Grief and joy

"Was that hard for you?"

The question has been asked often in the last few weeks, usually following some sort of trigger. I don't mind the question. In fact, thank you for caring so much that you recognize the hurt and take the time to ask. 

Birth announcements. Someone bringing their new baby to an event. Being an observer to tiring conversations about sleep schedules, bottle feeding vs nursing, cloth vs disposal diapers. Someone I haven't seen in months asking if I had the baby...

"Was that hard for you?"

I've struggled to find the right answer. I could never quite articulate what I was thinking, until today. 

Yes. Everything is hard for me right now. 

Being at home can be hard.
Ethan's nursery is behind that closed door.

Going to the store is hard. 
There are newborns everywhere.

Walking past the baby section is hard.
Oh yeah, I still need to make those returns. What if the sales clerk asks why I'm making a return? Can I do this without turning into a blubbering mess? 

Even walking past the sporting goods store is hard.
Would he have preferred baseball or soccer?

Talking about going on vacation is hard. 
We already had our babymoon. Our next vacation was going to be with our baby. 

Planning for the holidays is hard. 
This was going to be baby's first Christmas.

Eating a sub sandwich is hard. (Yes, I had a major breakdown in Subway.)
I couldn't eat deli meat when I was pregnant with Ethan. Now I can eat whatever I want. 

Even losing weight is hard. Receiving complements about how "good" I look is hard. 
How have I already lost almost all of the baby weight? I don't want to go back to normal!

So the answer is yes. Yes, that was hard. But, everything is hard for me right now and it probably will be for a while, as God sews up the pieces of my shattered heart. 

It's not your fault. It's no ones fault. 

I don't say this so that you'll feel sorry for me. I've forgotten to mention the most beautiful part and that is JOY.

Psalm 30:5b “...weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.”

Matthew 11:28  “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
2 Corinthians 1:3-4  “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” 

Lamentations 3:31-33  “For no one is cast off by the Lord forever.  Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love.  For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone.”
John 16:20b "...You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy.

Can grief and joy live together? I say yes. I know it to be true for Jesus' death brought grief, but resulted in immeasurable joy when He conquered sin, rose again and offered redemption.We rarely consider the way that grief and joy can live together. Deep grief makes me appreciate the joy in life. It has changed my perspective. It has made me long for Heaven. It has shifted my focus from the world to eternity. It has realigned my priorities. It is refining. It heightens the feeling of joy. 

I cannot expect the world to stop for our grief...and I don't expect this. In fact, seeing life move on brings us hope. It hurts. Yes, oh yes, it hurts. But it also brings joy. 

I often find myself smiling with tears streaming down my face, as I talk about Ethan.

I cry when I see a newborn baby. My arms ache for Ethan. Yet new life makes me feel so much joy.

My heart beats fast when someone asks if we had our baby. Yet I enjoy taking the opportunity to share Ethan's story.

So yes, life is hard. Everything that life puts in front of me is going to be hard for a while. (Remember Subway? It's not your fault, it's definitely me.)

I'm rambling now so I'll wrap it up. I'm so thankful for a God who comforts. Who is sovereign. Who sees all things. Who cares for us even when we hurt so badly. Who brings joy in the darkness. 

I'm also thankful for friends. Friends who take the time to be there for us. We appreciate all of you. 

So much.


  1. What courage and faith you have. I love this blog keep writing and thank you for sharing.


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