Aaron and I have been reading Beth A. Richardson’s The Uncluttered Heart for this years’ Advent season. In the wee hours of the morning, we’ve been drinking our warm beverages in bed and sleepily attempt to discuss the current topic that has been prepared in advance for us to read. Every once in a while I’ll read something that really hits home. Today was one of those days.
Since my miscarriage (a little over 2 months ago), I haven’t been feeling well. My hormones are still out of control and I never know when a hot flash will surprise me at the most inconvenient time. And while I’ve completely grieved the fact that I lost a baby at 11 weeks gestation, I haven’t been able to get over the fact that I am feeling sick again. I had two magical years of feeling well after my daughter was born in 2009, and as soon as I got pregnant this year, my body decided to betray me yet again.
So, I figured I would re-post today’s devotional as a reminder that it’s okay to be fully human and to mourn in the midst of a season that “proclaims cheerfulness and happiness”…even when I don’t feel well. And I will continue to trust that in God’s time joy will replace sadness. Cheers.
“Allowing ourselves to mourn develops our capacity to feel life’s joys. I believe that positive and negative emotions are two sides of the same coin. Of course, many of us would prefer to experience and deal with only positive feelings. We often feel uncomfortable with our own or others’ sadness, anger, disappointments, fears…As we learn to feel all our feelings, we explore what it means to be fully human, to be all that God created us to be.” – Mary Lou Redding The Power of a Focused Heart
“The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn. ” -Isaiah 61:1-2
It’s hard to be in a place of sadness during Advent and Christmas. The culture proclaims cheerfulness and happiness. Others expect us to participate in the joy of the season and feel uncomfortable with brokenheartedness and grieving.
But our sadness and mourning, especially in the midst of Advent and Christmas, positions us right where we are supposed to be — in the present moment, feeling whatever feelings reside in us right now. Even in the instance of long-ago loss, we naturally bring to mind the sadness of remembering, the mourning of lost loved ones, lost hopes or dreams at this time of year.
There is room for all at the manger. The good news of Christ’s birth comes to the oppressed, bent over by grief; the brokenhearted, full of tears; those imprisoned by depression and despair. Christ comes to comfort all who mourn, trusting that in God’s time joy will replace sadness.
God of the brokenhearted, it is hard to be in mourning during this joyous time of year. But I know that you come to all of us, especially those filled with tears as captives to grief. Wrap them in your comforting spirit. Amen.
CARRY THESE WORDS IN YOUR HEART TODAY
God comforts all who mourn.