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My Life is a Psalm

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Each day, as I wake, grief doesn’t let me forget there is sorrow.

I woke up today conceding that I needed to face another day again.

And today is another day to hold space and remember. I am choosing to remember all of the good stuff, too. All the good that still came while we were walking through grief.

Joy and sorrow both exist.

I look to the Psalms. I realize my life is a Psalm.

“I love you, Lord, my strength, Lord, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer, My God, my rock of refuge, my shield, my saving horn, my stronghold.Praised be the Lord, I exclaim!”—Psalm 18:2-3

Psalm 23 comes to mind as I sink into the valley of tears; he will restore my soul and comfort me.

Then Psalm 29:11 tells me, “The Lord will give strength to His people, The Lord will bless his people with peace.”

I pray for comfort, peace, and restoration as I weep in a valley of tears.

Like St. Anthony the Great says, “Everyday, I say to myself, today, I will begin.”

I beg and resolve to find joy in the sorrow and laughter among the tears.

A favorite hopeful song, Psalm 126, which I have referenced in past reflections, starts playing in my head.

It doesn’t always feel proper; it feels like a happy song.

Each day, I dance with sadness and delight. We spent many hours dancing in the last few weeks, especially at a little gathering for Olivia’s 18th birthday.

The joy in this song inspired by a Psalm comes with mourning, giving ourselves to God, and allowing him to reap joy in the seeds we sow in suffering.

It comes by carrying “His” sheaves, allowing the seeds to fall upon the path, and watching what God will do with those seeds, what He will reap in His time, but as the Psalm says, “Lord, please do not tarry.” We must patiently wait for Him to reveal and restore us to His Glory.

Then, in His time, He will restore us with songs of Joy.

“Tongues were loosed with joy.
Restore us, oh Lord, Restore us, oh Lord.
Although we are weeping,
Lord, Help us Keep Sowing.
The Seeds of Your Kingdom
For the day YOU (LORD) will reap them.
Your sheaves we will carry
Lord, please do not tarry
All those who sow weeping will go out with songs of joy.
The nations will say, “He has done great things!”
The nations will sing songs of Joy.”
Restore us, Oh Lord
Restore us, Oh Lord”

Psalm 126 – Bifrost Arts

I “play” this line on repeat in my head: The seeds of weeping will reap songs of joy in God’s time.

My life is a Psalm

Weeping and wailing.

Lamenting and grieving

Searching for laughter and moments of joy. 

Reaping and loosing with laughter in songs of joy.

After several days of remembering, celebrating, and honoring some worthy milestones, including the end of a semester for my kids who have worked hard while grieving, birthdays, the birth of Christ, and an anniversary, we searched for joy amid the pain.

We did find it because our eyes stay fixed on the eternal life.

But we still lament, mourn, weep, and groan along the way.

Jesus begged for the cup taken from Him, too.

It takes perseverance, holy work, and, most importantly, the grace of God. He chose me and my family to live this story. Our strength only comes from Him in our weakness.

Like Job, I don’t know why He chose our family to walk this story. It’s a lot of pain and suffering, and yet it is an honor to believe we can walk through fire with the strength and grace of God.

Today is the punctuation mark to a streak of celebrations amid grief. Frankly, if I allow it, it could feel like a punch in the gut.

But it may feel more like someone let the air squeak out of the last balloon from all of our celebrations. I watch it fly all over the room, knocking into and over things. We can only quite catch it once it lands with nothing left.

Like me, it becomes weary and depleted.

It’s no wonder I drag myself out of bed at an unreasonable hour. I needed rest.

Today is December 28th

It’s another 28th. It’s the punctuation mark—an exclamation, a question, an ellipsis, or maybe a hyphen telling us to stop and catch our breath—to all we have held space for these last few weeks.

Today marks another month since Jon has left this earth and was born into eternal life.

Today is another day without my husband waking up by my side. Today, It has been 8 long months–with forever to go until I see him again.

How can we hold space in our days where celebrations make so much sense yet still be filled with sadness and pain?

Such is the mystery of life—sorrow and joy existing in the same place.

My life is a Psalm.

The Psalms are stories, readings, prayers, and poems containing a range of human emotions, from sorrow, lament, and dismay to joy, praise, and celebration. The Psalms show God’s delight in His people and the deep love that exists between the two. The Psalms reveal where joy and sorrow, lamenting and delight coexist.

Today, in my grief, I had a conversation with a faithful friend who lives in the Word of God and reminds me of my suffering, grief, and life—our story—is an example for others. He said my life is like Job’s, where challenges he faces show God’s mighty hand in a story of human suffering.

I am living the life of Job—the LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”

It is not lost on me that in the Bible, The Psalms follow the Book of Job.

My life is a Psalm.

My morning prayers, time in the Word, and a conversation with this faithful friend helped me see how his suffering (the friend quite literally walked through fire too) and mine can become a song of hope for others.

