Throughout my life I have believed a false dichotomy - that two opposite emotional responses cannot exist in the same space.
But I know from experience that this isn't true. I know from scripture that this isn't true. I know by watching others that this isn't true. But when fear reared its head and threatened to wreck my future, I believed that false dichotomy. I believed that future loss or tragedy or unmet expectations would push me into a place of only sorrow, only cynicism, and only more fear.
When that projected fear actually became my reality this past fall (which I wrote about here), I experienced a mix of emotions I'd never felt before. Two opposite emotional responses could absolutely exist in the same space. I was surprised by such joy in the deepest part of my sorrow - the most unusual paradox to anyone looking on. Was something wrong with me? How could I feel so calm in the middle of a miscarriage? Maybe I wasn't grieving properly. Maybe it hadn't hit me yet. Maybe the worst was yet to come.
Or maybe God was actually supplying the grace, peace, hope, and joy He promises! And maybe the best was actually yet to come.
These truths became my reality:
Philippians 4:7 - and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
I Peter 1:6 - in this you rejoice, though...you have been grieved.
2 Corinthians 6:10 - sorrowful, yet always rejoicing.
John Piper says, Christian joy does not die when sorrow abounds. Joy and sorrow are not sequential, they are simultaneous.
While coping with the loss and the seemingly insurmountable journey of starting all over again, I am simultaneously filled with hope, possibility, and the promise of a brighter day. I am assured of God's care and am experiencing His comfort in ways I never have before. And I know now that the joy God gives in sorrow is REAL. And it really shouldn't be that surprising after all.
Photo by Raegan Christensen Photography
We lost our baby a few weeks before this photography session. It was scheduled to announce our pregnancy. Instead it remains a landmark of God bringing our family through an incredibly trying time. Our session with Raegan was genuinely enjoyable and is a beautiful picture of how joy still abounds in sorrow. In my attempt to embrace this season of life, I had a gorgeous, professional album made and filled it with photos from our session. It sits in our living room and reminds me of those very bitter but very sweet days.