I am thoroughly fed up.  Its just too much.

I drove home from my great-grandma’s funeral yesterday.  Five hours in the car, with the radio set on “scan” for most of the trip because my mind wondered so much I would forget to pick a station.

I woke up this morning to my husband saying the words, “Grandma Irene died.”

And my first thought was disbelief, but the anger soon followed.

I cant keep up.  On one hand I have been in a constant state of grief for the last three months, on the other hand desperately trying to remember to praise and glorify God no matter the circumstances.

I have been completely uncomfortable in my skin, unsure of how to deal with excruciating loss while attempting to celebrate the new life growing within me.

Trying to comfort those whose loss seems more acute than mine, yet totally unable to deal with my own.

When Chad’s father suddenly passed three months ago, we were unprepared.  We were all shocked.  We all have this gaping whole where this vibrant life once was.

When his grandma Carole passed I was shocked to learn more about her in her death than I took the time to learn while she was alive.  And the shame of that realization changed me.  Or, at least it was supposed to.

When my Great Grandma Inga passed I didn’t let myself cry.  It was really just too much.  We had planned it.  Made peace with it.  Knew it was coming.  When it happened I wasn’t prepared.  I wasn’t at peace.  And what I knew is that it  just hurt.

A mere hours after getting home from her funeral, Chad slowly shared about Grandma Irene passing.  I didnt take the time to go to her.  I didnt bring the kids to visit her.  There was so much I could have done to be there for her.

I just dont know how to process the grief anymore.  Its heartbreaking to think about what the people that were closest to them are enduring.  I want to take away their pain, but dont know how.  Helpless and sad.  Sad and helpless.

This crazy cycle of loss has had death on my mind for months now.  I teeter between the selfish thoughts of mourning lost relationships and the thoughts of “What does this mean now?  What do we do now?”

I cry out to God and try to rely on my faith, then beat myself up when my trust wavers.  It says in the Bible:

Philippians 4:4-6

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Did you see that? Rejoice in the Lord always… in every situation..

Why cant I do that?  Why cant I seem to give Him my grief and pain and hopelessness… when that is exactly what He tells me to do?  There is much to rejoice for.  God has called his precious children home.

I am just tired.  So tired.

I know these feelings cant stay there, and I know joy and new life and love and peace are within my grasp, if I would but reach for Him.


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Meet Amanda Rettke

Amanda Rettke is the creator of I Am Baker, and the bestselling author of Surprise Inside Cakes: Amazing Cakes for Every Occasion – With a Little Something Extra Inside.Over the course of her 15+ year blogging adventure, she has been featured in and collaborated with the Food Network, New York Times, LA Times, Country Living Magazine, People Magazine, Epicurious, Brides, Romantic Homes, life:beautiful, Publishers Weekly, The Daily Mail, Star Tribune, The Globe and Mail, DailyCandy, YumSugar, The Knot, The Kitchn, and Parade, to name a few.

Reader Comments

  1. I am so sorry you are going through this difficult time. I have been reminding myself of that very same verse this week. Thank you for sharing it here.

  2. So sorry to hear of the long difficult journey you are going through right now. Praying that even through all this, God will grant you and yours peace and comfort in a way only He can. I find the Psalms are my words of comfort at such times. I draw strength from knowing that even David, described by God as a man after His own heart, knew grief to the point of such pain and frustration he could only throw it all up to God. Praying that you will pass through the valley of the shadow of death soon. God bless you x

  3. Amanda,

    I’m so sorry for your losses. Sometimes when life seems overwhelming I think about the “Footprint” poem. And don’t forget that you can bring all your feelings to our Father – sadness, grief, anger, anything. He can handle and wants us to cast our cares on him. You’ll be in my prayers!

  4. Amanda, my sweet friend and sister in Christ. The Lord gives us a time to grieve and that’s where you’re at. I always think of Jacob as he grieved for what he believed was the death of Joseph. Tonight I write this as I have been told my 20 year old cousin has died, a cousin that I can only truly remember meeting twice in my life, once as a baby and again when he was a toddler. He’d been in trouble quite a few times as a teen and decided to move in with his sister, who lives in Colorado to get away from his friends who he continued to get into trouble with/for. A friend of mine had been his councilor and she told me that he had such a big heart and would often take the blame for his friends. I learned more about this young man who I share blood with from someone who I’ve known for years, but have no relation with. It makes me sad, yet the Lord places us at different places for different reasons.

