i wish wearing black meant more.

I recently had a conversation with a mother in the faith, Lenya Heitzig, and we were talking about grieving, and I told her how I just sometimes wish there was some way people could know as I walk around the grocery store or around town that I’m grieving and my soul is aching.  She mentioned how years back, a person in mourning would wear all black and people around them would know immediately, this person is in pain, and I’m sure they would approach them a little carefully and kindly knowing the trouble they were experiencing.

I wear black a lot. I just like it, but it doesn’t stand out these days. Everyone wears black. It’s not a sign of mourning in our culture, it’s just slimming and sleek and awesome.

A few weeks after Lenya went to Heaven, we were traveling, and had an unfortunate experience with a lady who worked behind the kiosk, who must have been having a really hard day and she was just taking it out on us. Here we were, a family whose five year old daughter had been suddenly snatched from our arms, who were walking around in complete shock, and there was no sign above our heads, “grieving family” or “we’re in pain, can you have a little more grace?” Well, we actually told her our story, and that didn’t even seem to change her roughness toward us (some people are just naturally scrooges I guess).

At church, it’s an entirely different story, which I’m so thankful for. Being deeply and firmly planted in the House makes all the difference in the world. We have experienced God’s love through our church and the church across the world in deeper ways than we ever have before. But still, how many people do we bump into, or sit next to, who are grieving, and we have no idea. The people around us who are hurting immensely, but there’s no way for us to know unless we ask and start a deep conversation.

All this to say, the holidays are hard. Really hard (my husband wrote an incredible blog about this). I’m guessing, for most people, there is deep aching associated with this holiday season, and while they will probably not be wearing black, let’s be careful around people (in general) but specifically this season. Let’s look for ways to reach out to the people around us, because there are hurting people everywhere.

This pain in my soul is deep. It’s a dull ache and I hate it, to be honest. But this morning God was so graciously comforting me with His Word (a passage my husband and I have held on tightly to from the beginning):

“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:17-18

(My husband preached an amazing message on these verses called “The Naked Eye”– you should absolutely listen. I think I’m going to listen to that one again today.)

All this to say, yes, I wish wearing black meant something more today in our culture. Maybe people would just be nicer to hurting hearts. But the truth is, grieving and mourning and suffering lasts for a moment, and there will come a day when those who believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior will be clothed in white (Revelation 3 and 7) and all that comes with wearing black – whether you’re grieving or experiencing a different sort of agony – will be washed away in His presence.

And white will be the new black.





  • Amanda

    Thank you for these words, and the reminder of our need to be aware and compassionate and loving with those around us. It’s so true that we rarely know what another person is going through unless we take time with them. Praying that God would open my eyes to others this season and always. Praying for and loving you guys always. I love you Jennie. #heartandsoul

    • jennie lusko

      I love you Amanda, thank you 🙂

  • Kelli McLean

    Jennie, Thank you so much for this. It is so easy for people to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season and to forget that it’s about extending grace and love to others as God did for us. Something we should be doing every day of our lives really. I, too, have a hard time during the holidays since my mother passed and most of my loved ones living far away. Life is hard in these last days but we will press on towards that goal.

    Yes, we will be wearing white one day and won’t it be glorious! We seek, and yearn, for a homeland!

    Praying as always for you and Levi and the girls.

    I love you, Jennie. <3

    • jennie lusko

      thank you Kelli, I love you so much!

  • 198419561954

    Hugs from michigan

    • jennie lusko

      thank you, hugs right back from montana 😉

  • Sherry Attard

    Having lost my son, who was an adult, it still is the same ache which you described. Thank you Lord for your people who will comfort the hurting.

    • jennie lusko

      I’m so sorry Sherry, that ache is so deep. So much love to you.

      • Sherry Attard

        Thank you and much love to you also. I remember hearing about your loss in the local media and even on the national media and wondering how much harder it would be to grieve so publicly.

  • Autumn Ater

    My prayers are with you and those who are hurting this holiday season, but on a deeper level…those who hurt daily! I too know the pain of the loss of a child, my only son, Robert went to be with the Lord almost 8 years ago from complications of his many disabilities and trials, and not a day goes by where I am not grieving him but where I am also thankful that God chose me to be his mother. Revelation 21:4 says it all, and I know that day will come for me as well… in the meantime, God blessed me with ministry, one for bereaved mothers where we can comfort and support each other, (A Hole in My Heart Ministry, Inc) and I am humbled to serve by means of my own pain and loss. I commend you for your loving hearts in reaching those who have suffered loss, who are suffering loss and the trials we face daily. God bless you all~ Autumn Ater

    • jennie lusko

      Thank you Autumn. I am so sorry for your pain, I was telling a friend yesterday how grief is like a migraine in your soul. There are times of relief and feeling good, but it’s always there. It’s something we mothers who have children in Heaven will live with all our days. I love how you are reaching out and using your pain as a microphone. You’re being faithful with what God has allowed, and it’s wonderful. So much love to you sweet friend.

      • Autumn Ater

        Thank you and you all shall remain in my prayers. We are all vessels (or can be) when we allow God to be first in our lives and seek Him & His will~ Blessings and hugs, Autumn (

  • Jess

    I live in the flathead valley and when i heard of your loss I cried my eyes out. I don’t belong to your church but i want you to know I think about your family all the time. I lost my baby girl 6 years ago. Its been hard, hard on my marriage and hard on my relationships. See everyone around you over the years will forget, its not their fault its just life moving along as it should. My sister gave me a gift one year for my birthday and she doesn’t know this but this gift saved my life. It was a little plaque i keep in my bathroom above my sink so that ever time i brush my teeth or wash my face i see it and read it. Its says “Prayer changes things” super simple i know but I have found it to be so important. I pray for you and your family with the hope that you will find peace.

    • jennie lusko

      I’m so sorry Jess, it’s a pain that goes so deep. You’re right, it’s hard as time goes on, as others’ lives move on, but we still feel the void. The empty seat at the table. I pray for God’s continued peace and grace to overwhelm you. Thank you for your love and prayers. It’s true, prayer changes things, and it most importantly changes our hearts before God. So much love to you.

  • Belinda Mitchell

    Thank you so much for this beautifully written article. I think of your family often and pray for you to be comforted, encouraged and strengthened, even more lately as the first anniversary approaches.

    • jennie lusko

      thank you so much Belinda. God bless you sweetly this season.

  • jennie lusko

    Thank you so much Kara. We are so thankful for you and your husband in our lives. So much love to you!

  • Lisa Heck

    Dear Jennie, my aunt sent me a link to your husband’s website and through his I found yours. My 5 year old son, Kai, passed away suddenly and accidentally on February 16, 2013. He would have turned six years old on March 5th. I cried reading about your beautiful Lenya because I know exactly what you and your family are enduring. Like Lenya, Kai was called home by God early and without warning. I did not have a chance to say goodbye to him and my (temporary) separation from him is more agonizing than I could ever put into words. I just wanted to reach out to you as another mother grieving her 5 year old child. You have expressed beautifully the way I feel. Thank you.