Doubt Is Not Denial: Journaling My Way Home

When I was asked several months ago to speak to a group of hospice care workers, I titled the presentation “Lifting the Veil on Grief”.

One of the topics I covered was how experiencing the death of a loved one-especially out-of-order or untimely death- can cause even the staunchest believer to doubt.

And the first thing I said was, “Doubt in the face of overwhelming sorrow and hard circumstances is absolutely normal.  But doubt is NOT disbelief.”

So often friends, family, clergy, social workers and others want to steer hearts away from doubt because they are afraid that entertaining questions or expressing disappointment in God will always lead to someone losing faith.

That is untrue.

When my son ran ahead to Heaven, I reexamined everything I believed.

But I did not “lose” my faith.

I never once doubted that God was still working, was still loving and was still in control.

But I most certainly had to drag out every single thing I thought I knew about how He worked, loved and superintended the world and examine it in light of my experience of burying my son.  It took a long time to work through all the pat answers I had been offered and myself doled out to others for years that didn’t fit with my new reality.

One of the ways I did that was to journal my questions, complaints, anger and disappointment.  I wrote it out.

Many of the Psalms are precisely that-David and others crying out to God, begging Him for understanding and for a sliver of hope.  As the Psalmist breathed out his doubts and fears, the Spirit of God breathed fresh life into his soul.

i wait for the lord

My journals are filled with strong words and strong feelings.  They are also filled with, what I believe, God spoke to my heart in response.  Sometimes it was in the form of a Bible verse, sometimes a memory, sometimes song lyrics or a prayer.  And sometimes the pages are simply a record of how my Shepherd gently led me through a particular hard moment or day or week.

So if you are struggling with doubt-let yourself off the hook. 

You can’t deny it. 

And you don’t have to. 

You’re in good company.

Grab a notebook and pen and start writing.  Just begin.  Don’t edit yourself in fear someone may read it one day.  God knows anyway.

When you’re done spilling, sit quietly in the Presence of your Shepherd.  Listen to what He may be speaking to your broken heart.

I have done this for decades through many hard things- child loss being the hardest.

The Lord is faithful to meet me right where I am and fill me with His Spirit.

He’s never leaves me without hope when I turn my heart toward Him.

but the lord stood with me and gave me strength


Author: Melanie

I am a shepherd, wife and mother of four amazing children, three that walk the earth with me and one who lives with Jesus. This is a record of my grief journey and a look into the life I didn't choose. If you are interested in joining a community of bereaved parents leaning on the promises of God in Christ, please like the public Facebook page, "Heartache and Hope: Life After Losing a Child" and join the conversation.

8 thoughts on “Doubt Is Not Denial: Journaling My Way Home”

  1. My son, my only child, ran ahead to Heaven 3 years ago. He called himself a non-believer. When I spoke with a Priest about this and told him some things about my son, he told me, “It sounds to me your son considered himself a non-believer, but truly he was a sceptic, and all the Apostles were sceptics.” Oh, how those words held and still hold me up! Blessings to you all. And Melanie, your words help hold me up as well. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I feel as if I could have been the one who wrote this. These are my exact feelings! Bless you for all of your writings and expressions of love towards our Savior even through your great loss. I will miss my son until I take my last breath on earth and see him once again. Yes I doubt , get angry and cry out to God but I think that’s what He wants from us is to draw closer because further away from Him is not better! Thank you again for making yourself vulnerable and expressing your raw feelings while going through this valley. I know you have helped a lot of people and especially me. Stevens mom – forever 34 💜

    Written this myself.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I love this. I have been journaling for years but since my son, Jimmy, went to Heaven, journaling has gotten me through the doubts, the storms, the joys. I call my Journal “Dear God.” This daily ritual has lifted me up and connects me to my Strength… my Lord and Savior.


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