Renee's Heart

My friend Renee suffered an excruciating and sudden tragedy last week. Those of us who know her are painfully aware this isn't her first time swimming through crashing waves of heartache and loss. I sat down this morning to write her something that would bring her comfort; something to soothe the cracks in her heart. I can't. That's the god-awful truth of the thing. We all know it.

You see, nothing is going to make this okay.

Doug and Renee's teenage daughter went to bed --- and woke up in heaven. No warning. Just like that. Gone.

Who am I to offer any kind of comfort to a family who is starting a new week without their girl? Let's be honest; even if God himself came down and gave them an explanation, it wouldn't be good enough. Lindsey is gone, and they didn't get to tell her goodbye or whisper love into her ear before she slipped away. It's not fair.

But here's the thing; even in the midst of her suffering, Renee sees light. Even in the dark crawlspace of her grief, she is fixing her eyes on Love. There's just something that compels her arms to open wide to her babies and her husband and she breathes, just breathes. She keeps the light close and her little ones closer.

She is in shock, she is withering, she is drowning slowly, but she continues to kick. Her heart continues to beat to the rhythm of her faith.

Renee is a safe place for many, because she has walked the dark path and survived it. I hate that this is true, but it is. She is beautiful and authentic and I have found breathtaking comfort in her presence. And today, as her friend, I will watch as she swims and struggles and kicks through wave after wave. I will be changed by it.

Hers is a heart that is scarred and beautiful. Love does that to us, you know. We live in a world that isn't fair. We live in a world that will cut us deeply if we choose to give our hearts away. The more we love, the more we are vulnerable to the scarring.

Complete Love always leaves scars. There is proof of this in Renee and in her children and in Doug and in the lives of others who have walked this path.

And there is proof in the wrists of God himself.

Love tells us to keep swimming, Love tells us to kick and breathe, Love tell us to keep the light close. And this morning I pray for Renee and Doug.


  1. I don't know you, but I do know Renee, and you have written so beautifully and accurately of who Renee is. You are right, there are no words to convey how we all feel and ache for her and her family. She has the strength of her God behind her, with her, within her...just a shining example of our Lord, and in her heartache and despair and brokenness, she still somehow shines a bright light. Thank you for seeing her and sharing who she truly is. Much love and prayers are sent her way.

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