    Your emotions in my opinion have been through the ringer. You’ve dealt with great loss over the last 3 months and have dealt with a new life growing inside of you and all the emotions that, a pregnancy brings on.

    Be gentle with yourself my friend. We can rejoice in our grief in a way that we love Him, we worship Him, we serve Him. He knows if you trust Him and if you praise Him through the storms of your life. To me rejoicing doesn’t always mean jumping up and day and saying “God you’re good”, I think it can also be dropping to our knee’s and letting the tears flow and simply whispering “God, I still trust you”.

    Love you

  5. Hi Amanda,
    I’m a long-time reader but first-time commenter. I remembered reading this post in my feed last week and just wanted to extend my sympathy for everything your family is going through. Unfortunately, I know a little of what you’re experiencing.
    My husband’s second-oldest brother died suddenly toward the end of October. He was 33. It was a shock and life became more difficult in every way imaginable. Then, last week, my husband’s oldest brother took his life. So we are once again trying to cope with the loss of a beloved brother, once again trying so very hard not to question “why” or “why us,” and my husband is trying for the first time to take on the role of oldest son in his family. Just like that, he went from being the fourth of seven children to being the second of five.
    My mom’s mother’s health took a turn for the worse last week as well, so we took a day off from mourning with my husband’s family on Saturday and drove two and a half hours to the hospital to try and say goodbye to her, which was difficult because she was intubated and could not respond. She had a heart episode later that night and the doctors took her off the ventilator as soon as all her children were gathered around yesterday, and she slipped away with my grandfather holding her hand.
    Uncannily enough, I am also pregnant and am due with our first baby, the first grandchild on my husband’s side, on January 5th.
    When you say you are unsure of how to deal with excruciating loss and how to celebrate the new life inside of you at the same time, I completely understand what you mean. I find myself getting sucked into a seemingly endless vortex of pain and anguish and confusion over and over to the point that I feel I’m not giving enough credence to the little kicker inside of me whose long legs (which he gets from his dad) are currently testing the confines of my ribcage. When I should be preparing to be a mother, I’m preparing funerals.
    I heard once that anyone who asks “why me” either does not believe in or does not trust God. Because God has a perfect plan, because there is a reason for everything He allows to happen, asking “why me” shows him that our faith is not sufficient… but I’m afraid in moments of weakness I have been asking “why me” quite frequently. Why, when my husband and I are preparing for our first child, trying to obey God’s commandment to multiply and replenish, would we be pummeled again and again and again with blows from which it doesn’t seem we shall ever recover? What are we supposed to learn from any of this? Why can’t we heal from one wound before we’re hit again? And yes… why me?
    I’ve always heard that if everyone threw their problems into a big pile and you had the opportunity to see what it is everyone else struggles with, you’d immediately take your own problems over anyone else’s. But I told my mom yesterday that for the first time in my life, I don’t think I would. I hurt, and I hurt more watching my husband hurt. I am tired, I too can’t keep up, and I am ready for respite.
    It doesn’t seem that anyone understands, but I know God does. It doesn’t seem that anyone can heal this, but I know God can. And in moments when my mind is clear, I’m grateful for being led to people whose actions, regardless of how small, regardless of how distant, and regardless of whether done by a stranger whose cooking posts I like to read, remind me that though I suffer, I never suffer alone. Who remind me that that though it seems peace is far away, we can be given it if we will just reach for God.
    So thank you for your words. They’ve brought comfort. Your family are in my prayers.


    1. Oh Sara. My heart just aches reading this. So so so very sorry for all you are enduring… the loss and anguish and questions and grief and everything just seems overwhelming. Thank you, dear Sara, for taking the time to write this and bear your heart. I am praying for you friend… praying for you husband and sweet baby. Praying for your family and lifting you up in Christ. If there is ANYTHING I can do, please do not hesitate to ask!!

