I’d seen this picture of the five of us for years. It never made me cry that one of us was missing. Why wasn’t Greyson with us? Was he at work? For some reason, he missed the ferry ride to New York.

It never bugged me that all of us weren’t captured in that moment. But yesterday at Sawyer’s graduation party someone said, “A family picture!”  We all obligingly and happily gathered around the donut table and posed. It wasn’t until I saw the photos later that I noticed 5 people in the picture. Five wasn’t right. Five wasn’t us. I wanted to scream, “Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!”

But instead, I walked downstairs in a dream to find my husband, Todd, the only one who would understand the chasm inside me. “I saw the family picture. There’s only  5 of us.” And that’s all I had to say.

I wanted to hit something to strike the truth away. I wish our story was a real book so I could grasp the pages and rip them out with both hands. I would tear each page into tiny pieces and grind them into dust with my feet.

“It’s not our family”, Todd said, “One of us is in heaven and he’s more real than we are.” He held me and let me sob and sob.

The only thing I can do to make it okay is to look back through the pages of scripture. I look for moments when the character in that story would have ripped up their pages to stop what was happening. Mary, Jesus’ mom would surely have ripped up the torture of her Son. The mother of Moses would have ripped up Pharoah’s command to destroy all Hebrew male children, David would have ripped up the years he ran for his life. Jacob would have ripped up Joseph’s “death”. Eve would have ripped up Cain and Able’s story. And the thief on the cross would have ripped up his own crucifixion. But that was where he met Jesus and gained eternal life.

It’s clear to see that God sovereignly weaves people’s actions to accomplish His purposes. But what about sin? My son ending his life was a sinful act. Does God even use that?

Aren’t sinners all the Father has to work with? We are ALL called sinners and our “righteous deeds” are but filthy rags in His sight. (Is. 64:6) Suicide or self-murder is not in a separate category for redemption.

Out of David’s murderous affair with Bathsheba came Solomon and the line of Christ. It even states in the genealogy of Matthew 1,  “David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah,” —  God by no means forgetting that David murdered Uriah after committing adultery with Uriah’s wife. That shows that David’s sin was always part of the story from the beginning of time. Murder, adultery, and mock trials by the Sanhedrin are all part of a bigger plan.

All of these horrible stories that were real-life events had real-life endings. Tristan’s story isn’t done yet. Right now, I want to rip it up.  But I am not the Author.  Scripture testifies that what ought to be for naught, is really perfectly placed in a grander story than our own. And for His children, every detail will be redeemed. Until the story ends I have to trust what God is doing with it. That trust comes from Him as I pour over His past stories and His promises for our future.

Dear Godthank you so, so much for Your Word where I can go to find the Truth about horrible things. You never let them lie where they are. You’ve planned since the beginning of time for all bad things from the curse to be redeemed for those who belong to You. You don’t scramble after them to polish them up or fix them. They are part of a grander plan and nothing and no one is more powerful than You. None can stay Your hand or say to you, “What have You done?” Can you hug Tristan for me? Tell him I can’t wait to see his blue eyes. Keep me close and save me from myself. Amen.