How to Find Hope in Heart Shattering News

By Dawn Graczyk, Sunshine Mom

My day began with heart shattering news. My uncontrolled tears lasted well into the afternoon, at which point I finally gave in and took my anti-anxiety medication. 

I’ve decided that being able to function after repeated trauma is a necessity. I don’t take the medication often, because I still carry guilt instilled in me by people who felt using medication for anxiety was akin to lack of faith. The God I’ve come to know is one of grace, understanding and love.  I do not believe He finds any more fault in correcting a dopamine imbalance than he does an insulin imbalance.  

Hope tells me that I will make it, out and God is not gone

I encourage any parent under the constant trauma and stress of parenting a child with life threatening illness to seek the advice of a medical professional in combination with their spiritual leaders.  There is help.

I could breathe again, but the hurt was so deep, and so much had accumulated over time, that I could not stop the tears.  I walked on the beach and fought to draw my focus to that moment.  I knew God was there, and I needed to be there too. 

When the Waves Break Us

The water lapped at my feet, cool and gentle, though further out whitecaps were clearly visible.  My eyes scanned the beach, looking for shells to add to my collection at home.  I bent down to pick up the few shells I found whole and marveled at how many were shattered and strewn along the beach. 

What made the difference for these shells? Why were some intact while others were destroyed?  They seemingly faced similar conditions on this journey to the beach.  Certainly they all encountered rocks, stones, and waves.  I began picking up fragments and turning them in my hand, examining them for hints of their lack of resilience; noting the majority of the most beautiful shells were present on the beach in shards. 

My thoughts turned around in my head. I’m like these shells. I’m tossed and thrown in the rocks. I’m riding in on the waves and slamming into the beach.  I won’t make it whole. I can’t make it whole. I can’t imagine anyone making it whole, much less me.  WHY?  Enough already!  Aren’t I broken enough?

What is Hope?

My thoughts wandered to a conversation Diane (Executive Director of Spreading Sunshine) and I had yesterday on the road. 

“What does hope mean to you,” she inquired. 

I tried to put it into words, but I couldn’t. Hope for me is a state of my heart.  There are no words to describe it.  It is a state of the soul. 

“Hope is found in moments stored as memories. I have been very low, and life has been incredibly dark. At that time, it seems impossible that I will ever come out of that place,” I said.  

“But God has pulled me from that place back into the light.  Every time He does so, it becomes a moment I can remember the next time I find myself in that dark place.  It tells me that I will make it out and God is not gone.”

The day was dark. It was a dark evening and a sleepless night spent tossing and turning awakening to feelings of doubt and worry and settling into a sleep filled with nightmares. I did feel, as though I was being progressively chipped away, shattered and broken.  

I remembered my moments, my threads of hope that tied me to faith and belief that this is all part of a greater purpose.  I remembered them, but I did not feel them.  I prayed.  

Psalm 77 was on my heart:

1I cried out to God;

I cried aloud to God to hear me.

2In the day of trouble I sought the Lord;

through the night my outstretched hands did not grow weary;

my soul refused to be comforted.

3I remembered You, O God, and I groaned;

I mused and my spirit grew faint.


4You have kept my eyes from closing;

I am too troubled to speak.

5I considered the days of old,

the years long in the past.

6At night I remembered my song;

in my heart I mused, and my spirit pondered:

7“Will the Lord spurn us forever

and never show His favor again?

8Is His loving devotion gone forever?

Has His promise failed for all time?

9Has God forgotten to be gracious?

Has His anger shut off His compassion?”


10So I said, “I am grieved

that the right hand of the Most High has changed.”a

11I will remember the works of the LORD;

yes, I will remember Your wonders of old.

12I will reflect on all You have done

and ponder Your mighty deeds.

David hurt, but he remembered. David suffered, but he hoped.  David feared God had left him and was grieved beyond all measure. David cried in grief to the Lord; he questioned the plan; his soul refused to be comforted. But David remembered. 

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