Like Job, I cannot pretend to understand the mystery of our suffering. I cannot understand why God chose me to walk this tragic path of loss.

But like Job’s story, God has revealed to me that suffering is beyond our human understanding, and because of my weakness (coming to the end of myself), I must cling to the strength of the Lord.

In this story, though painful it may be, I see the greatness of the Lord revealed in those who suffer, for it is in those everyday living examples that the goodness of God is brought to light.

“Suffering comes in many forms. No one willing looks for it in any of them. And yet, Jesus proclaimed blessed (privileged, happy, lucky) those who mourn that is to say, those who in this life carry a heavier cross: illness, handicap, physical pain, poverty, slander, injustice (I’ll add loss and grief)…Faith transforms the meaning of suffering. In union with Christ’s suffering it is changed into a sign of union with God’s love, into something very valuable and fruitful. Behold those redeemed as the first fruits of the human race for God and the Lamb, and who follow the Lamb wherever he goes.”

Conversations from God, Vol 1, p 234

I do not understand all of the reasons and ways my kids and I have continued to suffer, not just the loss of Jon but the loss and hurt in other ways we are brought to our knees; we have been suffering so much for so long. We are suffering things that make no sense. You wouldn’t believe the stories if I told you.

But we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus even through our suffering; I know God remains faithful in our affliction, and He continues to reveal so much good even though and that He won’t leave us.

His way is far more magnificent than ours; we may not see the fruit of our suffering now, next week, or for future generations. But I am convinced He is using us for His Good.

But I know what Jon and I built within our family: a foundation of faith and trust in God will set an example for our children and their children to build, lead, restore, and heal for generations to come.

I will not stop believing this no matter how much suffering, hurt, pain, abandonment, or loss comes our way.

God sent his Son, the Savior of the world, to where animals eat to reveal His humanity to a broken world.

He didn’t do it to be cruel to the innocent; He did it to heal nations and families through a Holy Family who said yes, humbly, obediently, and gently trusted and believed in Him.

For over 2000 years, for thousands of generations, God used stories like Job’s, like my friends, and mine of human suffering and brokenness to reveal the Glory of God. Both my friend and I shared how we are both completely humbled, me in my tears and him in his joyful disposition, to have been trusted and chosen by God to share our hope and walk with the Lord.

I know I shared this photo of us celebrating in this season of sorrow, it worth sharing again.

I’m also sharing this photo of all of us from December 2020 where joy and sorrow collide as brain cancer was returning, we didn’t know what the future would hold. And God gave us a snowy day to sow seeds of joy in our sorrow and have another winter (our last time sledding as a family (and two more Christmases) together making memories and sledding as a family.

I think of the lyrics in the song The Blessing.

“May His favor be upon you
And a thousand generations
And your family and your children
And their children, and their children
May His presence go before you
And behind you, and beside you
All around you, and within you
He is with you; he is with you
In the morning, in the evening
In your coming, and your going
In your weeping and rejoicing
He is for you. He is for you.”

The Blessing- Kari Jobe

I am not sure why God chose me to walk this path of suffering, loss, and grief. My friend assures me it’s because even in our suffering and grief, I accept and believe it is all, even my daughter’s journey with hearing loss, the journey of brain cancer and caregiving, and the loss of my beloved husband and all of the other losses in between and in addition, for the Glory of God.

That even in our hardship, traumatic and tragic loss, I can still find joy and peace, I still follow God, I still believe that His will is better than mine and that in my weakness, He will give me the strength I need to guide my kids and me through this valley of tears.

And I hope that in my suffering and grief, you see my life as a Psalm, and there is joy, laughter, and gifts, and that in the end, the Glory of God will be what matters most.

Because my life is a Psalm, and yours can be too.

“Three times I appealed to the Lord about this, that it would leave me, but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.”—2 Corinthians 12:8-10

I know that as I write, I saw the mighty hand of God working in Jon’s life up close and personal and how he saw the Lord, Our Good and Faithful Father, moving through his story to help bring others to prayer.

I see how God moves in my children’s lives as they learn by example to find their way through grief.

I see how God is moving in my life, revealing where He was with me, how He answered prayers, and where He was within my trials and celebrations.

My life is a Psalm.

Maybe in time, I won’t feel the weight of so much suffering.

Like Job’s story, maybe the purpose of my suffering and grief will eventually make sense, but only in God’s time will that be revealed.

I know what He reaps in my life; so long as I keep sowing his seeds, I will sing songs of joy.

My life is a Psalm. May you see how yours can be too.

“You have changed my sadness into a joyful dance; you have taken away my sorrow and surrounded me with joy. So I will not be silent; I will sing praise to you. LORD, you are my God; I will give you thanks forever.” Psalm 30:11-12

“You have changed my sadness into a joyful dance; you have taken away my sorrow and surrounded me with joy. So I will not be silent; I will sing praise to you. LORD, you are my God; I will give you thanks forever.”

Psalm 30:11-12

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