Thursday, December 17, 2020

Joy to the lowly


Their social position was lowly. People assumed them to be robbers, ceremonially unclean, bad. They lived outside, surrounded by animals, and there is a good chance they smelled awful. 

Despite all of this, shepherds were the first people to receive the greatest announcement that the long-awaited Messiah had come. 

The birth of Jesus wasn’t first announced in a towering hall of a regal palace. It wasn’t first told to rulers, brilliant scholars, or religious leaders. The most wonderful news of the Savior’s arrival was first given to some of the lowliest people on earth. A Savior, Christ the Lord, had been born--into poverty, laying in a feeding trough.  

I’ve heard the account from Luke 2:8-20 more times than I can count over my last 32 Christmases, but it struck my heart deeply this year. My heart that has carried grief, struggled under the weight of PTSD, grappled with guilt, and has struggled with feelings of being “less than”--my weary heart that so often needs the reminder of how Jesus reveals Himself and ministers to us in our pain. He reveals Himself to the lowliest people. He made Himself low. God is our Good Shepherd (Genesis 49:24, Psalm 23:1). He humbled Himself into a servant. Jesus became our good shepherd (John 10:11). He is the Lamb of God. He died a brutal death so we could be saved from our wretchedness. 

The bad news was that we needed to be saved. We were broken. We needed redemption. But the greatest news was announced to the shepherds that night--a solution to the heartbreaking problem. The Savior of the world, Christ the Lord, had come. This is better than any other good news we can imagine. 

Good news of great joy that will be for all the people. (Luke 2:10) Joy to the nations. 

Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to people he favors! (Luke 2:14) Peace on earth, not brought by rulers or the Roman Empire, but genuine peace with God through faith in Jesus. 

The shepherds hurried to find the newborn Messiah. They told others what they had seen. They returned, glorifying and praising God. May we do the same. May we shout this good news from the rooftops. May we glorify and praise God for all He has done. Joy to the world and to our weary, lowly hearts. 

“And the angel said to them, ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 1:10-11

Thursday, November 12, 2020

2020 Holiday Gift Guide: for the grieving mama


Looking for something thoughtful to give to a bereaved mama this Christmas? I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite products to give to a friend who may be hurting this season. 

*This post is not sponsored and I did not receive any compensation for these recommendations. Consider this an honest recommendation of 20 of my favorite products (based on personal experience or the recommendation of fellow loss mama friends) that were too wonderful not to share. 

1. “Birthstone Necklace” from Mignon and Mignon on Etsy - $12 

2. “Wear My Initial Necklace” from Laurelbox - $31 (also available in child sizes for $24) 

3. “Teardrop Cutout Stud Earrings” from Bottle of Tears - $45

4. “Holding Onto Hope: A Pathway Through Suffering to the Heart of God” by Nancy Guthrie - $12.99 

5. “I Will Carry You” by Angie Smith - $12.99 

6. “Seeded Hope Necklaces” - various styles. Browse for necklaces acknowledging miscarriage, stillbirth, surrogacy, birth mothers, adoption, infertility, etc. 

7. “When God Doesn’t Fix It” by Laura Story - $17.70 

8. “The Scars that Have Shaped Me: How God Meets Us in Suffering” by Vaneetha Rendall Risner 

9. “Porcelain Ornaments” from A Beautiful Remembrance - $49 

10. “In Memory Preserved Boxwood Wreath” from Laurelbox - $38

11. “Custom Wire Names” from Grace and Salt/Keary Dee on Etsy - $3 

12. “He Holds All Things Together 2021 Calendar” from Gracelaced - $32 

13. “Grieve, Create, Believe: Process Your Loss with Intention and Truth” by Rachel George -$16.99

14. “I'll Remember with You Any Time Sympathy Card” from Pixel & Stitch on Etsy - $7.25 

15. And if not, He is still good Ornament” from Hickory Home Co on Etsy - $16.50 

16. “Custom Painted Ornaments” from Love Offering by Josefina Sanders - $25 

17. “It is Well Art Print” from Little Things Studio on Etsy - $23

18. “Vintage Inkwell Bottle” from Bottle of Tears - $28 

19. “Do You See What I See Ornament” from Laurelbox - $20

20. “Customizable Memorial Ornament” from Bella and Oak Gifts on Etsy - $14

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Why pray?: On asking with faith, receiving heartache, and the example of Jesus

