I’ve come to the end of my journal and my lessons of hope as I have faced my staggering loss. Or I’ve come to the end of one part of my journal. Continue with me, and I’ll take you on a new journey starting next week. I’ll introduce Facing Loss Through The Psalms. I journaled through The Psalms and share it because I wish I had such a companion while I was walking my journey. It will be a vastly different journey. Less personal. More about soaking in the praise and lament and allowing it to flood over our hearts.

In this entry, I reflect on my unwanted journey ever so briefly.

“God’s plan from the start for this world and your heart has been to show His glory and His grace; forever revealing the depth and the beauty of His unfailing Love. And the story has only begun…” Steven Curtis Chapman, “The Glorious Unfolding”

In this final entry, I briefly summarize my journey and say thank you for journeying with me. I have been overwhelmed with the steadfast love of the Lord and your companionship on this journey.

As I reflect, I rehearse that all things are not good. Brokenness delivers pain in life. Don’t I know it. You know it, too, or you will know it one day.

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

However, Jesus is so good and so powerful that he can take all things—including broken things in life—and cause them to work together for good.

It’s miraculous.

This is my testimony. I have seen God bring good. Again, my loss was not good. However, God has used this painful loss to teach me so much. I have been given an opportunity to invest my pain and hope. This good in no way diminishes the significance of my loss. Or yours. Loss is staggering.

And yet, I have learned lessons of hope on this unwanted journey. I trust these lessons shared for the past few years through my blog, Facing Loss: Lessons of Hope from My Unwanted Journey, are helpful. Journaling and sharing them has been therapeutic for me. Almost a redemption of the loss for good. Kim would be proud, I hope. Or at least surprised.

I loved my children before Kim’s death. We had good relationships. However, losing Kim thrust me into a deeper love for and appreciation of my children. They have been so good to me. Kim would be so very proud of them. Few things strike my emotional chord now almost four years later. But they do. I am choked up even as I write these words.

Also, I learned about the beauty of the Body of Christ. The people of God are a people redeemed from brokenness. We are ministers. And I have been the recipient of a tapestry of ministry. Those who receive comfort give comfort. The gospel comforts a people marred by sin. That redeeming mercy and grace equips the church to love. And I have been loved. Again, a recipient. I grew in my understanding of the gospel. Redeemed from a broken life. Forgiven of sin. Reunited with Christ. Grace, mercy, peace, love, hope, comfort. All deep lessons.

As a result, I was privileged to comfort others. Candidly, when you walk through grief, mourn with hope, and receive comfort, you are compelled to comfort others. You are literally compelled. You must invest your journey so as not to waste the loss you’ve faced.

While on this journey, I risked a new journey. Loving again risks losing again. As J. R. Miller wrote in The Ministry of Comfort, “…love and grief grow on the same stalk…” Or as John Flavel wrote in Facing Grief, “According to the measure of our delight in the enjoyment, so is our grief in the loss…” And yet, I risked the pursuit of Amanda Lillian Dimperio just after the two-and-a-half-year point after losing Kim. And I made her Amanda Dimperio Davis on March 26, 2022.

In this entire journey, I’ve learned the story is not about me or Amanda or Kim or my children or you. It’s a story about the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. Mine is a micro-story in a macro-story. Your story is a micro-story, as well, and it only makes sense in the context of faith and hope—the macro-story.

And there is glory in the story.

This phrase, “glory in the story,” became a theme rehearsed by Gordon Fort when he performed our wedding. Indeed, there is glory in this story. It takes eyes of faith, yes. However, the glory is there whether you’re looking or not. For my story and for your story.

This story has been a glorious unfolding. That is my testimony. I sign off at this point in my journey; however, I want to thank you who have walked with me.

Jesus  is deserving of great glory. As I reflect on this unwanted journey, I lift my voice to the King who needs nothing. I rejoice over his kindness to me as I have faced my staggering loss in the context of his steadying gospel hope.

“You deserve the greater glory. Overcome, I lift my voice to the King in need of nothing. Empty handed I rejoice…” CityAlight, “Good and Gracious King”

16 Comments

  1. Annette Greenwood

    Praises to our Lord for your faithfulness, walking alongside so many in their grief journey.
    Blessings as you continue to serve and bless. Annette

    • D. Ray Davis

      Thank you, Annette, for journeying with me. Your consistent feedback and input has been helpful. Blessings to you.

  2. Sonny Sweatman

    The sharing of your journey has been a blessing and a learning experience for me. Thank you for ministering to others by sharing your journey of grief.

