My aunt died this summer.
A dear friend got married.
Our basement flooded...twice.
We finally bought a van that is exactly what we've been asking God to provide.
If I could sum up the summer of 2021 for my family into a phrase, it would be the mingling of grief and joy.
This phrase hit a mark the week that my aunt died and one of my dearest friends got married.
I was standing alongside my dear friend as she made vows to love the man she married. We sang "Amazing Grace" in the sanctuary, and the sounds of a hundred or more voices mingled. The words to "Amazing Grace" left my mouth with the utmost joy over God's grace towards my friend and her husband.
Three days later the words to "Amazing Grace" left my mouth again. This time it was at the funeral for my dear aunt, but the words were sung with tears.
One week. Two life events. One song. Two very different emotions mingling in the singing of it.
I've been thinking a lot about this lately, the mingling of grief and joy. It has never felt more at hand to me than the summer of 2021. While the summer began with the mingling between a wedding and a funeral, the summer ended with a mingling between God's amazing provision and the curse of sin's destruction.
In one day, God provided a much prayed for van, and then an hour after returning home with said van, a torrential rain flooded our basement. In the morning I felt immense joy, and in the evening I felt utter despair. But even in the midst of my despair (and honestly I had a panic attack while working with my husband to remove the water as quickly as possible), joy mingled again.
You see, while my husband and I panicked and worked desperately to get the water up and out, our daughter joyfully played in it, not seeing a flooded basement as an issue at all. The mingling of grief and joy.
I don't know about you, but I sense that the mingling of grief and joy has been a theme for many over the past year and a half as well. The lost lives of love ones, but also time with the ones we love (albeit stuck together at home). The loss of jobs and careers, but also a clearer vision for the future.
Loss and gain. Grief and joy. This is the stuff of life, or as the Preacher puts it in God's Word: "For everything there is a season, a time for every matter under heaven." (Ecclesiastes 3:1).
Seasons and matters mingle.
Even right now in the norther part of the United States, summer is still lingering, but fall is just beginning. I hope to enter this fall with the lesson of the summer: that emotions mingle, and it's how God made it.
I hope this encourages you if you're walking through a similar season of mingling emotions, to know that you're not alone and that it is normal and a part of life this side of heaven. But I want to also leave you with this promise, which has been an encouragement to me in the harder things.
In the same chapter of Ecclesiastes we are given this reminder: "He (God) has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end." (Ecclesiastes 3:11)
God has made everything beautiful in its time. The joy and the grief - made beautiful by God in its time. May we learn to see it the way that he sees it and hope that if we can't see the beauty in it today, that we may see it and understand it one day.
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She Laughs Without Fear