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Sea of Sorrow


When I was little, we would sometimes travel to the Oregon Coast on mini vacations. I both love and fear the ocean so it took me awhile to get brave enough to put my toes in it. My parents also fear the power of the crazy coastal sneaker waves and would always start to panic when the tide rolled in. Slowly it came. Wave by wave, moving closer and closer to toes…ankles…knees.  That’s when it was time to move away from the water and into the safety of the house.  The saddest moment of Oregon Coast vacations was high tide on the very last day. That’s when I knew: our time here is nearly done.


Sorrow is so much like the tides. It rolls in all stealthy and, little-by-little, starts to nip at your toes.  In the past few months, I’ve tried hard to outrun it.  I run to Home Depot or I run the River Trail and it works for awhile, but today, I feel the tide edging up into my now, pushing its way into all the moments of life. Waking. Sleeping. Hoping. Singing. Shopping. Any moment, it seems, is at risk for a sneaker wave – a gut punch of sorrow so intense I sometimes feel doubled over by it. The problem now is, the tide is too close to outrun.


ALS is also like the tides. It sneaks in slowly at first, attacking and receding, almost like it can’t make up its mind whether it wants you or not. Steadily, though, you realize: here comes high tide. 


So, here we are. Four years post-diagnosis and it seems the water is nearly up to our knees. We could run, but Steve cannot, so we will stand with him on the shoreline as long as we can.  We will surround him and guard him and keep him as safe as we can until the water carries him away to a new and beautiful life. We will try with everything we have to let go gracefully.  We will worship. We will give thanks. We will weep. We will dream of the day when we are together again.


We will try to be brave, but more than that – we will trust. We will trust that God is real and God is good.  We will trust in His sovereignty and strategy. We will sink our hearts deep in all we know as truth: that our Great Father is living in a committed, covenant relationship with Steve Stern and He will not, will not, will not leave him alone or unloved.  Not now, not ever.


If we trust Him, we have everything.


And we do. We trust Him.


With hope,





April 21, 2015 - 10:15 am

KC - <3

April 21, 2015 - 10:23 am

Pam - Beautiful and heartbreaking. I love you.

April 21, 2015 - 11:35 am

Jean Nelsen - I get it. Been there. Praying healing and comfort and a sense of His presence like you’ve never know before. Love you.

April 21, 2015 - 11:56 am

kathy halley - May the arms that so tightly have held you both together give you the strength and compassion to be totally consumed in his presence. Love and many cyber hugs to you both.

April 21, 2015 - 12:04 pm

Molly - Sniff, sniff……one of yor best……no words…….I will never look at the tides the same again. Standing with you are the water rises.

April 21, 2015 - 12:07 pm

Kathy Gilbert - waves of mercy…
waves of grace…
Looking to God for you. I am holding the Sterns up to Him. I’m feeling love for you and sending support from far away, knowing God is so very near to you.

Thank you for sharing, Bo.
I’m saying my prayers and sending you a hug.

April 21, 2015 - 1:18 pm

Beth Yancey - Thank you so much Bo. This spoke truth to just where I am today as my dear Daddy is about to be used to the place the rest of us can’t yet go to be with his Savior. Bless you and your family as you carry your sorrow as a sacred trust!

April 21, 2015 - 1:18 pm

Beth Yancey - Thank you so much Bo. This spoke truth to just where I am today as my dear Daddy is about to be ushered to the place the rest of us can’t yet go to be with his Savior. Bless you and your family as you carry your sorrow as a sacred trust!

April 21, 2015 - 1:46 pm

Terry - God Bless you and your family sweet Bo. I walked the path with my dear brother who went home Sept 29. I am forever changed through it by a God who kept my head above the waves when the flesh could no longer. He is able to love us most when we are in valley. I continue to pray for you and your beautiful family.

April 21, 2015 - 1:51 pm

Jody Collins - Bo, I remember sitting next to Steve last year at The Well Conference. Gwen Mc introduced us and he was kind and funny, which amazed me.
I’ve watched and read and prayed all these months along with you and knew the day would come.

All I can do is type these words with tears rolling down my face and know that the next adventure will begin for you after Steve walks through that door.

Here’s to grace to carry you over the threshhold.

April 21, 2015 - 2:20 pm

Julie - I certainly wish things were different. I’m heart broken with you girl. You can rest on this

Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord; whose confidence is in him. Jeremiah 17:7

April 21, 2015 - 6:01 pm

Mike spencer - “A brain in a chair”…the title of the book I wrote. The ALS tide swept my wife away. She suffered 2 years post diagnosis. I clearly understand every thing you expressed. Kenni took residence in heaven. I struggle more today than shortly after she flew away. I hate ALS because it changed our family life so much. The only thing that I can hook too is God. I can’t come up with any reason it was her time. I identified with everything you said. I will pray for you!

April 21, 2015 - 6:41 pm

Heather - Praying praying praying for you guys. Thank you for sharing – i think of you guys often every day and pray for you. May God’s peace and presence continue to overshadow you. much love.

April 21, 2015 - 7:59 pm

Arlene - Beautifully written. God ever present . . . blessed assurance. Praying God’s peace totally envelope you and Steve and your children. Love you and Steve

April 21, 2015 - 8:01 pm

Leslie Forbes-Mariani - Bo, thank you. Your words are powerful, communicate such grace, such trust, and mean so much. I have folkes I speak to who are living in grief and your words bring real truth to real grief and bring real hope. 1 Cor. 15 we are praying for you all. Les

April 21, 2015 - 9:17 pm

Lisa - Our G-O-D is bigger than A-L-S!! Sorry ALS but,YOU LOSE!
Happy birthday to the leader in this army, on this day, in this life! We will all dance with you forever!

April 21, 2015 - 9:24 pm

Melissa Murphy - Oh Bo! Words just express how I feel or how you feel. I am in tears over this situation! Your love for Steve & God is so overwhelming and beautiful. I am praying for you and your children during this difficult high tide!

April 22, 2015 - 8:20 pm

Anne Carlson - with hope. with you.

April 26, 2015 - 9:35 am

Donna - Just beginning the ALS journey with my husband. Thank you, Bo for sharing your heart, and hope in our savior.

April 29, 2015 - 1:20 pm

Nancy Thompson - A member of my lifegroup forwarded me your interview with Focus on the Family. I have been reading your blog ever since. This is a beautiful entry and as I embark on the journey of ALS with my wonderful, strong, loyal, faithful (also 53 year old) husband, I take comfort in your words. They are both beautiful and sad; both comforting and frightening; they are reassurance that I am not alone in my thoughts. Thank you. Nancy