headshot of woman Trina

When Sorrow like Sea Billows Roll

The Your Stories blogs are a place where women can bravely and authentically tell their story as it really is. We invite women to collide with Jesus and share how He is meeting them, transforming them and redeeming them. We hope this “your story” meets you in yours…

I was more than happy to see the year 2017 come and go.  You see, the end of the year brought with it the hardest thing I have experienced in my lifetime so far: the loss of my father.  My father died unexpectedly over the Thanksgiving holiday, and I have been trying to process the change this brings to me and my family ever since.   

Everyone works through their grief in different ways, but I had no idea that one of my signature traits was going to kick into high gear during this season of pain.  Avoidance. Yes, I have been friends with Avoidance for quite some time now and it is a characteristic of mine that proves itself faithful to me time and time again. There is even an inside joke with my family that when things get a little too emotional or rough, I choose to ride off on my unicorn pretending all is well.  Recently, I have been riding that unicorn on a daily basis. Avoidance has always been a coping mechanism that I have used during the twists and turns of life. But I started to realize that it was time to face this loss and the emotions that come with it, and in doing so, I have found healing through scripture and song.

Music has always played an important part of my life and the words of worship songs have brought comfort to me in times of unrest.  One of my favorites has always been “It Is Well With My Soul,” a song that was written by Horatio Spafford in 1873. He had just learned that his wife and four daughters were involved in a collision at sea and all four daughters were killed.  As he was making his way across the sea to join his grieving wife, he wrote the words of this song at the exact location that the ship carrying his beloved daughters went down.

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way

When sorrows like sea billows roll

Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say

It is well, it is well with my soul

To be honest, I have sung this song for several funerals and always felt I knew what these words meant.  I was wrong.  Until I experienced the degree of loss that I did this past November, I truly didn’t grasp what it meant to say from the depths of your soul that all is well. What was it that brought such peace and comfort to Horatio Spafford that allowed him to write these words amidst deep sorrow and pain?  This type of comfort could only be brought about by a relationship deeply rooted in Christ.  This man’s deep love and trust in his Savior, Jesus Christ, carried him through the unspeakable pain that this life brings.  I realized through the words of this song that it was time I reminded myself of who I knew Jesus to be…comforter, friend, father, healer, protector, deliverer, and Savior. I was ready to shove avoidance aside and dig deeper into what Jesus had to say about my grief.

I started reading my journal entries from the past, and scriptures and devotionals started jumping off the pages.  I saw the faithfulness of God and the difficulties He had brought me through in years past.  I saw answered prayers and I read words of comfort from scriptures that He had placed in my view at just the right time. He had proven time and time again that He would be with me through this sorrow and He would never leave my side.

Do not be afraid, for I am with you.  Don’t be discouraged for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you.  I will hold you up with my right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)

And we know in ALL things, God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)

The Lord is near to those who are broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18)

I am sure that Horatio Spafford, in his own grief, couldn’t even fathom how much comfort “It Is Well With My Soul” would bring to so many who have experienced the worst kinds of suffering.  

What will you do with the pain that you have experienced in this life?  Will you go down the path of avoidance like I began to do, or become bitter and resentful from the sorrows that this life brings? Perhaps you will choose to draw closer to Jesus and establish a relationship with the One that wants to meet you in the midst of your pain.  In my God Calling devotional, I recently read a paragraph that represented to me what Jesus desperately wants from each and every one of us…

I wait with a hungry longing to be called upon.

It means so much to me to be understood and the understanding of me

will bring great joy to you.

Christ promises to stay with you through your pain and will walk through life’s challenges with you.  He died for you and whatever the circumstance, it can be well for you with Christ as your anchor.  He longs to have a relationship with you, so be encouraged today and remember that one day we get to join Him in heaven and be freed from our sin, suffering, pain, and even death. Oh, what a glorious day that will be! 

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  • Jerilue says:

    Such a raw truth for many. Lovely words, Trina.

  • Amy says:

    Beautiful, vulnerable, authentic, powerful…..your heart is echoing Jesus truths that you, my friend, do hold tight to in every chapter of your life. Thanks for being real. I am so very sorry for your broken heart, but so very thankful God ‘s truths are filling you back to again! You are loved!

  • Jennifer says:

    Thank you for sharing. It helps me to put some words to my feelings. I, too, lost my dad last year. In October. I’ve never gone through anything quite like this. The pain is intense, and it does not let up. I don’t know if I can truthfully say – yet, it is well. Someday, perhaps. Someday.

    • Trina says:

      Jennifer, I am so sorry for your loss. It is astonishing how much sorrow one can feel from losing a loved one and and I know working through our grief takes time. I pray that you will experience God’s peace and comfort at just the exact moment it is needed each and every day. Blessings to you.

  • Christi Bennett says:

    Trina, that was such a powerful word! You are a remarkable woman of God! Love you sis!

    • Trina says:

      Oh dear sister in law, how blessed I am to have a God fearing family who prays for one another. What hope we have in knowing we will all be reunited again with Dad someday. Love you!

  • Debra says:

    Trina ~ Trina~
    That was very heart warming and I’m sure your Father and Grandparents can read this from Heaven above! You are a lot like your Grandmother Bennett and your Dad in a lot of ways! Keep the faith! Keep believing in the Lord, for he will see through anything in life!