A time to grieve and a time to dance. Ecclesiastes 3:4
My father who affectionately called me “La La” growing up passed away fifteen years ago after a courageous battle for over a decade with Parkinson’s disease. In my early thirties I didn’t have much exposure to loved ones dying and struggled to know how to think about his untimely death at age 65.
I lived in Dallas at the time working toward my master’s degree at seminary. Graduation occurred the week after my father passed away. As with any student, I anticipated the celebration of a milestone after countless hours of studying; and a going-away party since God directed me toward a ministry opportunity in Houston.
I lived in a back house behind a sweet couple with three young children. The wife, a dear sister in Christ who understood my grief because she abruptly lost her father in her early 20’s, offered insight I will always cherish.
She shared her father died as she was preparing to be married. Her wedding was only months away. Giving me a hug, she said many times grieving and rejoicing go together. The time to mourn and the time to dance coincide in life.
When my heart hesitated to find joy in my graduation festivities because of the impact of such a deep loss, I remembered God’s hand upon my times. He knew both of these events would happen simultaneously. He understands living in a broken world means mourning and dancing at the same time.
Mourning over a broken marriage and rejoicing in your child’s new-found faith.
Rejoicing during July Fourth fun and grieving the reminder of a family member not present.
Grieving over a health condition and rejoicing in success at work.
Rejoicing over kindred friends at your milestone birthday and grieving the loss of youth.
Mourning over the pain of past abuse and rejoicing in the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Feeling a surge of joy as a friend grasps spiritual truth and grieving over a sibling who deeply struggles.
Mourning over the last bite of a dark chocolate bar while enjoying a chic flick. I’m speaking on the lighter side of life as a self-proclaimed chocaholic!
Psalm 30:5 says, “Weeping may last through the night but joy comes in the morning.” No matter what losses we endure we can choose to seek God in the dark times when life throws us a curve ball and doesn’t make sense. We can cry and let out our pain because He embraces us and grieves with us during heart break.
Weeping over losses leaves room in our hearts to discover joy. Our hope rests in His light shining in the “morning” when we go through “nights” of darkness. Even though reasons to mourn assault our souls, joy remains certain since our Savior who suffered also entered into the joy of the Heavenly Father. As a side note, I want to point you toward Joye’s story of walking through grief and joy.
Sister, don’t be afraid to make a fashion statement when life makes you want to cry and smile at the same time. Grab your mourning clothes at the same time you put on your dancing shoes.