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Healing My Heart Step by Small Step


Posted by Pat Elsberry, May 3, 2023

He is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18)

A few years ago, I found myself walking a path no one ever dreams of taking– the grief journey due to child loss. Although death is part of the circle of life, child loss, which is an out-of-order death, is particularly heartbreaking.

When my daughter Melanie ran ahead to heaven unexpectedly, my heart was broken in a way I had never imagined it could be. Yet God, in all of his magnificence and wonder, immediately covered me in a way that could only be described as miraculous. A scripture I had heard hundreds of times became more than words on a page in the Bible. It became real and was felt deep within my being.

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7 NKJV)

This doesn’t mean I didn’t shed buckets of tears, but I continued to feel his presence on those dark days. It was like a shield surrounding and protecting me.

It’s been said that grief is like the ocean. It comes in waves; you don’t know if they will be strong or gentle. When the waves threatened to take me under, I would cry out to Jesus. He knows what it feels like to lose a loved one. Even though he knew the final outcome, didn’t he weep when his dear friend Lazarus died? Yes, he knows what loss feels like. When our loved ones move to heaven, no matter how much we may try, there is no rushing through the grief journey or going around it.

Instead, we must walk through it and let our Heavenly Father heal our hearts, step by small step.

One day a few months after Melanie died, I was having a tough day. Everyone seemed to be going about their own lives without a care in the world, and here I was, sitting outside on my deck with tears streaming down my face. Grief can be a very lonely place. During this low moment, I cried out to the Lord. I missed my daughter so much, and amid my tears, I asked him how I would fill this enormous void now that my girl was gone? Within a few moments, the sweet gentleness of the Holy Spirit whispered to my heart: “I’ll never let you down. I’ll never walk off and leave you” (Hebrews 13:5 MSG).

Wow! What an incredible comfort to know we are truly never really alone. If you have found yourself walking this grief journey, be kind and gentle with yourself. Lean into The One who made you. Jesus is walking alongside us; when we need it, he will carry us through the valley of the shadow of death.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4 NIV)

Father God, help me to remember that I am never really alone. Even on my darkest night, you are with me and are close like no other. You know what it means to grieve, and you are healing my heart, step by small step. Thank you for surrounding and comforting me with your peace that surpasses my earthly understanding.

Worship ResourceGoodness of God

Pat Elsberry is an author, speaker, blogger, and a passionate advocate for parents dealing with grief after the loss of a child. Pat created multiple social media groups focused on providing hope to others who are walking the same path, including her blog, Hope During Loss. Pat facilitates an in-person grief share for women who have experienced child loss, and is also a moderator for Team Sharing, a nationwide peer-led support group for parents who have lost children to substance use disorder. Pat is the author of Beautifully Broken: Finding Hope During Loss, and will soon release her first devotional, Comforted by God. Pat and her husband, Fred live outside Atlanta and have a blended family of 7 children and 5 grandchildren. Her favorite things include traveling, cooking, gardening, dark chocolate, and worship music. You can find Pat on her blog,, and on Facebook and Instagram @HopeDuringLoss.


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