Good Grief, 2014!

Boxing GlovesThis past year beat us up pretty bad, didn’t it? I mean, one headline after another pressed us against the ropes and left us reaching for the towel.

The missing Malaysian flight shook our heads and blew our minds. It’s incomprehensible to think we can have endless information at the swipe of a finger, but have no clue how 162 upright seats holding the same number of lives disappeared.

We’re still doubled over from the horrific crimes of ISIS, Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped by terrorists, and countless hateful acts from around the world. Confirmation that humans are capable of so much evil wrenches us and takes our breath away.

Ebola brought nausea and nervousness. We masked, quarantined, and questioned, but still got sick. It makes us feverish knowing that neither our immune nor government systems can fully protect us.

Robin Williams died of a broken heart; leaving us with one. Tears replaced our laughter and left us wondering what’s behind all the jokes. Realizing that we can love and lose someone without really knowing him pounds our chest and breaks us down.

Our limbs are still recovering from all things Ferguson. We’ve pushed, pulled, and held the line until our arms gave out. Our fists are tired from shaking and our legs can’t run anymore. Chaos and violence leave us on our back, aching, exhausted, and praying for relief.

In the privacy of our corner, our own personal wounds can’t be ignored. Failures, losses, deaths, disappointments… remind us of who we are and take a toll on our body and soul every year.

After all of these powerful blows and sucker punches, 2014’s final bell can’t come soon enough. Good riddance. We blow horns, bang pots and pans and kiss the nearest partier.

But when we look closely, it’s more than a farewell celebration. It’s just as much about welcoming the next round. In between blows of the horn, we’re making plans and building hype; promising ourselves a better year.

How is it we’re willing to strap on the gloves with any bright optimism?

I’m willing because I’ve learned some new things I want to try in the next round; things I hope will make a difference.

Pain and grief have the power to discourage us, but they also contain the learning that brings a powerful hope. 

Losing a huge plane full of people humbles us and motivates us to explore further.

Details of the world’s evil, though disgusting, bring a more intimate knowledge of our enemy, allowing us to design a more effective battle plan; increasing the chances of a fair fight.

Sickness teaches us of our fragility and of our need to take better care of ourselves. Certainly, we are also more aware of how one life can touch many.

Through his death, Robin Williams opened our eyes to the torment of depression and other mental illness. Now that we have permission to stop laughing long enough to cry, we are braver, healthier, and more honest.

Ferguson revealed a disease that’s been passed from one generation to another for too long. Perhaps we’ve learned more of the value of life, peace, and truth. Without a doubt, we’ve learned that we can’t hide behind our race, media, police shields, or protests any longer.

And when we take the time to examine our personal pain, we realize all of the confusion, evil, sickness, heartbreak, and violence of the world can be found within our own skin and bones  – just as much as they are found across the globe -and in the guy in the other corner. Though they didn’t get a headline, our personal wounds are master teachers of humility and compassion.

This past year has brought much grief and plenty of hard lessons. Knowing what we know now, we can’t throw in the towel…

Good, intelligent grieving brings learning, and learning fosters hope.

It’s this deep-rooted hope that rings the bells around the world at midnight on New Year’s Eve.

Ring on, 2015! We’re ready.

Rocky Balboa steps

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11






30 thoughts on “Good Grief, 2014!

  1. Leah Colwell Adams December 30, 2014 / 6:13 am

    What a post, Karen! It is poignant and touching, yet full of truth. This line….Though they didn’t get a headline, our personal wounds are master teachers of humility and compassion. Such truth. 2014 was probably one of the most painful years of my life, yet I have found Jesus to be so completely faithful in every minute of it. And for that, I am profoundly grateful. Stopped by from #RaRaLinkUp. Grace and peace!!


    • Karen Brown December 30, 2014 / 4:50 pm

      Leah- I’m praying for a better 2015 for you. May what you’ve learned of Him and His grace give you much hope. Grace and peace to you!


  2. Emily December 30, 2014 / 6:35 am

    Your post does a wonderful job showing that the awful situations can bring something positive. They can bring a change. We have to constantly remember that God is in control!


    • Karen Brown December 30, 2014 / 5:07 pm

      Emily- Thank you for stopping by. Yes! It’s what we learn of Him that brings the hope we need for what’s to come. May you learn much of His Grace in 2015.


  3. Kelly Balarie December 30, 2014 / 6:54 am

    Fabulous post, just fabulous! You really brought us through the year and encouraged our heart at the same time! Much love to you and accolades on a job well done!


    • Karen Brown December 30, 2014 / 4:51 pm

      Kelly- thank you for your kind words… they mean so much coming from you. Thanks for hosting the linkup and I always LOVE your work.


  4. Ruth December 30, 2014 / 8:54 am

    Fantastic post and honestly written. You touched on the core issues that have shaken me this year and I am so thankful for your words. Your optimism is contagious and we should spread this message like wild fire. Thank you for linking up today 🙂 God bless!


    • Karen Brown December 30, 2014 / 4:52 pm

      Ruth- Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to leave your kind words. May all that you learned of Him in 2014 bring you hope for the coming year. Peace!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Danise Jurado December 30, 2014 / 9:13 am

    Beautiful post! I love this… “Good, intelligent grieving brings learning, and learning fosters hope.” Blessings to you and Happy New Year! 🙂


    • Karen Brown December 30, 2014 / 4:53 pm

      Danise- Thank you so much. May His hope spur you on this year. Peace to you!


