To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:
2 A time to be born, And a time to die;
A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted;
3 A time to kill, And a time to heal;
A time to break down, And a time to build up;
4 A time to weep, And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, And a time to dance (Ecclesiastes 3:1-4 NKJV)
A Time to Mourn and a Time to Dance
This post was written 18 months ago during some of my darkest grief. It was my first glimpse into the light and the realization that life does continue. It was my first understanding that God provided a time to mourn as well as a time to dance.
Understanding that we go through seasons of life, sometimes good and sometimes painful helped me understand that we are not actually meant to stay in those seasons. They serve their purpose. We learn, grow, and push through, becoming stronger people as well as believers.
To Everything there is a Season
Right now in the northern Midwest we are stuck in the season of winter. Honestly, it is mid April and there is still snow on the ground. It is no longer pretty, nor is it white. It is mixed with mud and dead grass and has been tramped through by every two and four legged creature we have on the farm!
We have had many days over the past 6 weeks in which spring was clearly in the air. The temp rose to the high forties causing icicles to drip from the porch eaves. Our chickens found dirt up near the house and happily flopped onto their sides and kicked away throwing dirt all over themselves. Yes, spring was in the air-and then it snowed AGAIN!
Truthfully, the seasons are one of the things I love about living here. Sometimes I feel as if our winter season is too long and not nearly as needed as the other three, but it is just that, a season, and will turn to spring just as summer had turned to fall seven months prior.
Inwardly, I am also stuck in winter. Grief is definitely comparable to winter. It is dark, cold, dead, and barren. Grief may be MY winter, but what is yours? Depression, ill health, chronic pain, hurtful separation, rejection, stifling fear?
A time to be born and a time to die
See? It is right there. We all are born and we all die. Some of us live 60 years or 90, while some moms hold their babies for only a few short hours before being forced to say good-bye. My Rebekah lived for 8 years. Sometimes I think ‘only 8!’ and then I hear a woman tearfully talking about her stillborn and I thank God that I did have her for 8 years.
I remember the night she died, lying in the hospital, her body an empty shell of the beautiful soul it once contained. I touched her blond hair and told her that she would recognize Jesus because I had told her all about him. I believe with all my heart that Christ wrapped her in his arms that night and she knew exactly who he was.
A few days after the accident Brett and I were in her room and we came across a picture she had made. She had glued colorful beads to spell the words “I love Jesus”. A tiny faith seed had been planted in her heart and it carried her to heaven. The thought of her safe in the presence of God is my own faith seed that has pushed me through many dark moments.
A time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance
Yes, the weeping and mourning is me. Some days are worse than others. When these verses from Ecclesiastes first ran through my head early this morning, I thought that weeping and mourning are seasons that will end, but I don’t think so.
I believe I will always mourn my daughter. My heart will never be whole again and our family will always be broken, yet I know that we are not meant to live in the mourning and weeping for an extended time. We are meant to embrace the laughing and dancing.
Right now I cry, but later we will put on music as we do at the start of every school day. Baby Joel will bounce and clap, Joshua will march around the house, and Micah will sing at the top of his lungs. Later the big kids will laugh racing down the muddy driveway on their bikes while Joel and I snuggle together in the warm house.
What if We also Embrace Other Seasons?
Sometimes we become wrapped up in our season, whatever it might be, and we don’t allow for the necessary glimpses of the other ones. We become focused on how life is and how we wish it could be to the point that we miss the moments we need to dwell in.
What if inside each season of weeping God provides for laughter and inside each season of mourning God provides for dancing? What if we learned to live in the present, the exact moment in which we dwell? I wonder if we would learn to appreciate the laughter more and embrace the dancing more because we know that they are what is pulling us through.
How many of us are bound by our past? Holding onto regrets, mistakes, and harboring unforgiveness toward those who wronged us? “What if” and “I should have” can haunt us into hating where we presently are.
Worrying about what tomorrow will bring has the same detrimental affect. How can I enjoy who I am with right now while I am stressed about something going on next week? Fear of not having enough money to pay the bills robs us of being thankful that we are safe and taken care of right at this moment.
The dread that fills us when we think about a terminally ill loved one forces us to think about what life will be like without them. That dread will take away from the present living moment.
Do you battle with self-doubt and insecure thoughts? They can also steal our joy and rob of us the joy the moment should bring.
Learning to Embrace A Time to Mourn and a Time to Dance
So, right now, while my season of mourning is dark, I will hug Joel who smothers me with open mouthed kisses and allow myself to fully love him in that moment. I will snuggle on the couch with Micah while he shows me how good he is at the game on my phone and be thankful that right now he is safe and loved and happy here with me. I will stop washing dishes, look Caleb in the face, and listen to his crazy story about his favorite chicken and rejoice that he is happy and healthy and wants to share what is important to him with me. Lastly, I will sing “Head and Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” as fast as I can with Joshua because he laughs so hard trying to keep up that he falls down.
I will always mourn and weep for my Rebekah, but I will laugh and dance as well.
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