After two years of praying for a child, my husband and I were ecstatic when we finally became pregnant with our miracle baby. We thanked God for answering our cries and began to prepare for life as a family of three. Months later, a kindhearted doctor looked us in the eyes and explained that our long-awaited child appeared to have a condition that was “incompatible with life”. We clung to scriptures reminding us to God’s goodness and his power to heal. Hundreds joined us in praying for a miracle. We came before the throne of God daily with requests for our son’s healing. Our long-awaited child was born on August 16, 2015 and died in our arms later that same day. 

We prayed for another child and I miscarried. Again. And again. And again. 

Months later, I became pregnant with our sixth child. Everything was textbook normal until my body unexpectedly went into labor at only 22 weeks gestation. I found myself on hospital bedrest, desperately trying to keep my baby inside of me. Everything inside of me wanted to cry out to God to have mercy on me, but I felt too weary with disappointment and feelings of betrayal. What was even the point of prayer?

So, why do we pray? 

I think it’s helpful to first take a step back and define what prayer is and what it is not. Somewhere along the line, culture, media, and our own experiences have likely shaped our perception of prayer. Prayer doesn’t require specific words or a specific language. Prayer is simply talking to God. It is not just asking God for things, but it can also include thanksgiving, praise, repentance, and even grief and lament.

The simplest answer is that God asks us to. Scripture is filled with instructions to pray (Matthew 6:5-15, Romans 12:12, Ephesians 6:18, Philippians 4:6, 1 Thessalonians 5:17, 1 Timothy 2:1, and James 5:14, just to name a few examples.) Second, we pray because we can. Prayer is something we often take for granted. There was a time when we didn’t have the privilege to converse so freely with God and we GET to because of Jesus. Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” The word confidence means being able to speak freely, without fear or shame. We no longer need to go through a priest or walk through a list of rituals to communicate with God--Jesus is now our high priest, who made a way for us to approach God as our Father. 

The example of Jesus

Jesus models prayer for us throughout the gospels and I am particularly encouraged by Jesus’ prayers in the Garden of Gethsemane, just before he was turned over to be crucified. Jesus--God in human likeness--knew the horrific death he would die, the separation he would experience from the Father when he took on our sin, and that he would rise again, conquer death, and be restored with the Father. Even with this knowledge, Jesus’ soul was “overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death” (Matt. 26:38) when we considered what was coming. He knew the victorious ending, yet he was distressed to the point of sweating droplets of blood as he pleaded with the Father to provide another avenue for the salvation of his children to be accomplished. Yet in his very next breath, he submitted to the will of the Father. “Not as I will, but as you will.” In other words, “I trust what you have decided.” 

We have the freedom to humbly ask our all-powerful and sovereign Father for miracles, for healing, and for restoration. We can ask, fully knowing and trusting that God has the power to do this, just as Jesus did. Yet at the same time, humbly submitting in our next breath “not my will, but yours be done.”

My favorite scripture comes from II Corinthians 12, where Paul prayed three times for his “thorn in the flesh” (we don’t know exactly what ailed him) to be removed from him. In his pleading, he submitted to the sovereignty of God who assured Him that “my grace is sufficient for you. My power is made perfect in your weakness.” 

We have the freedom to pray for physical healing, knowing that God can heal. And we can trust that He is sovereign and good regardless of whether we receive that healing or not. Nancy Guthrie describes this so well in her book “Holding Onto Hope”. She writes:

“Often, I see the body of Christ put so much into pursuing God for healing. With great boldness and passion and persistence, we cry out to God, begging for physical healing. And in these prayers, there is often a tiny P.S. added at the end where we say, ‘If it be your will.’ But shouldn’t we switch that around? Shouldn’t we cry out to God with boldness and passion and persistence in a prayer that says, ‘God, would you please accomplish your will? Would you give me a willing heart to embrace 𝘺𝘰𝘢𝘳 plan and 𝘺𝘰𝘢𝘳 purpose? Would you mold me into a vessel that you can use to accomplish what you have in mind?’ And then, perhaps, we could add a tiny P.S. that says, ‘If that includes healing, we will be grateful.’” ⁣⁣

I believe it is an act of worship when we submit and seek first His will, just as Jesus did. It glorifies Him when His creation is acting in submission to Him. It can be so tempting to tell God that he MUST heal, because He can...and He certainly can. But this leads me into my next thought…

How do we respond when the answer is no?

