Friday, February 14, 2014

...who has felt this way?

"I am learning that
joy and sorrow
are not that far apart."

~~ Dr. Dennis Kinlaw, 
quoted by Rev. Blake Jones, Sea Breeze Camp 2014

When I heard this quote earlier this week, I immediately identified with the sentiment expressed.  These words were uttered by Dr. Dennis Kinlaw, former president of Asbury University, who had recently been through the agony of losing his wife.  

I have been churning the phrase over and over in my mind...

I too have been learning about this - although I'd not yet thought of expressing it in quite this manner.  It has seemed so easy to swing, somewhat wildly at times, from one sensation to the other.  This deeper awareness of these dramatic emotions has built quietly - slowly, actually.  I've only recently begun to understand that such closeness can exist between the two extremes...and that it is okay...

I've experienced the sorrow of seeing a dear one suffer with indescribable pain...
           ...and I've experienced the joy of watching folks come forward to let him know just how much his life has impacted their own.

I've felt the sorrow of saying goodbye to my life's companion...
           ...and I've felt the joy of saying hello to a new life just a few days later - a baby born to a good friend.

I've experienced the sorrow of seeing my children lose their hero and biggest fan... 
           ...and I've experienced the joy of watching them grow in maturity and dependence on God in amazing ways!

I've felt the sorrow of a Valentine's Day without my own true love beside me...
          ...and I've felt the joy of love from my children, my family, and sweet friends.

I've experienced the sorrow of deep and piercing loneliness...
          ...and I've experienced the joy of deepening communion with a very real, very present, very faithful God Who has promised to NEVER leave me nor forsake me!

I've felt the sorrow of watching others who are dealing with their own difficult days full of tough news and difficult decisions...
          ...and I've felt the joy of seeing God work on their behalf!!

I've experienced the sorrow of watching my husband slip into eternity...
          ...and I've experienced the joy of watching God answer one prayer after another all around that very same event!

I've felt the sorrow of standing by my husband's casket at the visitation...
          ...and I've felt the joy of seeing so many wonderful people take time to let us know just how much they care!

I've experienced the sorrow of tragedy...
          ...and I've experienced the joy of 
                                              and love in the midst of that tragedy.

You see, this quote gives me an opportunity to express something else that has been on my mind.  I've been wanting to somehow thank all of you who have prayed for me and my children.  I've wanted to tell you somehow that those prayers are really and truly working.  

I've always heard about the power in prayer.  

I've now experienced that very power at work in my own life.

I've FELT the prayers of God's people bearing me up as I faced my greatest fears.

I've FELT those prayers surrounding me in my darkest moments...working to push back that oppressive darkness.

I've FELT a supernatural strength and unearthly peace in the middle of exhaustion and emotional turmoil. And no, that's not a mistake.  In the middle of the grief and pain, I have ALWAYS felt a peace...and a hope. This has not been a journey of hopeless despair...nor one without a "light at the end of the tunnel." I can truly say that I have felt God's presence - real and strong - in the middle of everything. He has guided me in how to help the children, He has led me in performing necessary yet unfamiliar duties, He has held me together even in the craziest of emotional times - and He has allowed laughter and love and light to still be a vital part of our lives!  

So, you see? If you happen to see me or my children laughing, or if you happen to hear of some victory in our lives, or if you happen to witness us smiling even on difficult days, know that God is hearing YOUR prayer.  

And He is answering - by bringing us joy that isn't so very far away from our sorrow.  

Thank you. From the bottom of my heart. 

And remember, if He answered THOSE prayers, He'll answer others for you as well! Have faith, dear friend!

Leaning hard, learning much,

A favorite song of mine:

  • He giveth more grace as our burdens grow greater,
    He sendeth more strength as our labors increase;
    To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,
    To multiplied trials He multiplies peace.

    When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
    When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
    When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
    Our Father’s full giving is only begun.
    1. Fear not that thy need shall exceed His provision,
      Our God ever yearns His resources to share;
      Lean hard on the arm everlasting, availing;
      The Father both thee and thy load will upbear.
    2. His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
      His power no boundary known unto men;
      For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
      He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.

      ~~Annie Johnson Flint

    1 comment:

    1. Just like there is a very thin line between love and hate, there is a thin line between sorrow and joy. And, sometimes there is a choice to be made in crossing that line. Thank God for all the supporting prayers going up on your behalf. Your family has been amazing throughout this whole journey. I know God is not done with your family yet, and has more great things ahead for you all. God bless!