you Tessy!

  4. Beautiful as always!!! You are so very wise and our God is so very good! 😘

    • Thank you my friend. Yes, He is so good! It is amazing how much of that goodness – and even joy – He has poured out on us in the midst of something so dark and so hard.

  5. Thanks Kara for putting into words that which God is bringing you through. When I read your blog I feel a small amount of the pain you feel. (Delta passengers wondering why I’m tearing up while reading my phone😏).

    • Thank you for sharing in our pain Dan. We sure do appreciate you guys.

  6. “God is good and His promises are true.” Resting in this truth is the only way to get through it. Thank you for sharing Cole with us, Kara.

    • I wholly agree, Kim! Thank you for reading and entering in with me. It means so much.

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