If you’re like me, you may bristle a bit when you read scriptures like Matthew 7:7-8; times when Jesus tells his disciples to “ask, and it will be given to you.” Perhaps, like me, you acknowledge the accuracy of scripture, but have a hard time reconciling this when you’ve asked, sought, and knocked for something (something good, even) and the outcome was incredibly painful. 

I’ve spent hours wrestling through this alongside my friend (and Through the Lens co-host) Holly, who lost her son Benjamin a few months before we lost Ethan. Holly recently shared a quote from Jen Wilkin’s book “In His Image”. Jen writes, “Jesus’s disciples, overwhelmed with the cost of following him, would not have heard his statement as an invitation to request new fishing boats or bigger houses.  They would have heard them as an invitation to request spiritual resources--patience, courage, compassion, perhaps--or wisdom.” This challenges me to ask, seek, and knock for things that are eternal, rather than things (even good things) that are temporary. 

The women’s ministry at my church is currently going through an inductive study on 1 John and I’ve been meeting weekly with a small group of women on my friend Lisa’s back patio. As we dove deeper into 1 John 3, I found myself bristling yet again as we read the words in verse 22, “And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in his sight.” We wrestled through the words together, stepped back to look at the greater context, and ultimately landed on this: the prayers referred to would not be for worldly priorities and personal gain, but for what pleases God. When we are transformed by the Holy Spirit, our desires shift to align with God’s heart and a desire to bring Him glory. What we pray for is within His will.

Perhaps I bristle at words like this because of the way the “prosperity gospel” has crept into western Christianity. The prosperity gospel teaches, even subtly, that affluence, health, and a “good life” are the result of following Jesus and that suffering is only the result of our sin. You may hear things like “Follow Jesus and your life will be easier” or “Have enough faith and Jesus will give you (fill in the blank earthly thing).” This way of thinking contradicts the teachings of Jesus, in which Jesus promises us suffering. Prosperity gospel is a false gospel. Jesus guarantees struggles for His children and assures us that we will face trials. He reminds us that the poor, the mourning, and the meek are blessed. He promises us an even greater gift than wealth, physical health, or status. He promises us salvation and eternal life with Him. 

I heard a lot of prosperity-driven statements when we learned of Ethan’s prognosis. Things like, “God is going to heal him because of your faith.” These words troubled me because they didn’t line up with the experiences of those around me and, even more importantly, they didn’t line up with scripture. While God invites us to come to Him with confidence, He does not choose to answer our prayers based on the number of hours we spend on our knees or how much sweat forms on our brow when we talk to Him. He isn’t holding a scale, just waiting for our prayers to heap up on one side causing it to tip in our favor. God doesn’t need our prayers to act. He is infinitely bigger than this and we cannot mess up His plan by not praying “hard enough” or having enough faith. Sure, we can miss out on the blessing of communing with Him and the way He draws near and transforms our hearts when we pray, but we can’t screw up His good plan. The prayer of faith isn’t certain that God will provide us with the specific earthly thing we ask for, but rather it is certain of WHO God is. It is certain of His character, His power, and that He hears us. The prayer of faith is confident, yet submissive. It rests in the goodness of God, even when the details don’t make any sense in our eyes. 

I’m always encouraged by the account of the man who was born blind, from John 9. The disciples see this man and ask Jesus, “Who sinned, this man or his parents that he was born blind?” I’ve asked similar questions. What did I do to deserve this? Where did I go wrong in my prayers? Did I not have enough faith? I’m so encouraged by Jesus’ response, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened so that the works of God would be displayed in him.” 

