A Birthday Lament

02 Nov

What We Ain’t Got by Jake Owens

I relate to this song – the lyrics – on so many levels. It’s Bethany’s Birthday. The singer, Jake Owens, is lamenting a lost girlfriend. Everyday I lament the children I’ve lost and Gracen’s degenerating health. How I long for what I once had! What I wouldn’t trade for the lives and health of my children! Cole, Bethany and Katie have moved on into their eternal futures, but I stagnate here filled with longing for what once was and what should have been. It’s true, “I wanted the world until my whole world stopped. . . ” It’s in those moments and the excruciating hours, days, weeks, months, and years when all of life is distilled down to the most important things – relationships and salvation of the soul. You don’t forget and you definitely don’t stop loving those who have moved on without you. 

No, you just desperately long for what you ain’t got!

Partial Lyrics below:

Third Verse
We all wish it didn’t hurt,
When you try your best and it doesn’t work,
And goodbye’s such a painful word,
We all wish it didn’t hurt.

All I want is what I had,
I’d trade it all just to get her back,
She’s moving on, but I guess I’m not.
We all want what we ain’t got.

I wanted the world until my whole world stopped,
You know a love like that ain’t easily forgot.
I guess we all want what we ain’t got. 

Four years of longing . . . 

She should be 24. 

I had been married a year by that time. 

I think of all she’s missed out on in the last four years. Oh, I know that’s not technically true – as she lived every minute of her ordained days (Psalm 139:16). But my heart refuses to release what could have – what should have been – if we were not living in a fallen world. 

In the last four years I have prayed, thought, and felt these things:  

“How long, O LORD? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, Having sorrow in my heart all the day? How long will my enemy be exalted over me?” ~ Psalm 13:1-2

“Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am in distress; My eye is wasted away from grief, my soul and my body also.” ~ Psalm 31:9

“Why did I ever come forth from the womb To look on trouble and sorrow, . . . ?” ~ Jeremiah 20:18

And I have wondered why I have suffered sorrow upon sorrow. Why the Lord would not raise my children up (which I think has to do with the fact that Christ is no longer on earth. He is not performing miracles to fulfill the prophecies in order to verify His deity. That has already been established). Still my heart’s desire was to hear Him say “Arise!”, or “She is not dead, but asleep!”  

“Now as He approached the gate of the city, a dead man was being carried out, the          only son of his mother, and she was a widow; and a sizeable crowd from the city was with her. When the Lord saw her, He felt compassion for her, and said to her, “Do not weep.” And He came up and touched the coffin; and the bearers came to a halt. And He said, “Young man, I say to you, arise!”” ~ Luke 7:12-14

“Now they were all weeping and lamenting for her; but He said, “Stop weeping, for she has not died, but is asleep.”” ~ Luke 8:52

“For indeed he [Epaphroditus – who labored with Paul for the gospel] was sick to the point of death, but God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, so that I would not have sorrow upon sorrow.” ~ Philippians 2:27


But, alas, it was not to be. I must await God’s promise of redemption and reunion. I will mourn, wait, watch and endure for the joy set before me. And I will remember. . . 

“Bethany’s Song” written and performed by Emma Nilsson is a perfect way to remember and celebrate the woman Bethany was.

Bethany’s Song by Emma Nilsson

Complete Lyrics:  

She walked with a purpose,
strong head on her shoulders,
her laugh was infectious,
and those who know her know,
that she was fierce and fun combined.

She smiled as bright as she could allow,
She dreamed she loved she danced on clouds,
And those who know her know,
That she was walking sunshine.

Oh, Bethany,
It’s not how it’s supposed to be
But remembering you smiling, laughing, and oh so happy
Holds us in this tragedy.
Oh, Bethany,
We will love you for eternity.

She liked colors, especially in hair
She spoke her views without a care,
and to say she was bright
Wouldn’t quite justify her right.

And she found a love so strong,
Something so special when your young,
And the love is still alive
Through her spirit that flies.