  6. Deanna December 30, 2014 / 12:27 pm

    Great post taking us through the year and reminding us of the hope we have in Jesus. Never throw in the towel!! 😉


    • Karen Brown December 30, 2014 / 4:54 pm

      Thank you Deanna. May Christ teach you much about yourself and of Him this year.


  7. Renee Griffin December 30, 2014 / 1:41 pm

    Your writing paints such a detailed, moving picture in my mind! Love it!!! Thanks for sharing such deep words. Happy New Year!


    • Karen Brown December 30, 2014 / 4:55 pm

      Renee- Thank you so much for your encouragement. May you learn much of His grace in 2015.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. lynndmorrissey December 30, 2014 / 3:30 pm

    Karen, I love your writing, your deep insights, how you think, and your hopeful lesson here. It’s been I would add, though, personally, that even all the learning and growing through grief would not give me the hope to go on in 2015 or even these last couple days in 2014 without the hope of Christ–without knowing that even with all the despair and evil in this fallen world, and even in knowing that despite what we learn


  9. lynndmorrissey December 30, 2014 / 3:41 pm

    SORRY…..I wasn’t finished, and accidentally posted before I had even proofed what I had written above (so I didn’t even correct one train of thought that I realize needed tweaking, or finish the last one) …..anyway…… what I was saying is that even despite that we can “grieve forward” (as one author I know puts it) and that we can learn from the grief, I wouldn’t want to go on, unless I realized that Christ chose to come here despite all of this sinfulness and evil. Even when I can’t stand the despair, the evil, my personal depression, and the grief a second longer, I think of the Cross. A lot of what happened in 2014 still makes no earthly sense to me, and I haven’t been able to glean enough lessons and hope from it that would make me want to step into 2015, until I look at the Cross…..realizing that perfect, sinless Jesus chose to come and suffer in ways far great than I, than we ever will….and because He did, I am reminded of His boundless love and mercy. And even when the suffering on this earth makes no sense to me, I realize that He chose to suffer right along with me, with us *anyway*, and I just have to lie prostrate at the foot of His Cross of suffering, and rest myself there. It’s the only place I can make sense of anything. I am having difficulty articulating. Sorry! I loved what you said, but just knew that I needed for my own sanity to add a postscript. God bless you, Karen, and God’s richest blessings on all you write and ponder. You’re one beautiful Christ-follower.


    • Karen Brown December 30, 2014 / 5:03 pm

      Lynn- You articulated beautifully, as always. Thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to leave your inspired message.
      I’m glad you brought this up, actually. I had several drafts of this post- most of which spelled out that what I learned of Him and myself is the source of my hope for the next round. To be honest, they were so lengthy- that I decided late in the game to streamline the message. It’s the most secular post I’ve written, but I hope my readers know where I stand… or at least take the time to read my other posts to find out. I take comfort in the fact that all truth is His truth.
      Your kind words mean so much coming from you… such a gifted writer yourself, and I’ll be praying that you learn much of His Grace and Love in 2015… no matter what your circumstances. Peace to you, friend. And thanks again for your consistent support.


      • lynndmorrissey January 2, 2015 / 3:20 pm

        This very gracious response means a lot to me, Karen. After I posted that (twice!) I suddenly had a sinking feeling that you might receive my comments as criticism, which was assuredly *not* my intent. I just realized that the only way I can make sense of anything is through Christ. I know exactly where you stand, and He has such a faithful communicator in you. And I stand in amazement at your writing gift (to which I regularly direct others), and can’t wait to see where the Lord will wing your words! Happy New Year, Karen. I pray it is happier for the world, as well.


  10. Beth Willis Miller December 30, 2014 / 5:03 pm

    Karen, great post and summary of our collective grief this past year…love your summary quote…”Good, intelligent grieving brings learning, and learning fosters hope.” So true! Many blessings for the new year 🙂


    • Karen Brown December 30, 2014 / 5:06 pm

      Beth- Thank you so much! May all you learn of Him bring much hope. Peace!


  11. betsydecruz December 31, 2014 / 6:15 am

    Oh yes, Karen. Hope is an essential ingredient for carrying on. It’s true that with so much going on in the world today, it’s easy to lose it. I constantly remind myself that the enemy does NOT have the victory. God has a plan, and He has the final victory!


  12. Simply Beth December 31, 2014 / 8:08 am

    Wow, Karen. This was good. Really good. Powerful. Hope-filled. Thank you for writing and for sharing. Blessings to you as you ring in a New Year. xoxo


  13. Kristin Hill Taylor December 31, 2014 / 8:42 am

    “Good, intelligent grieving brings learning, and learning fosters hope.” YES. YES. YES. So good and true, Karen!


  14. Anita Ojeda December 31, 2014 / 9:47 am

    If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s the need to grieve in an ‘intelligent way’–to reflect, process and allow ourselves time and space. You’re spot-on, my friend!


  15. Diane McElwain December 31, 2014 / 11:00 am

    I’m coming directly from Holley’s blog. You mentioned many sad things of 2014. We surely need a lot of hope to get through! God gives us mighty grace, one day at a time, for those who love him.


  16. sarahgirl3 December 31, 2014 / 1:14 pm

    It is so hard to imagine how all the evil in the world is possible. I am so grateful to a God who is holy, just, and loving. May 2015 be the year many people find His peace!


  17. joanneviola January 2, 2015 / 7:26 am

    Your post & graphic made me realize this >>> He is always in the ring with us. We never fight alone. So grateful for His Presence with us! Blessings to you!


  18. subitolove January 2, 2015 / 11:33 am

    I watched the movie Dead Poets Society on New Year’s Eve and have just written a review on it. Beautiful screenplay. Have enjoyed reading yours : )


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