Skip to main content



Ebbs and Flows

Ebbs and Flows

Grief Ebbs and Flows
by Shelley Ramsey

Grief ebbs and flows like the ocean tide. Some waves rise to engulf us and suck us into the undercurrent. Others cause us to merely loose our footing and throw us off balance. In the first years after my seventeen-year-old’s death, there were many life-threatening tidal waves that knocked me over and left me gasping for air. There seemed to be no rhyme or reason when each would hit, and their timing was completely unpredictable.

When tossed about by the waves of sorrow, we’re submerged in disorienting darkness. When I was thrust into those deep, dark waters, God was with me, and he remains there with me. I have come to understand the serene shore of safety is an illusion. Life is turbulent, and we are all desperate for assistance. In my desperation, I realized that I did not have the energy or ability to fight the current that was drowning me. So I succumbed to the sorrow that was crashing around me.

Fighting the waves is an exercise in futility. Their consistent sting was a constant reminder of the reality of death, and there was nothing I could do to overcome it. Fourteen years later I still have no control over the rising emotions that rush at me from the memories of my son. Nothing on this earth is permanent. All of life is passing sand into uncharted water. I have learned to embrace this reality. I am helpless to the whims of the waves. You are too.

But we find our hope in the one who refuses to let us get swallowed up by the tides of grief if we will only grab onto him. Jesus is as real as the crashing pangs of loved ones gone. And when we are helpless and lost without a foot on anything solid, He meets us there and accomplishes what we cannot. He is our lifeboat, keeping us afloat.