Oh, Bethany
It’s not how it’s supposed to be
But remembering you smiling, laughing, and oh so happy
Holds us in this tragedy.
Oh, Bethany,
We will love you for eternity.

Oh, and it’s not fair,
Can’t be justified.
I could scream and shout
Cause this ain’t right.
But it wouldn’t be the light to shine,
On Bethany, 
Cause Bethany,

You walked with a purpose,
Strong head on your shoulders,
Your laugh was infectious,
And everyone who knows you knows this,
You deserved the best, 
Deserved happiness,
Which is what was there before this tragic death,
But you’ll always be, 
Our Bethany,
You’ll always be.

Oh, Bethany, 
You’ll always be.
We’ll always love you,
Always love you.



Posted by on November 2, 2017 in Grief, Links, Music


Tags: , , , ,

4 responses to “A Birthday Lament


    November 3, 2017 at 10:45 am

    Beautiful memorial to a very special girl. It is such a tragedy and there are no words to comfort grieving hearts. Praying God will give you abundantly comfort, strength and peace especially this time of the year.

    Love ya,



    • Janet Boxx

      November 3, 2017 at 10:51 am

      Thank you so much. Love you, friend!


  2. Jan

    November 4, 2017 at 2:06 am

    Your dear friend Sharon summed up this tribute beautifully. What a loving and sweet memorial to Bethany. My heart grieves with you, and you are alwalys in my prayers. Thankful we’re “reacquainted”! Loving and praying for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Janet Boxx

      November 4, 2017 at 10:58 am

      Sharon has been my “Me too”! friend for years. She is my Psalm 13 woman.

      Psalm 13
      To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.

      1 How long wilt thou forget me, O Lord? for ever?
      how long wilt thou hide thy face from me?
      2 How long shall I take counsel in my soul,
      having sorrow in my heart daily?
      how long shall mine enemy be exalted over me?
      3 Consider and hear me, O Lord my God:
      lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death;
      4 lest mine enemy say, I have prevailed against him;
      and those that trouble me rejoice when I am moved.
      5 But I have trusted in thy mercy;
      my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation.
      6 I will sing unto the Lord,
      because he hath dealt bountifully with me. ~ Authorized King James Version

      I have literally seen Sharon move from verses one and two, to three and four, and ultimately to verses five and six in conversation as she talks through the trials she is currently facing. I’ve seen her repeatedly go through that process repeatedly over the years. I’ve always been awed to watch that transformation in process. I imagine when circumstances become overwhelming she is doing the same thing in her mind.

      Many years ago my pastor spoke on Psalm 13 and I remember thinking, “Nobody does that (at least in one conversation)”, but they do. Those who seek after God in the midst of the trials that seem to undermine everything the Bible tells us about His character and love. Those with weak faith in a moment, or moments, in time whose foundation of faith is far stronger than they realize because it’s been refined. Those whose faith and trust in God is solid steel even when it hides behind an outward covering of marshmallow fluff. They go through that process over and over again when fear absolutely demands to be confronted with truth. Sharon is all of those things. When trials come she burrows deeper and deeper in God’s Word. She knows that all is not as it seems. She is the Phoenix rising from the ashes. And even as she becomes increasingly aware of her human frailties and utter dependence on the Lord, the Holy Spirit has quietly and meticulously done His job renewing, transforming, and conforming her heart and soul. Her faith and trust is beautiful in my sight. She has been a true and faithful friend! We have laughed and cried and bemoaned our trials together.

      I have been blessed with several such spiritual warrior women in my life and I am profoundly thankful for each and every one. I appreciate the women who have yoked up with me, sharing my grief, loving and praying for me, lightening the burdens I carry. I’m thankful too that we are getting reacquainted (and not just because you returned to me a priceless, irreplaceable treasure). No, becoming reacquainted has so more to do with your heart, faith and friendship. Those are the true treasures of life (but I’m still very thankful for Bethany’s school Bible). We need to get with Julie and plan another free pie night to celebrate (express our gratitude for) friendship! This is, after all, the month we set our minds toward all the things for which we are thankful (and is it really Thanksgiving without pie?).

      Liked by 1 person


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