    • D. Ray Davis

      Thanks, Sonny. I’ve loved to invest my journey!

  3. Amanda Dimperio Davis

    I followed your journey from the beginning, way before you courageously asked me to walk it with you. I’m so proud of the way you’ve walked it for the world to see. Our Good Father has used your pain and grief to strengthen others who are just beginning. You are a gift from the Lord, above and beyond all I could have asked or imagined. I’m grateful to get to walk a few steps with you. I love you!!

    • D. Ray Davis

      Thank you, Kind and Gentle Amanda! You’re a gift and a treasure! Thank you for agreeing to walk this journey with me!

  4. Terri Stubblefield

    Thank you D Ray for your vulnerability, transparency and yet, strength given you by a good, good Father. I have learned, myself, so much about grief and the glory in the story as I’ve journeyed with you these many weeks.
    Blessings,
    Terri Stubblefield

    • D. Ray Davis

      Terri, thank you so much! I’ve enjoyed investing my journey of experiences and lessons learned.

  5. Maxine Jones

    I am friends with Gwen Smith who got your emails started for me after the death of my only child. My daughter died at age 46 of Fallopian Tube Cancer-a type of ovarian cancer. When I met you at Valleydale Church you introduced me to your current mother-in-law and mentioned your other mother- in- law. I have a son-in -law and I thought he might cease interacting with me if he decided to marry again. Your acknowledgement of a present mother- in- law and another mother -in- law encouraged me that I might have continuing interactions with my son-in-law even if he remarries. I have shared your emails with him. Thank you and blessings upon your future life.

    • D. Ray Davis

      Thank you, Maxine. I remember hearing of your situation through Gwen and then meeting you in Birmingham last fall. Your comments remind me of something my own children said to my new wife, Amanda. They told her that she did not give them the gift of life but that life gave them the gift of her. You can love new relationships while honoring a loved one you’ve lost. It’s liberating to love both those you’ve lost and the new relationships God brings.

  6. Leigh Ann Fort

    I love this one-the full circle. As we come close to the 4 year anniversary, my thoughts have been returning a little more back to my dear friend. And to watch your journey-I’m with you: the goodness of the Lord has been an ever present theme. And your kids. What treasures they are. Yes, Kim would be so proud. And now the gift of Amanda. The goodness of God.

    • D. Ray Davis

      Amen, Leigh Ann! And thank you for walking with me and us on this journey. You and Gordon have been such good friends and another example of the goodness of God. And thank you for being such a dear friend to Kim. She loved you so much and treasured her friendship with you.

  7. Greg Davis

    As you know, in 1978, God brought our paths together in Albany, Georgia. I briefly served as your youth pastor during your senior year in high school. We lost touch after that until February 2020 when I saw your Facebook post about the one year anniversary of Kim’s death. My heart went out to you, and I was fortunate enough to have a long phone call with you shortly after that. You told me about your blog on Facing Loss so I started reading from the beginning. It took me awhile to catch up, but it was certainly worth it. The feelings you expressed and the insights you conveyed touched me deeply and often brought tears to my eyes.

    It’s such a time warp to connect with you after 30+ years from when I last saw you. To realize that you were married, served as a missionary in Africa, and raised 3 children who now have children of their own seems so unreal. To know that you were married to Kim for 30 years seems staggering. The way you have shared your journey of grief, comfort, and recovery has inspired me along with countless others.

    Yet I’m not surprised. Even at the age of 18 you displayed a passionate faith and a genuine walk with God. Your entire family was sold out, and the joy of the Lord was so evident.

    No one would ask for your experience, but this journey has undoubtedly taken you to new depths of spiritual growth. When the Apostle Paul says. “that I may know Him and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings…” you can identify with this more than ever.

    I love the way you have quoted scriptures, song lyrics, and favorite authors throughout your blog. You have shined the light on so many gems of grace and created memorable moments of reflection. I hope you are able to eventually publish these insights in printed form.

    If A.W. Tozer was correct that God greatly uses those whom He has hurt deeply, then your usefulness for the kingdom has only just begun.

    • D. Ray Davis

      Thank you for the important part you have played in my journey, Greg. And thanks for reconnecting and journeying with me.

  8. Linda Stroup

    I read this at that 4 year juncture. We have praises mixed with sorrow…Rick now goes to a church he professed faith in, tears still flow at reading most blog posts, but your steadfast faith has uplifted us. We are grateful! I will forever miss Kim…. My prayer warrior.

    • D. Ray Davis

      Linda, I join you gratitude to God. He is good in the valley and on the mountain.

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