My ways…

…are higher declares the Lord Isaiah 55:8-9

It’s a skill and I think we are learning it…..

joy and sorrow.   I’m not quite sure how this skill was developed or has been developing…the human heart is quite complex in its ability to be deeply grateful for the good we experience daily and simultaneously mourn loss and brokenness.

I have had some conversations with a few of my kids concerning this topic.  Moving on with life, being thankful, is a good thing..they both,  however, bring feelings of guilt.  Will we forever grieve our husband and father?   Should we?   Yes and yes.  Is it wrong to move on..want to move on?  No and No.  Therein lies the skill.   Mourning and thanksgiving seem so opposed to each other…but in reality they grow together, so entwined that we can’t stifle one without killing the other.

I am not a huge fan of change.  Yet my life has changed drastically the last 3 years. Oh, it changed lots before that I guess, college, marriage, children…etc…but nothing like the change of losing a spouse/father.   It’s not just grieving the loss of a person, but also grieving all that we knew..our way of life.  Gone.   Through it all, there has been a thread of gratitude along with the sorrow.  Both.   I’m learning to accept that they must live together, this gratitude and sorrow. That I don’t have to get rid of one to have the other.

As Christians, one of our central practices in worship is communion.  In many ways the communion meal is a meal of sorrow.  It reminds us of the crucifixion, but it is also a time for us to rejoice in our salvation through redemption in Christ.  Each Sunday when we take this meal we hold together sorrow and joy, gratitude and lament.  Our Christian worship lets us wade into this complexity and let it be.

So as we all keep moving forward I pray that we will rest in the complexity.  That we will, through His grace, keep practicing the skill of joy and sorrow..together.


 “Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy.  A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.  In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.  Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.”

John 16: 20-24






  1. Angela

    What surprised me about grief, was that I grieved the things that would never be. The special birthdays, anniversaries, grandchildren I would never know, phone calls on special days that would never be made or received….. Grief seems hard enough to live with and adapt to, without these unexpected things. Sometimes it seems as if grief has made my entire life a minefield and I can’t see the mines until they blow up on me.

    • sigh, yes, I understand that Angela…you have experienced a lot of grief, that is for sure. How thankful I am that this “minefield” we live with now is not all there is….thankful for the Hope we have that someday we will be free from the pain of grief.

  2. Having lost a father and a mother-in-law (one with little notice and one with hardly any at all) we’ve thought a lot about grief. (Note: I am in no way saying that we have experienced the same kind of grief. Losing a spouse is different than losing a parent. We have only been observers of that sort of grief.) All of this explained, this post made me cry. Our Thanksgiving sermon at church was about how we come to be grateful – first through pain and then through a salvation. We hurt, but we are saved. We are thankful because of all that was and all that will be. It’s a curious, mysterious and amazing thing.

    I love the way you explained how the grief and the joy is intertwined.

    • “first through pain and then through salvation” I like that. so true!

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