NaNoWriMo – a way to write a novel in the month of November. 50,000 words by the end of the month – no editing, no procrastinating, just write. And have a first draft completed by the end of the month.

I signed up.

But not to write a novel. Nor to write 50,000 words. I have had on my heart from some time to put together a daily devotional, as an aid for the first year of mourning and bereavement. Just a verse and a few thoughts, for the times when mourning and grief mean that anything longer, anything deeper, is impossible.

For those days when finger-tip-hanging is by just one nail. When grief is all consuming, raw, inconsolable.

I know that. I have been there. For a full two years I have been there. There were times when I barely clung on. When hugs rubbed me raw, and consoling well-meant clichés rang false.

When God seemed far away. I was far away.

I could not read. Anything, let alone the Bible. When the depression and the blackness were all consuming and life was barely worth living.

I had Amy Carmichael's  "Edges of His Ways,” a book of short daily devotionals usually based on a verse of Scripture. Some days were good, comparatively, and I read the brief thought. But it was not specific enough, did not often touch my deepest cries. I needed something more, something very short but very intentional.

I decided to write it myself.

And NaNoWriMo has given the incentive and, if I’m honest, the kick you-know-where to get going. So here’s the plan.

Every day I will post what I am writing. And soon, very soon, I will set up a separate blog to be this devotional, this scent of water. It’s called Grace2Help and I will send you the link very soon.

I will be posting the links and we will see how we get on. Please add your thoughts, suggestions, comments. And please pray.  For my prayer is that this devotional will one day help someone. If it’s only one, it will be worth it.

The book of Job and the telling of his suffering and bereavement  is probably one of the oldest books of Scripture. It asks one of the oldest questions: Is there hope?

Is there hope for a tree cut down?


At the merest scent of water it will bud and grow new shoots again. (Job 14:7-9)

The scent of water. My prayer is for this new project to be the merest scent of water for someone else who feels like a tree cut down.


  from my journal: October 2010


Psalm 22: “Concerning the morning aid”

This, the title of Psalm 22 in the LXX: concerning the morning aid.

It’s a psalm of deep, intense pain.

A psalm Jesus knew, for He shouted the start of it from the depths of His immense agony.

A psalm He fulfilled, with its descriptions of what He endured.

The darkness and suffering of Calvary.

Sorrow and pain.

Aloneness and being deserted.

Crying out and feeling unanswered in the depths of despair.

Sobbing and sleepless in the night. God seeming so far away.

Life pouring out like water.  Strength drying up.

Counting my bones for I am unable to eat.




And into the dark night of my soul comes this word:

the morning aid.

Say it aloud and it is my mourning aid.

Then I know that He will grant an end to this sorrow that for now is all consuming. That one day I shall know His love and comfort in all their realities.  For,

“even the darkness will not be dark to You; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to You.” (Psalm 139:12)

He will come. He does come.

“His coming is as certain as the morning.” (Hosea 6:3, old French version)

And He promised to come.

“I will not leave you as orphans [comfortless, desolate, bereaved, forlorn, helpless]; I will come [back] to you.” (John 14:18, Amplified Bible)

Through it all, in it all, He is there ; and if I do not yet know Him in it with me, I will.  I will.

“Oh, that we might know the Lord!

Let us press on to know him.

He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn

or the coming of rains in early spring.” (Hosea 6:3)