Mourning an Altered Future

Mourning an Altered Future

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:34

Kim died on a Monday morning. The very next morning, Tuesday morning, we had plans that never came about. I had purchased two tickets to a Michael Bublé concert in Washington DC. I had a hotel booked, and I had planned for our dinner, as well. Nandos Peri Peri. Our favorite South African Portuguese chicken. Try it. It’s a family favorite.

But I digress.

We were both looking forward to our date. I have text messages from that fateful Monday morning between us to prove it. We had been planning the date together, and now we were considering some last minute changes due to impending snow.

If the plans for the day after Kim’s death had been so drastically changed, I had no idea what awaited me. My future has been fatefully altered.

“Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.” Proverbs 27:1

I was now mourning an altered future. So much for counting eggs before they’re hatched.

Mourning and grief have many dimensions. As time moved forward, I learned one significant aspect to my grief was my unavoidable, altered future. Everything had changed, it seemed. Granted, this is a selfish dimension to grief, but it’s a significant reality that must be faced. Everything in my future is altered.

A date night for a concert in Washington D.C. was only the tip of the iceberg.

Every plan in my future included Kim. Therefore, every plan in my new future had been abruptly altered. Disrupted. Distorted.

“Loss takes what we might do and turns it into what we can never do.” Jerry Sittser, A Grace Disguised: How the Soul Grows Through Loss

This would take some getting used to. Lesson learned: Don’t boast about tomorrow.

We’re warned about boasting about our tomorrows. We tell each other to be careful about counting eggs before they’ve hatched. We do not know what tomorrow brings. It’s time to repent from boasting about our tomorrows. Eternity is important. Our lives are but a mist—a blip on the screen. Or as Gerhardt Ter Steegen has said, “How great is God! how small am I! A mote in the illimitable sky…”

But right now, that blip seems to have a foreboding future. Altered and undefined.

It’s understandable to mourn an altered future. Loss forces you to do so. However, boasting about your tomorrows is arrogant. Boasting about tomorrows is even evil, according to James. My life took a detour on February 18, 2019, and I’ve learned my lesson. While mourning my altered future, I refuse to boast about tomorrow. Life is good, but it’s only a mist. A blip on a screen. A mote—or a speck—in the illimitable sky.

While I have an altered future that I mourn, I trust the one who holds my new normal, my new future in his hands.

“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’—yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’ As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.” James 4:13-16


  1. Anonymous

    Excellent! There is certainly a slippery slope of selfishness on the grief journey that must be avoided. It seems to be a perilous decent that always lines this ever winding path. There is such a fine line between mourning those forever lost hopes and dreams with hope and confidence in the goodness, sovereignty and providence of the Lord and falling into selfish despair. As time ticks on, I have found that trusting Him and His promises has given me a steadiness to walk this path and helped me avoid falling off that edge of “boasting in tomorrow”, as you have stated. Thank you for these reminders!

    • D. Ray

      One reason for writing these thoughts is to identify that slippery slope. It must be navigated to recognize this ramification of loss and the goodness of God. My altered future is in his hands and that’s a good place to be.

  2. Anonymous

    D.Ray,. We continue to pray for you brother!

    Sonny & Deen

    • D. Ray

      Thank you to my Sweatman friends.

  3. Cynd

    Fantastic reflection. Spot on. This has always been the case, though we forget and get caught in our vainglory. When life circumstances bring us to a sudden stop, we fall on our knees. I have stopped saying, “I offer my life to you as a living sacrifice,” and now say, “thank you, God, for offering this life TO me as a living sacrifice.” Many thanks for continuing to tell your story.

    • D. Ray

      Excellent insight, Cynd. We are living sacrifices and we accept the journeys he gives us.

  4. Anonymous

    Sometimes your words of loss and the pain you feel brings tears to my eyes. We pray for you to feel Father’s covering of peace as you face today without Kim. We loved her and thank God for the joy she brought to our lives in person and with her pen. Evelyn

    • D. Ray

      Thank you, Evelyn. You are both loved!

  5. Anonymous

    Oh to trust fully! Many are the plans in man’s heart. God directs his steps.

  6. Anonymous

    Truth indeed!! The brutality of an altered future through the loss of a spouse is horrendous!! The unknown and “ undefined” aspects so painful and lonely to navigate…

    Agreed that “boasting about your tomorrows is arrogant” and “life is but a mist…” however,

    let’s not forget to insert HOPE into our grieving experience either… that statement about life is only a a blip… a mote…” brought heaviness, a sadness to my heart!

    Hope has a part in our grieving process, in our recovery, in our futures…EVEN our temporary ones here on earth…

    God gave us the ability to hope, the gift to hope…in a future YET! HE has plans for us here, NOW…plans that HE desires to accomplish!

    Psalms 138:8 “The Lord will work out the plans for my life, for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever.”

    Jeremiah 28:11 “For I know the plans I have for you…plans for good …to give you a future and a hope.”

    Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God’s masterpiece…so we can do good things He planned for us long ago.” I was doing a Bible study on Hope by Dr. Charles Stanley, “Waiting on God,” and he reminded me that God is “actively, powerfully, wisely, and lovingly arranging the circumstances of my life.” Using this grief process and waiting on His future plans to “ draw, refine, teach, and fulfill His promises.”

    I guess after 6 years of living this loss, in all honesty, I need that HOPE… to make sense, to redeem this loss…

    and surely others feel that same need…?

    I have to say, when I got to your last statement, there was a emotional sigh of relief… “trust, new future”…

    HOPE YET!!

    Thanks D Ray!

    Kathi B

    • D. Ray

      Thank you, Kathi. I love a book by Jerry Sittser, A Grace Revealed: How God Redeems the Story of Your Life. It’s a raw look at life altered yet new and different. You can never have the same story (truly painful), but you will have a redeemed story (though it is new and different).

  7. Anonymous

    This hard yet, in a way, freeing message came in a good morning as I pray for a friend in the midst of loss, facing an altered present and future. So thankful that God holds the future as surely as He holds the present…and He loves us. Thanks, D. Ray, for teaching us through your own loss and walk with God through pain.

    • D. Ray

      I pray your friend finds hope in Jesus and the firm foundation on which to walk this difficult journey.

  8. Annette

    The loss of my grandson came after the loss of my husband. Walking this journey has been all you have penned and more. I watch my son, knowing his future has been altered, all the hopes and dreams forever changed. I pray as a mother I have planted a firm foundation he can rely on, I only wish his Dad were here to guide him. Thank you for the reminders and the glimpses of the windows of pain we look through. Grief is messy.

    • D. Ray

      A firm foundation is so important. It acts as an anchor in the real storm. It’s also good to have some guides along the way. The messiness of grief calls for solid foundations and wise guides.

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