This morning I was sitting with my coffee, spending time in God's Word. I came across a verse in John 16...."You will grieve, but your grief will turn to JOY." I wasn't thinking about my Mom this morning or contemplating spending the holidays without her. I wasn't sad. I wasn't really awake yet either. I was just spending time with the Lord and reading. As soon as I read verse 20, my heart jumped. I realized in that moment that my grief had turned to JOY!!!!!
I have mentioned before that I am pretty joyful already. On an average day I can find the beauty in most things, the good in most people and I make a pretty darn good lemonade out of lemons!! This past year, however, has tested me beyond what I thought possible. I have been devestated some days and utterly in despair on others. I've never felt grief like this until my Mom died. Suffering through this grief is like a whole 'nother animal. It's nothing like when I lost my grandma to alzheimers....or when my uncle drowned unexpectedly.....or when my college friend died in a car accident. These losses were great and broke my heart. After a few weeks of grieving I was back to normal. I thought all grief was that way and anyone who took longer to grieve was "milking" it. I didn't have a lot of empathy for any sadness that went on for a long time. Now, one year later, I have great compassion for others who are grieving.
My friend just lost her mom to liver disease at the age of 49. It was one month ago that my 24 year old friend said goodbye to her mom. My heart ached for her....I wept for her. I understand the pain, the sorrow and the shock. God allowed me to love her and minister to her in a way that I will never forget. He used my life and my year to help her.....to show her compassion....to give her some sense of normal. I know that someday she will have JOY again. I have been able to tell her that......and to encourage her that this is not the end of the road.
"You will grieve, but your grief will turn to JOY." Thank you Jesus that you know the end from the beginning. You carry us through the valleys and give us sunshine as we walk. One year later, I have an unexpressable JOY. God has blessed me with understanding, wisdom, family, deep friendships, ministry and a sweet realization that He is my everything. JOY JOY JOY....AMEN!!