  6. Oh, Amanda. I’m so sorry to hear about so much loss in such a short time. The pain of loss after loss after loss accumulates so quickly. And it sounds like you’ve had a some anticipatory grieving too. I wish I could give you a giant hug and hold you close and pray the Lord’s peace over you.
    Dear friend, He is able. I know the feeling of him being far. I know the hurt of grieving and rejoicing. How you feel is uniquely your own. No one else can begin to understand this personal grief that you carry. Except him. He is our high priest who is able to sympathize with our every weakness. He is waiting for you to cast down this heavy burden and allow him to carry you. But the good news, is He will not leave you when you are struggling to lay it down.
    Earlier this week I was going through my phone and saw your number in there. I know it wasn’t an accident God put you on my heart when your blog isn’t showing up in my feed. I know it wasn’t by chance you showed up when I saw looking for another contact I normally have no trouble finding. God knows and is pointing people towards you to lift you to him.
    This is turning into a book here! I hope, trust, pray you are encouraged tonight, tomorrow and in the days to come. Love and hugs to you! Praying peace over you and those you loved and those who have lost along with you.

  7. I just found your blog (via baking cookies) and then saw your Christian and your family blog. I’m sorry for your losses. I haven’t lost anyone to death lately (thank God) but I have gone thru a tremendous separation from the man I loved and adored so much — my husband. We are now finally going thru divorce, almost 3 years later, and I’m looking forward to closure finally. I will be losing much more than my marriage. My home. My credit. And recently my job! Could it get any worse?! I am trying to stay faithful, altho I admit last fall was easier to trust in the Lord than this fall. I understand your angst. I hope you write again soon. It’s nearly Christmas and I’m hoping to hear how you are moving thru this.

    Anyway, I write to let you know that I feel for you. I have no real comfort to offer you. I only share that connection to you thru grief. I also became Christian thru all this! 🙂 And my very first Bible verse that meant ANYTHING to me was the one you shared: And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds (I had to stop before His name was mentioned at first). That is such a powerful and meaningful verse. I continued to write gratitude lists, to find true joy in HIM (something I NEVER experienced before!!) and I continued to petition Him with my requests with Thanksgiving.

    OK, I have to go now. I hear my oven timer beeping! Time to get those cookies out!

    x o x o x o

    glad I found you!

    1. So very thankful that you were able to find not only the joy in your circumstances… but that you became a beloved, chosen, coveted child of GOD!!! What a HUGE praise. Thank you for sharing your heartache and your pain and your ultimate healing and story of growth and faith. Be blessed my friend!

  8. I am so sorry for your loss. I have been experiencing pain and loss as
    well (but in different ways than you). I am sorry that you are feeling
    so much pain/sorrow. I have been struggling with my faith as well. I
    have been struggling with “rejoicing in the Lord always” as well.

    I have also been struggling with obeying or feeling the verses that
    command us to ” be content” and to “meditate on those things which are
    good, lovely, pure, noteworthy”, etc. It is so hard. I try. I force
    myself sometimes–but I don’t feel it. It feels like going through the
    motions in a numb, empty, zombie-like state (depression?), but at least
    you and I are TRYING to obey God. Maybe not “all” the time. LOL 🙂 But
    we eventually try to attempt it again.

    Be encouraged, sister. Thank you for being so honest and transparent. I
    think that is the first step in grieving–to talk about how you
    feel–which you are doing. God bless you for that.

    Persevere and hang in there, sister. God loves you. “The Lord is near
    to those who are broken hearted, to those who are crushed in spirit.”
    Psalms 34:18

    “A bruised reed He will not crush.”- Matthew 12:20

    Try not to beat yourself up. “He is faithful even when we are
    unfaithful.” God proves this to me every time I fail to water my
    garden; He ends up causing it to rain (and we only get rain a few times
    a year b/c we are in a drought)! :O Isn’t that cool?! 🙂 (Not cool
    that we are in a drought, but cool how God shows grace and has our
    back. LOL 🙂 Just wanted to clarify that. LOL ) 🙂

    [ Sorry for writing LOL when you are sad. I worry that I might be being
    insensitive. I am not trying to be. I am trying to be the lifter of
    your head, to minister to you and to encourage you and to attempt to
    comfort you].

    God bless you.

    I love you, sister! (Even though I have never met you)! 🙂

    You are the apple of God’s eye.


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