Praying for miracles

I’ve heard pastor and author Tim Keller describe Jesus’ miracles as a restoration of the natural order, prior to the fall. Miracles, whether those of Jesus in the New Testament or those God does today, give us a glimpse of how the world was created to be before sin and brokenness entered our world. Miracles also give us a glimpse into a future of restoration--when Jesus returns, and every tear is wiped from our eyes, and the new heavens and the new earth is established.

In addition to pointing us toward Eden and toward future glory, Jesus used miracles to authenticate his divinity and to prove he was who he said he was. Many people believed and followed him based on miracles he performed, culminating with the ultimate miracle of the resurrection. 

In his book Sensing Jesus: Life and Ministry As a Human Being, Zack Eswine says that “Miracles never remove our need for Jesus.” He talks of the inconsolable things of the world, like death, poverty, injustice, war, physical suffering, as reminders that healing is not the same as heaven. He says:

“Miracles are real and powerful, but they do not remove the inconsolable things. Those whose leprosy Jesus healed coughed again or skinned their elbows. Those who were blind but now able to see could still get a speck of burning sand stuck in their eye. The formerly lame could still fall and break their leg. Lazarus was raised from the dead only to find his resumed life filled with death threats. Moreover, the raised friend of Jesus would die again someday, along with this company of the healed. Bodily healing in this world is not heaven. Sickness and death are inconsolable things. Their healing reveals Jesus but does not remove sickness or death from life under the sun. A soldier survives combat only to die in a car accident on the way home (or forty years later of cancer). Miracles never remove our need for Jesus.”

God already did the only miracle that truly sustains us for eternity, which is providing a way for us to be reunited to Him based solely on grace alone. God didn’t owe us that, nor does he owe us anything above that, yet Hebrews tells us we can boldly approach the throne of God with confidence knowing He hears us, loves us. Praise God that He doesn’t rely on the fervency of my prayers to accomplish His will. No amount of earthly miracles can take away our need for Him, nor can any amount of earthly suffering or brokenness separate us from His love and faithful promises.

Friday, October 23, 2020

What does it mean to be #Blessed?

 “Blessed” is a big buzz word in the Christian community. It’s commonly printed across t-shirts, swapped with the word “good” in response to “How are you?”, and used in email signatures and hashtags. I often hear phrases like “I’m so blessed to have a loving husband and healthy children” or “I was so blessed to get this promotion”.

When Ethan died, these phrases began to grate on me. I was once brought to tears when a proud new grandfather shared that God had “honored his daughter’s faithfulness by blessing with pregnancy” because I felt as if I had been excluded from some sort of special club--the "blessed". It wasn’t that I found these declarations of God’s blessings to be untrue or inappropriate, but something wasn’t settling well with me. Some of the most faithful believers I knew were living under extreme difficulty and, though there was no denying it, I had never heard anyone describe them as “blessed”. I thought of a close friend who had been abandoned by a spouse, a young man I met in college who had lost his entire family during the Rwandan genocide, and mothers who had lost children. Flip on the news for five minutes and it quickly becomes clear that pain is real and rampant. Believers are starving. Dying. I couldn’t deny that these suffering believers were included in God’s blessing. 

So what does it truly mean to be blessed? I consulted a basic English dictionary and saw that the literal definition of “blessed” is “made holy; consecrated”. It also lists God’s favor and our well being as alternate descriptions. Even by worldly definitions, blessings have a much broader scope than an easy life. I typically think of well being as comfort and ease, but scripture and even my own personal experiences challenge this assumption. Think on the experiences in your life that have brought you toward holiness and made you more like Jesus. I’d love to say that my spiritual growth has been most strengthened during seasons of ease, but the opposite is true. It has been in the depths of suffering that I have been transformed the most and have felt a desperation for Christ more than ever before. 

