This post was first shared as issue 27 of These Sacred Words
One time a family member asked me, “why do you write about sad things so much?”
Oof. I don’t necessarily intend for it to be that way. But I lean on writing to process what the Lord is walking me through, and, as I’ll detail further down, it seems God has been walking me through heavy things lately.
But ultimately, I think I “write about sad things so much” because I see that this world is so desperately broken, and I know we all experience this brokenness in different ways, and I know sometimes we all need someone to help turn our head to look to Christ and the hope that is there.
I fully recognize that my sorrows are different than yours. I know I am so far from a full experience of human suffering, and I know many of you reading this have walked roads so difficult I can’t even fathom. And that’s why I write. My limited suffering in this season is small, but it does allow me a perspective from which to write on grief where I can say, even if in a small way, I am there too. You are not alone.
So that’s my intent – to bravely address the pain and the grief and the brokenness in this world and lovingly remind you that God is good and there is hope.
Earlier this week I lay in bed, soft tears dampening my pillow, as I whispered to God “I’m tired of being sad. I just want to be happy.”
Maybe that sounds dramatic to you (it does to me), but on the heaviest days, that’s how it feels. Four years ago, only a few months before our wedding day, Matthew and I had our first experiences with anxiety and depression – a terrible cloud that has hung over us on-and-off for the last four years.
This darkness has been made heavier by what seemed to be a continued parade of difficult circumstances, one after another. The futility of job-searching, a cross country move, deaths in the family, the weightiness of ministry, deep wounds from friends, financial uncertainties, the disappointment of hard-worked-for dreams, the weight of our society’s brokenness, deep loneliness, devastating losses experienced by dear friends, another cross-country move, and a going-on two year struggle with infertility.
I’ve prayed often in the last four years for an alleviation of the heaviness. “God, I just want an easy season. Can’t you just give us something to celebrate? A reason to be happy? Can’t life just be easy for a little bit?”
This isn’t to say that there hasn’t been lightness and joy in these last four years. We’ve had so many things to celebrate – babies born that made us aunts and uncles (even if not by blood), new jobs that we love, time in the beautiful Colorado mountains. We’ve had so many glimpses of light, for which I am so grateful.
Sometimes these moments take the breath out of me – moments of genuine laughter and ease. Sometimes these moments remind me of just how long it’s been since I’ve been able to release a full breath.
And all this isn’t to say that I don’t know the truths about God. I do. I know he is good. I know he is sovereign. I know that even in the hard things he is weaving a beautiful story, one that will make us cleave harder to him and that will be ultimately for his glory. My hope is unwavering, as I cling to the fact that my eternity is secure.
But still. Sometimes I’m just so sad.
If we’re talking personality tests (which, let’s be real, people always are), I score pretty much as far right as you can on the “feeling” scale. I’m driven by a need for harmony and peace, always seeking relational and emotional comfort. I internalize my own feelings and I deeply feel the pain of others and of the world. For most of my life this has been a gift, allowing me to empathize genuinely and care for people well. Now it feels like a curse, as the more I become aware of the brokenness in my life and the world, the more crippled I feel by my inability to bear it all, my inability to make it all whole and right.
But it’s here that I must turn and see the true heart of my God. My God who was “despised and rejected” and “a man of sorrows” (Is. 53:3). Who put on a frail human frame, who entered this broken and ransacked-by-sin world, who bore the full weight of its depravity. This God, who condescended in order that we might be made right before God, is a God of redemption and restoration.
His heart is to enter in, to be near, to heal.
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14)
“and they shall call his name Immanuel (which means, God with us)” (Matt. 1:23)
Even when I am bowed down by the weight of this world’s brokenness (and my own), even when I see no way to fix my current situation or the world’s fragile and hopeless state, I can look to my God, who sees all, who controls all, and who cares deeply about it all. Even when it seems like there is no hope for goodness in this world, even then he is actively working towards the redemption and restoration of it all.
Yes, even in the pain of death, the brokenness of friendships, the sorrow of loneliness, the grief of infertility, the loss of light and life… even here he is good. These momentary trials are not the end of the story.
Even in the mist of our fleeting sorrows (yes, friends, they are fleeting), we can find lasting joy knowing that in all things our God is working to redeem and restore. That is his heart for his people and for this world, and we can trust him.
This is not the end of the story, friends.