Mourning Into Dancing

You did it: you changed wild lament
    into whirling dance;
You ripped off my black mourning band
    and decked me with wildflowers.
I’m about to burst with song;
    I can’t keep quiet about you.
God, my God,
    I can’t thank you enough.
Psalm 30:11-12
 
It has been a full summer. Yesterday, as I was looking over some paperwork I was reminded of what this time of year last year and the fall was like for our family. We were all feeling so beaten up. I was living with unexplained pain. Our kids were transitioning to a new school. We were trying to understand our son more and exploring possible reasons that may play a part in how challenging every day life can be for him. We had lost approval for speech therapy for our other son, and he was still struggling to be understood. And our extended families were also experiencing stress that we felt keenly. Not least of these, my sister-in-law was in a battle with cancer that was about to end and change our lives forever. If I’m honest, I found myself constantly questioning the goodness of God.
 
We are far from having all the answers to all that made life hard last year, and yet as I look back on the past two months, I realize how far we’ve been carried
 
In the thirteen years that we’ve been married, Matt and I have experienced high highs, and the lowest of lows. We’ve moved away from all our family, worked plenty for-now jobs, not known how we were going to afford to eat as we worked Matt’s way through graduate school, lost grandparents, an uncle, suffered a heartbreaking miscarriage, experienced and bore the pain of the struggles of our siblings and parents. We’ve loved being married and hated being married. We’ve looked at each other more than once and asked “What are we doing here?” We’ve been blessed with four children, Matt’s job, our amazing church community, a love that perseveres through the hard times and embraces always, God’s constant provision, supportive families, the generosity of strangers and faithful friends.
 
What I’m [finally] realizing is that I’m not doing this life alone. I’m not even making it through the day alone. The broken parts of my life, the darkness in me — they are not being healed because of my efforts.
 
“He is before all things, and by Him all things hold together.” 
Colossians 1:17 HCSB
 
Isn’t that just like Him? And if I never experienced the heartaches of this life, I would never be drawn to Him, nor would I notice the stunning beauty of the world and the people around me. 
 
In the last two months, I have gained two sisters-in-law. I have participated in and witnessed both their weddings, with tears of joy streaming down my face, not only because weddings do that to me, but because these weddings — I know the stories behind them — are evidence of a loving God, working “all things together for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28, NIV).
 
My brother-in-law who lost his first wife to cancer is still healing — we all are.
 
My other brother-in-law reached his lowest years ago and has been doing healing of his own.
 
When I look at their lives, what they’ve been through, what they’ve lost and I remember their faces as they said their vows to my new sisters, I know there is a God. A good God.  And He is working all things …
 
When I think of the stunning beauty of the two brides, as they pledged their love to men that they know — brokenness and darkness, strength and passion melded together, I see evidence of a loving God. And He is working all things …
 
When I look at Josh and Trakena and Joey and Rachel, I am blown away by the faithfulness of a God who does not want man to be alone. He is faithful. He is for us. And He is working all things …
 
A pledge to love someone in the highs and lows, for better for worse, in sickness and in health — that is no small thing. When I witness the joining of two lives at a wedding, I am reminded of a God that comes close. A God who laid down His life, to save mine. A good God who sees my mourning and breaks through with gladness and joy. A loving God, who does not want us to do life alone, but calls us into community. A faithful God, who sees our brokenness, and says “Watch what I can do!”
 
As Joey and Rachel’s wedding was winding down, the DJ called everyone on the floor for a line dance. Erin, Matt’s cousin, was encouraging me to join in, and I just said “I can’t dance.” Erin said “The way I see it, is everyone who I’m going to see again has already formed their opinion of me. So it doesn’t matter what I look like.” I was thinking good Erin, now you go dance. I’ll stay here. Then she said “Lindsey, I’ve already formed my opinion of you, and I like you. Let’s dance!” And I did. It was a blast! But as I reflect on that evening and that moment, I know that is also God’s heart for me, for you. “I like you. Let’s dance!”
 
He is the God of Job and the God of the Psalms. So today, as I muddle through the ins and outs of life, as I consider all the unanswered questions, I choose to dwell on the goodness, the love and the faithfulness of a God who constantly turns mourning into dancing, because He likes me. He likes you and He invites us into a life where mourning may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5).