Peace in the Mourning
Throughout this week, I was thinking and praying about what I wanted to write about. There were a lot of things that flowed in and out of my head this week and I feel like God wanted me to share with you my life - particularly the different seasons God has taken me through in the past two years. So for the next couple of [my] posts, I’ll be sharing about those different seasons. As you can tell from the title, this blog is going to be about the season of mourning.
My dad passed away about two summers ago. If I could pinpoint a couple turning points in my life, I would mark this event as one of them. When my father passed away, I felt a very familiar pang of death and the emptiness that follows it. The peace that Paul talks about in Philippians was something that I longed for and graciously received. However, there was a trace of pride found in that peace that almost did not allow me to grieve over my father’s death.
If I could illustrate a scene of what was going in this prideful "peace" I had, it would be like this: a little girl screaming and crying, “I have peace! I have peace!” instead of letting the Father embrace her with His arms wide open.
My dad was a man of God. Because of this, I genuinely had peace in my heart that came with a deeper revelation of “there-really-is-a-heaven.” My dad had such an intimate relationship with God and a sonship that could not be broken by doubts, fears, or cancer. So, I knew that when he met death, it only brought him closer to our Father.
However, I used that peace to justify the confusion, loss, and feeling of abandonment. It took me a couple months to realize that God actually wants me to go through the process of losing a loved one. He wants to comfort us in a time of loss. He offers Himself in a time of need, which is the peace that surpasses all understanding. That peace comes in the storm, in the desert, and in the valley. But, it doesn’t mean that peace will take you out of it.
While wrestling through a storm of emotions, being in college, and not knowing what to think of my life anymore, I turned to God ... and He brought me to the end of myself. I repented of my pride and fears, and took a leap of faith. I decided to take a semester off of school to do a discipleship training school (DTS) at YWAM for 6 months. I said to God, “God, if I want you, I want all of You. If I’m going to mourn, I’m going to mourn with You. Fill every cell in my body with You because if I go through this alone, I don’t think I can do it.”
That time in between my dad’s death and when I left for YWAM, I looked in the Bible to see what God says about people who mourn. I found three verses that describe how significantly God came through for me in my mourning for those 6 months.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4)
“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” (Romans 12:15)
“You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness.” (Psalm 30:11)
When I was able to finally surrender the grip that I had on the peace that God gave me, I found myself weeping and giving thanks at the feet of Jesus. Weeping because I had lost someone who was valuable to me. Giving thanks because He loves me and knows me to the core of my being. He knows the loss of a loved one: a Son. He knows the pain of death. He felt the emptiness too. At the loss of a Son, He gained children, and I am one of them. I was also giving thanks because He sent me to a community who was willing to cry with me, mourn with me, and yet through all of the raggedy edges of my brokenness, they loved me for who I am. He sent fathers who embraced me with a father’s heart, standing in the place of my own. And brothers and sisters who had also experienced a loss of a loved one. I was joyful because in the midst of my brokenness and mourning, I was able to share in His sufferings. Most of all, He traded my sorrows for joy and gladness. In the moment of my weakness, He gave me grace to jump, to sing, to laugh, and to enjoy. It brought me closer to Him and taught me how to live again.
To those who are mourning (about anything): it’s okay to mourn.
It’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to feel defeated in the moment. But don’t go through it alone. Even when you might feel like no one really understands what you’re going through; there is someone who does. He has experienced it all. And He is faithful to come through when you call.
When you wake up in the middle of the night, He is there. When in the loneliest of lonely moments, He is there. When your world seems like a snow globe that’s just been shaken up too many times, He is STILL there.
The eye of a hurricane is the place where you can find the most peace in the midst of the storm. The moment you leave the eyewall, you will be found in the most chaotic, windy, and hazardous place. Because the hurricane travels and moves, the eye also travels and moves with it. And because the eye is in the middle of the hurricane, it is clear that destruction had already passed on the land.
The peace of God is like this.
You cannot ignore the destruction and the loss you experienced. But you cannot stay in the same place as you were before. Get in that eye of your hurricane. Don’t lose your place in His presence. Pursue the Lord in His steadfast love. He will cover you with His peace in your hurricane, and you will be the center of His eye.
By the time the storm is over, you will see that your circumstances have changed and that person is still not there. But the intimacy with God that was built in that eye will give you the strength to move forward with what you have.
I pray that just as God comforted me in my mourning and traded it for joy, He would do the same for you as well. I pray that you find the treasure that I found.