Mourning & Dancing

This is one of those blogs I've been sitting on for a while now... Over a year ago, I read a study in She Reads Truth that hit home for me, and to be honest, I'm still trying to decide what to make of it. Regardless of how I try to disregard it from my mind, it KEEPS showing up in my life. Which has led me here. To my blog. A place where I can process and identify how I really feel about a topic {PTL for that backspace button}, and hopefully, to also share & encourage others through what God is teaching me today. 

In "A Time to Mourn and a Time to Dance," Raechel Myers says:

"Life and death are not respecters of each other. Mourning and dancing—they don’t always take turns. Not in my story, not in yours, not in our world. While people celebrate weddings and first steps and the sweetness of life, the broken world continues to break our hearts, sometimes at the very same time. The tension is there—wondering when to celebrate and when to cry. Often the best thing we can do is acknowledge that tension and do both, seeking the Lord as we navigate the complexities of this world.
We must never stop mourning brokenness. It is right to mourn.
And we must never cease to celebrate life and beauty. It is right to dance."

Mourning & Dancing. We've all felt a little touch of both throughout our lives -- and we'll continue to feel the touches of sweetness and the brushes with brokenness regardless of who we are or what we've done. Sometimes hand-in-hand. Sometimes through close friend's joy and heartbreak. Sometimes in waves that make us feel like we're drowning. And sometimes in abundance when we begin to feel a tad bit invincible. 

Why does joy and pain have to be so closely tied together?

I'm reminded of this just a couple of months ago. My grandfather went in for open-heart surgery, and at 84 you never know what quite to expect. Thankfully, everything went fine and he is now recovering -- but that same week a friend of a friend lost their dad in another type of open-heart surgery. When I heard the news, I immediately was flooded with gratefulness that we still had my grandfather, but at the same time I wanted to weep for the family that had lost their loved one. 

You might have felt something similar.... 

Celebrating Christmas with your family, while feeling heartbreak that not everyone is with you anymore. Rejoicing with friends over their engagement, while remembering the heartache divorce has brought to your life. Encountering a stranger full of kindness, while watching the world's chaos unfold on tv that night. 

For me, it's easy to feel close to Jesus when my life is full of joy. I see it when things are going good, when I feel loved to the fullest, when there is one celebration after another. Yet it NEVER fails that when joy is present, there's always something that slaps me back down to reality. A reminder of how broken this world is remains. Events that always muster up the question of "Why God?" 

It's taken me a bit to see the beauty in the BROKENNESS. 

We live in a broken world. Period. And instead of constantly trying to ignore that, I'm starting to learn what it looks like to embrace it. The pain of this world, the depth of emotion stirred up in us over heartbreak -- Jesus did not choose this for us, but he does let them stand as a sweet reminder of what's yet to come.

Brokenness is the reminder of hope. It's the reminder of eternity. 

Joy easily reminds us of the love and promises God has given us. But, we live in a world where we can't escape trials and hard times. Brokenness surrounds us in the small details and in large waves -- regardless of who you are, what you've done, and what you think you deserve. In fact, Jesus promises us there's a season for everything in Ecclesiastes 3:18:

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace." 

Having peace that God is present and in control of all seasons allows us to both dance with joy over the celebrations in life AND to mourn the brokenness of this world, hand-in-hand. And I'm starting to finally realize what it looks like to fully embrace that. 

Mourning & Dancing. To get through both, you need peace. You need Jesus. 

Through all seasons of life, there is one constant: Jesus. He never leaves us, regardless of what we go through. It's easy to cling to Jesus in our highs, but we must remember to cling to him in our lows. He's our Rescuer. Our Protector. Our Savior. Our Peace.

“The LORD is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” – Deuteronomy 31:8
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior." - Isaiah 4:1-3

Like Raechel says, it is our right to mourn this broken world. It is our right to dance through celebrations. But remember, the sweetest promise is that whatever happens in this season or next -- He has overcome it ALL. 

"I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world." - James 16:33