Jesus unpacks what it means to be “blessed” in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:1-11. While teaching his disciples, Jesus says:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

The poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek (or gentle/submissive), those who hunger for Christ and pursue holiness, and those who are mistreated probably don’t seem “blessed” based on our western redefinition of the word. It could be tempting for us to look at those in these situations and assume that they are somehow being robbed of God’s blessing and provision, but Jesus shatters that assumption and asserts that these are those that are blessed. The greatest blessing we can receive is Jesus Christ. We could lose every single thing we have on this earth, but if we have him, we have everything. In my flesh I would never choose suffering, but I’m continually amazed and grateful to see how God uses these experiences to draw us closer to us and to sanctify us (you could also say “to consecrate us and make us holy”), which is literally the definition of a “blessing”. 

Somewhere down the line I had made the false assumption that blessings were something I could earn by being “good enough” and, while there are plenty of examples in scripture of God rewarding his children for their faithfulness, the greatest gift of Jesus cannot be earned. I’ll never be “good enough”, yet Jesus made a way for us to have the opportunity to believe and receive Him. We have been given every spiritual blessing in Christ. We have been adopted as sons and daughters. We have been marked with the Holy Spirit. 

When I scroll through social media and am met with the hashtag #blessed on photos of smiling families and celebratory events, I am reminded that the hashtag is not overused as I once thought. I now believe that we don’t use it enough. 

Yes, the smiling faces we see are blessed. We should praise God for the good gifts He lavishes on His children, whether physical or spiritual and whether He gives or takes away. The new baby, the job offer, the remission from cancer, and the answered prayer are blessings that we should certainly praise God for. Let us continue to declare His goodness in our victories. But let us not stop there. May we praise God for His blessings when we lose our house, the cancer returns, a friend turns their back on us, or we stand beside the grave of someone we love. May we cling to Christ, knowing that we are blessed even in our deepest suffering. May we exhale knowing He works all things together for good for those who love him. May we continue to encourage one another to remember these truths when we feel hurt and forgotten, and let’s lean into Christ when it is tempting to run the other way. 

Extra resources:

Holly and I chat about this at length in Through the Lens Ep. 10: #Blessed

Scriptures for further study- 

Ephesians 1:3-14

James 1:12 “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”

Luke 11:28 “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”

Friday, October 16, 2020

Because of His Great Love

“Why do you love your baby?”
It had only been a few hours since our son, Andrew, was born and I was weary, yet completely enamored by the tiny blue bundle I held in my arms. As I considered the question the kindhearted nurse posed, I stared at his delicate face and savored his fresh newborn scent. Holding this boy—our boy—felt like holding my heart outside of my body. The immense love inside me was intoxicating in the very sweetest way and I never wanted to stop studying his features—features that uncannily resembled ours. We had only known each other face-to-face for mere hours and I already knew I would die for him without hesitation if it ever came to it. Describing my love for him came easy, but articulating the reason I loved him was more challenging. 

If I asked you why you love your spouse, your best friend, or one of your siblings, you would likely be able to recite a list of reasons: They possess a variety of admirable qualities, they have been there for you in good times and bad, they challenge you to love Christ more, they make you laugh, etc. But if you were asked why you love your newborn child, you’d likely have a harder time putting it into words. If you really think about it, you could say that babies are “inconvenient” and have very little to offer. They are completely dependent on their parents for their most basic needs and demand our time, attention, and even our finances. Yet our love for our children is not based on what they can do for us, but rather on who they. The overwhelming love I felt was apparent, yet I could not name a single reason other than the purest truth. I love my son simply because he is my child and nothing he could do would ever change his identity. 

The nurse knew exactly what she was doing when she posed the question. “Isn’t it amazing to think that this unconditional love is a small, imperfect glimpse into God’s love for his children?” she asked. 

There is a lot to be said about God’s love. Like his character, it is personal, never-ending, faithful, and just. But today, let’s hone in on the unconditional nature of God’s love–a love that is not based on our love for him nor the things we have done but rather on who we are as chosen sons and daughters adopted into His family.  1 John 3:1a says, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” This is good news for the believer–God loves us and has predestined us to be grafted into his family (Ephesians 1:11). He looks upon us—his little children–with the overwhelming, sacrificial love of a parent holding their incapable, yet precious, newborn child.  

