Ages & Stages

Grief and Gratitude

“Hey Finn,” my five-year-old called to his three year-old brother, “Don’t forget to look for treasure!” Standing in the middle of an undeveloped field near our neighborhood, my three carefree boys searched for treasure in the field as they have done many times before. On occasion, they bring me spring wildflowers, roly polies or sticks bent like snakes. Often, they bring me rocks and tell me they’ve found a treasure for their collection.  

Today my oldest found a rock and ran to me excitedly, “Look Mama, you have to see this one!” Before I could get out my standard “Mmmhmmm, that’s awesome buddy,” I realized this rock really was special because it was shaped like a key and appeared to be some kind of fossil. 

 “What do you think the key opens?” My boys’ exuberant chatter filled the sidewalk as we made our quarantine loop around the neighborhood. As the boys imagined treasure chests or secret passageways the fossil key might lead them too, I realized I am trying to unlock the secrets to thriving in the tension of this unusual and difficult time.

Just this week I cried at a video from my son’s teacher. I cried because I am tired from full time homeschool days, an exhausting pregnancy with our fourth son, and I miss the routine and structure my family thrives on. Her familiar face and comforting presence brought a moment of calm to our chaos, but also touched a deep longing for human contact and normalcy. I wondered how I could break the news to my kids that Easter traditions, my three-year-old’s Tiger birthday, and my five-year-old’s first big boy soccer team season are now cancelled? 

The grief of my personal loss and of the collective wave of human suffering was unlocked inside me: beloved friends who are on the front lines at ERs and hospitals, friends’ wedding plans now uncertain, families’ income dried up with the shelter in place order, and the sorrow pricked by loved ones lost to Covid-19.  

We are all experiencing grief for a million different reasons. None less important than the others.

The boys rode on, searching for treasure in the adjacent field.

They have declared this field their “off-roading trail,” and I laugh because it is only a small slope with lumpy dirt leading to the field. Still, they’ve fueled their dreams of monster bike racing with a creative outlook on the landscape before them. Their treasure hunts and off-roadin’ adventures in the middle of quarantined suburbia have shown me the treasures available no matter where we are. My heart whispers, Thank you, Lord, for warm Texas springs, $12 kiddie pools, and finding a bag of water balloons stuffed in a forgotten box that have entertained my quarantine crew for hours.

Tears filled my eyes again but this time it was because I am grateful, grateful for the provision and peace available to me even in the unknowns.

I’ve noticed the life of following Jesus is filled with dichotomies: death bringing life, weakness transformed into strength, mourning turned to dancing.

Grief and Gratitude: if we hold them together, we’ll find the grace needed for this unprecedented moment in history. The grace comes not in spite of grief and suffering, but because of it.

We can hold space for both.

We must look for treasure in the unexpected, unpredictable, and even undesirable parts of this season. The gratitude this treasure hunt awakens will propel us toward the hope necessary to thrive. 

It is imperative to also allow ourselves to name and feel grief, so that pain is not left unresolved in our hearts.

We can experience them both and become healthier in our souls when our best friend and Savior is Jesus. He is described as “a man of sorrow and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3). As such, we’re safe to share our burdens with Him.

We’re able to boldly ask for grace and can expect to receive exactly what we need in these difficult days because we have access to God through Jesus Christ. “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)

Grief and Gratitude: if we hold them together maybe we’ll find the wholeness we were created for and the world around us desperately needs.

Charity Rios is a Boy Momma to 3 of the wildest, and squishiest sets of dimpled cheeks plus 1 in her belly! Most days you can find her top knottin’ it, totin’ potties and rollin’ in the mini, The power of the gospel is her melody and unleashing women from captives into warriors is her passion. She would love to send you a free truth declaration to overcome the enemies’ lies with the truth. Find it here! You can also follow along on Instagram @claritywithcharity, or at




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