“I will convert their weeping into laughter, lavishing comfort, invading their grief with joy.”
Jeremiah 31:13 (The Message)
Where joy and loss collide.
That’s where I find myself these days. I’m beyond the intense grief. I’m beyond the deep pain. There is joy. There is healing. We’ve grown and changed in so many ways. God is even more known. We are deeper. Better.
Yet, the loss is still there. There’s now the moments where the bittersweet tears mix with pure joy. It’s an intimate place. A deep place. A place where God stands every time.
God is always there when the joy and loss of this messy life collide. Reminding me of His love and promises to me.
As we move forward and life unfolds, there’s still hard parts. There’s still times where my husband is missed beyond words. That will always be and the other day was one of those days.
My husband loved so many things. But sports, particularly baseball, football, and surfing were amongst his favorites. On this day one of my sons was old enough and experienced enough to take his daddy’s surfboard out for the first time. As I stood on the shoreline watching him paddling out and turning to wave to me with utter joy on his face, I replayed the hundreds of times Scott had done that same thing through our years together. How many times I’d sat and just watched the man I loved so completely enjoy life through surfing the waves of the Jersey Shore. How his smile would beam towards me and pure joy would exude out of him with each turn and twist on every wave he caught.
As I stood there watching those same emotions coming out of his “mini-me”, the bittersweet tears rolled. My husband longed for these special moments with all his heart. My broken, but mended, heart was there instead.
The loss tells me I HAVE to walk these moments. My joy tells me I GET to walk these moments. And that’s where the two collide. That’s where I can take the bittersweet tears that rolled and remember to let joy wash over me because, I GET to have these precious moments that now mean so much more.
With each wave as his confidence built, the depths of my soul began to warm and a smile arose. God was there. He was shining down from His place on high and speaking into those deeper places. Reminding me whose I was and whose my boy was.
Reminding me how much He loves me and my children. How He has invaded our grief with joy in so many ways.
On this special day, my precious boy surfed on his daddy’s board. I had a front row seat and God bridged the vast gap between the loss we endure and the life we choose to live well.
As I took in this precious moment, I chose to cherish what I have more than mourn what I don’t have. I chose not to miss what I do have, for what I don’t have. Joy and loss will collide as I walk forward, as my children grow and cross many wonderful moments and milestones. I know each will stir up the loss and the missing. But, I also know joy will meet me there too and I will embrace those moments. I will take them in, slowly and deeply, because I don’t want to miss one second of it.
Salty tears will mix with my pure joy and that’s how I’ll do this thing called life.
Father, thank you for meeting me and loving me right where I am. Thank you for returning our joy and allowing me to still get all these wonderful and significant moments. I lift up any sister who is walking this, where the loss is still so vast. Lord, comfort her and bridge the gap between loss and joy for her in Your matchless ways. Be THE invader, where grief becomes less and joy in You becomes more. In Your Precious Name, Amen.
Erika Graham is Vice President, and an author and speaker for aNew Season/A Widow’s Might Ministries. She resides in New Jersey with her daughter, twin boys, and her little fluffy puppy. She loves summers at the beach and all things chocolate. She lost her husband to suicide in June 2010. Erika has been called to share the victory she’s experiencing through Christ Jesus over the life God has ordained for her.
If you are interested in having Erika or any of our writing team speak, please contact us via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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