Many of us have subconsciously bought the lie that God’s love is something to be earned; Perhaps if we do the right things, serve the right way, and commit our lives to purity, God will love us more. While God certainly calls His children to holiness, the love we receive is not contingent on this. God loved us with a sacrificial love when we had nothing to offer, still in our sin (Romans 5:8). When we were chosen by God, we were covered by the atoning sacrifice of Christ–when God looks at us, he does not see our sin and our shame, but rather he sees perfection because he sees Jesus. 1 John 4:10 says, “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” His love is not something to be earned, but rather something you and I already have. 

My son will never be asked to earn my love by being a “good kid”. In his humanness, he will likely do something to grieve me one day—but nothing would cause me to stop loving him. Nothing will cause him to stop being my son. 

Just as I love my infant son because he is my child–an essential part of his identity, rather than a feat he accomplished–God loves you because you are already His. May we delight and take comfort in the depth of the Father’s love for us. 

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2: 4-8
Photo by: Lauren Guilford Photography
 [Originally posted on]

Monday, August 10, 2020

Lies of comfort, Words of hope

It wasn't until we first learned of Ethan's critical health issues that I began to realize how much we lie to one another in an attempt to lend some comfort. 

"Oh honey, don't cry," one person said, as they patted me on the back. "He's going to be just fine!"

"He's going to pull through this. I just know it."

"He's going to be okay. I just have a really good feeling about it."

"Doctors can be wrong. I read something online about a mom who got the same diagnosis as you and the baby was born just fine..."

It did not matter what I said in response. No matter how many times that I explained that my doctors had never shied away from the possibility of death. I continued to swallow trite sayings and accept pats on the head. It was as if no one would believe me that it was serious.

Suffering is kind of taboo, isn't it? We consciously make decisions and spin our words to avoid discomfort and pain. We put up walls to protect ourselves and we avert our eyes from hurt, even if only subconsciously. It's easier to rejoice with those who rejoice than to weep with those who weep. Raising my hand high here and admitting I love comfort a lot more than pain. 

I've been pretty quiet over here, but the memories of five years ago have been especially vivid to me this year. I've been thinking a lot about Ethan's diagnosis and the responses to it--my own reactions and the words from our caring community. It may seem as if the most comforting responses would be similar to those listed above. Words that assured us that everything would "be just fine" or words that reminded us that "doctors can be wrong" (I'll save my reactions to that one for another day...but YES, God is sovereign over medicine and the science that He created. He can do miracles. He is bigger than any sickness. Doctors can be wrong. But God also created order and equipped our incredible medical team so well. He created science. Also, our world is broken.) 

But the most comforting responses were the ones that acknowledged the severity of Ethan's condition and the sting that death brings. The former responses often made me feel like people didn't believe me or that my pain was overreactive. The most helpful words didn't try to put a well-meaning bandaid on a bullet wound, but grieved over such deep suffering on such a tiny child. Responses that YES YES YES pointed us to the truth of the gospel and the hope we have in Jesus, while also sitting with us in our lament and acknowledging the Holy Saturday-ness of it all. 

I think most of us are living in some sort of "Holy Saturday" season. I look around and see so many people I love walk through this pandemic, racial injustice, financial difficulties, relational strain, and the loneliness of division. How are we responding? Is it with trite sayings and temporary bandaids? We feel sorrow and long for all that is broken to be mended. We yearn for the day when every tear will be wiped from our eyes. As believers in Jesus, we know that Resurrection Sunday has already happened and we rejoice in this. We know that this miracle means that we too will have resurrection of our earthly bodies one day. We have an assurance that Christ will return again to make all things new. We can shout for joy and praise God for our redemption through Christ and the assurance of eternity with Him. AND as we do this, we can make space to recognize death as a horrible curse that Jesus came to destroy. We can rest in his goodness toward all of His people. We can acknowledge that some things are worth grieving and lamenting over, as we keep our eyes focused on a Hope worth clinging to. 

We certainly grieve, serve, and love our neighbors differently in Holy Saturday because we know Sunday is coming. We can both rejoice and lament. We can view death as a horrendous curse Jesus came to defeat, while simultaneously rejoicing in an unshakeable Hope.