A Season of Heartache

I am looking across the table into eyes filled with tears. I am hearing quavering voices over the telephone. I am reading between the lines of texts and emails and seeing the pain and exhaustion. And I see it in my own reflection in the mirror, I hear it in my own voice, and I read it in my own words. Many of us are in a season of heartache. The reasons that brought on the season vary, but our hearts are all in the same place.

Life right now is hard. The days drag on with heaviness. The nights drag on with sleeplessness. Minds are overwhelmed. Bodies are in pain. Pocketbooks are being drained. Spirits are being wounded. Fears are growing larger. And hopelessness is clouding vision. 

Life is never perfect—there is always some amount of pain—but there are some seasons where heartache rules the day…and the night. Difficulties. Loss. Stormsliteral and figurative. Situations we’ve never navigated before…and never want to navigate again. How do we keep pressing on? How can our aching hearts keep moving forward?

Each season has both good and bad. Spring is too muddy. Summer is too hot. Fall is too wet. Winter is too cold. But spring also has buttercups and shining rainbows. Summer has refreshing showers and prolific flower petals. Fall has sweet scents and sprays of vibrant color. And winter has a breathtaking calm, beauty, and sparkle. Each aspect of a season shapes the season, but our perspectives shape it, too. Do we enjoy wearing rainboots, digging in the dirt for countless weeds, filling bag after bag with fallen leaves, and sliding under silvery skies? Some would say yes. Some would say no. Perspective matters.

So, too, now with our seasons of heartache. Can we lift our eyes to see the beauty behind the pain? Can we see the treasure of someone’s listening ear and warm embrace while we sob our hearts out? Can we hear the crowd along the sidelines lifting our names in prayer? Can we hear the heartbeat of the Savior who stands with outstretched arms ready to enfold us in our grief? My grandma used to tell me to crawl up into Jesus’s lap and tell Him my problems. Jesus is acquainted with grief. He went through a season of heartache like nothing we could ever imagine. He sees people fall to sin. He sees the backs of people when He wants to see their faces. He walked the roads of earth, despised and rejected. And then He was crucified like a criminal although He had never done a single thing wrong. But as He walked to the cross, there was joy set before Him because He knew His sacrifice would purchase our redemption and the opportunity for us to be with Him forever—if we would choose to do that.1

Can we look for that joy? Can we remember that He is there before us, waiting to give us the life He purchased for us, waiting to give us help, hope, and peace? He will help us keep pressing on, and pressing through, to the other side of this season, no matter when or how it ends. We can survive. We can thrive. We can showcase the beauty of the season, if we are refreshed by His presence, if we let Him root out the things which keep us from blooming, if we exude His fragrance, if we reflect His light. We can show His beauty and His power when we persevere; we can show it to a watching world, and we can show it to ourselves when we look in the mirror and when we commune with our hearts upon our beds. We will find He has never left us nor forsaken us.2 We will know deep down in our spirits that He is working all things for our good.3 Always. 

These afflictions are for a moment, but time with the healer of broken hearts is for all eternity.

Peace to you, my friends. He has overcome the world.4


1 See John 17:3, Romans 10:13, and Hebrews 12:2.

2 See Hebrews 13:5.

3 See Romans 8:28.

4 See John 16:33.

©Text and photo Francee Strain, September 2, 2022.

Sapphires and Gold


I encountered something beautiful and breathtaking. I was walking around my property in the summer, under a sapphire-blue sky. I live in a fairly arid region, and by June, things are dry, golden brown, and crunchy. Fire danger ramps up in July, and we spend the rest of the summer holding our breath. But that particular day, amidst what appeared to be dead, dry, and unattractive was something astoundingly beautiful, something I had never before witnessed. Across the field, something was glinting gold.  A closer look revealed a dragonfly perching on a dead weed. I had my camera with me, and thus, zoomed in for some photos. The glinting I had seen in the afternoon sun was coming from the veins running through its wings. They shimmered and glowed. Light was reflecting off them. Wow! The beauty was such that it made me hold my breath.

I then got to thinking how much this scenario is like our lives. Sometimes, we look around, and we don’t see the beauty. We see the weeds. Our dreams crumble into dust. Our hopes get crushed and crunched beneath passing feet. We live with fear and worry and anxiety, awaiting the firestorm that may potentially come as the days pass by. But, if we open our eyes, we will notice there is beauty surrounding us. In the tiniest details, sent directly from the hand of God, we will see the gold. He is the master weaver, taking each thread and shaping it into wings in us so that we may fly. We can perch above what looks hopeless below. And although He works with threads of gold in our lives, where He dwells, where the sapphire sky is beneath His feet, there are streets of gold.*

Hold on to hope—with Jesus in your heart and your hand in the master weaver’s hand—because someday, your belief in Him will place you atop those streets of gold. You will look around, stunned by the beauty of His glory. You will see things you never before could have imagined. Perfection will surround you. No fires of life will ever again touch you. Nothing will die, nothing will be broken, nothing will be damaged. All will be whole and complete. And you will have found the greatest treasure, treasure that surpasses even gold.

*“[A]nd they saw the God of Israel. And there was under His feet as it were a paved work of sapphire stone, and it was like the very heavens in its clarity.” Exodus 24:10 NKJV

“And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.” Revelation 21:21b NKJV

©Text and photo, Francee Strain, September 26, 2019