Joy in the Sadness- What God Has Taught Me

Do you ever just feel sad? I’m not trying to be a downer by any means, but I feel like I am probably not alone when I say that sometimes I have just been plain sad. Sure, there are times when I am sad about a situation or bummed something happened or didn’t happen and what not. There are even times tho when my heart hurts for no apparent reason. Here in lies what God has so faithful taught me these past two weeks.

There can be joy in the sadness.

Now I don’t know about you (and by you I mean anyone who has ever been sad- so all of you who’ve been constantly blissful their entire life, not an ounce of sadness… go away. Just kidding- but I bet you were sad I told you to go away! So now you qualify!!!!) but I realized there is this immense amount of shame I feel when I am sad. Like I am never supposed to feel anything but rainbows and rose petals as a lover of Christ. Pooh Pooh on that by the way- he said it’d be tough! God has shown me I take myself down this vicious cycle of shame and guilt for being sad, which then makes me sad, which then makes me ashamed, and so on… And that’s really awful.

There were several times this past week He taught me something new, something past that lie that I should be ashamed of my sad heart. I will share only a couple because you’d be reading this thing all day if I shared all of them!

The first scenario wasn’t too long after my last blog. Which makes sense because God usually wastes no time in answering my prayers to further refine my heart (learning something new.. or more and such). All I can remember was I was just a bit down cast. Not about anything in particular I don’t think. It was more like one of those; several things are wearing on me type of moments where I couldn’t help but feel sad about life. So of course then I was ashamed… I identified the shame was not of the Lord and asked Him,

“Okay, so what do I do.. what are we doing here?”

I can’t say that in that moment what I felt was exactly “joy,” but rather the hope that I could feel joy in the midst of all that was weighing on my shoulders. I can remember clear as day I was getting ready to make a left turn on to Dodge street and hope just rushed over me. And then I wasn’t sad.

The next lesson was a little over a week later. This past Saturday was my last day as my nieces and nephew’s nanny- aunt. Even if it were possible for one to prepare for that, I sure didn’t! It was a huge part of my life the past four years. That part of my life was ending, and it all felt like too much to handle. I didn’t want to give up all the special time I got to spend with them. I didn’t want to give up being such a big part of watching them grow up. I also didn’t love the idea f having to be a grown up and find a different job that would be more conducive to finishing my degree. And it all came pouring down when I was putting the kiddos to bed. I was reading my nephew his Veggie Tales devotional, choking back some huge alligator tears. He looks back at me and says,

“Aunt Wachel, are you crwying?”

and I was like sniffle sniffle, “No, what? No!” sniffle sniffle.

And the boy just starts laughing!! It was so funny, it’s like he was saying what are you so sad about? You’re not moving to Zimbabwe.. get over it… you’re stuck with me!!

And there was Joy!

Though it still is sad, and I still had to choke back tears when I read the girl’s their devotional, I know that even though this part of my life is over, there is a whole new part of my life just starting. I am so excited to be fun aunt Rachel!

Two things I have been taught from these lessons and the many more I did not include. Sadness is nothing to be ashamed of. Take a peek at the book of Psalms, it’s filled with David tears! It’s also filled with rejoicing, but they are side by side, not hidden from the world. It’s honest… refreshing.

My tears have been my food

day and night,

while they say to me all the day long,

“Where is your God?”…

…Why are you cast down, O my soul,

and why are you in turmoil within me?

Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,

my salvation and my God.

My soul is cast down within me;

therefore I remember you

from the land of Jordan and of Hermon,

from Mount Mizar.

Deep calls to deep

at the roar of your waterfalls;

all your breakers and your waves

have gone over me.

By day the Lord commands his steadfast love,

and at night his song is with me,

a prayer to the God of my life.

I say to God, my rock:

“Why have you forgotten me?

Why do I go mourning

because of the oppression of the enemy?”

As with a deadly wound in my bones,

my adversaries taunt me,

while they say to me all the day long,

“Where is your God?”

Why are you cast down, O my soul,and why are you in turmoil within me?

Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,

my salvation and my God. Psalm 42:3-11 (ESV)

Those who sow in tears

shall reap with shouts of joy!

He who goes out weeping,

bearing the seed for sowing,

shall come home with shouts of joy,

bringing his sheaves with him. Psalm 126:5-6 (ESV)

The second thing, We have this hope and joy because of what the Lord has done, and because of his promises to us. He promises to use all things for the GOOD of those who love him ( Romans 8:28 paraphrased) and this promise is apparent earlier in Romans when Paul talks about the hope we have in the Lord and thus the joy we find in suffering, as well as what exactly that suffering can do in our hearts.

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:1-5 (ESV)

Thank you, Holy Spirit for the joy we can find in the midst of any of our suffering. Thank you for the hope that will not put us to shame, and thank you for your truth- continue to work in our hearts, and please continue to give us hearts open to your work. Amen. 

Thank you for reading!

See you the Thursday after next,

Rachel Maurine

I also Included one of my favorite songs from a church in Seattle. It’s a beautiful expression of the verses in Palm 42.

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