How Can Grief and Joy Live Together?

joy-of-christmas

A building crumbled. A 24-year-old construction worker who was remodeling an old store into a new Lewis Drug buried under the rubble.  A 22-year-old woman who lived in an upstairs apartment also buried. 

Three and a half hours the girl was trapped, not knowing if she was upside down or right-side up. Hope hung on as she connected with her parents and workers by phone. Cheers, fist thumps, and high fives as the girl is rescued in good condition.

But the mood soon sobered again as the caring, dedicated rescue workers carefully kept searching for the man who was buried deeper. Hoping against hope. A search dog was brought in, and an area was targeted. Seven hours after the collapse, he was found. No life left.

So many mixed emotions in a few hours. Shock and grief but praying and hanging desperately onto hope. Elation and gratitude as God worked a miracle. Fear and a deep foreboding about the life of the construction worker. Then grief and disappointment. And ripped-apart hearts for the family who would have a missing place this Christmas.

One family can celebrate life spared. Another must grieve a life snatched away.

It baffles me. How can joy and grief mix together?

My heart rejoiced that the girl was alive. But after the loss of the other life, the miracle of life didn’t seem as special any more. Well, it still was, of course. But the joy of it drained away and seemed out of my grasp when another family was devastated with the loss of a loved one.

Pain. Loss. Devastation. Everywhere. In our hearts. In our families. In our world. How does one remember the joy of the miracles when the grief can be so heavy and overwhelming? How does one rejoice for the miracles without feeling guilty of disrespecting the grief? How can joy and grief live together in one heart?

It’s a mystery… The joy in Christmas is all about God stepping into our deepest heartache. There can be no joy at all without the broken. Because Jesus came into this world of suffering to be broken for us, joy is possible. Only because of His unfathomable love can we rejoice in anything at all.

It is descending into the dark valleys of grief that we learn to more deeply appreciate the gift of God’s love. The love that infuses light into the dark places inside. The love that seeps joy in to make the grief more bearable. The love that radiates hope into despairing hearts.

For you who are feeling downhearted and trodden down with troubles, I pray God will help you find joy in His gift of love. Grief and joy can live together. God’s love can carry us through the grief. Allowing ourselves to process our grief at the feet of Jesus brings greater joy. And joy is all the more glorious because of the grief.

Then Jesus said, “Come to Me,
all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens,
and I will give you rest.”
Matthew 11:28

But the angel reassured them.
“Don’t be afraid!” he said.
“I bring you good news
that will bring great joy to all people.

The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today
in Bethlehem, the city of David!”
Luke 2:10-11

lovecamedown

“The Gift of Love”
by Hillsong

cutecolorsanibear14
I am taking a blogging break the rest of the year.

I hope to be back in January.
My prayers will remain with you all!

christmas-blessing

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36 thoughts on “How Can Grief and Joy Live Together?

  1. Your words are so beautiful! It is a mystery that joy and grief can coexist but it is one of God’s beautiful gifts to us. I have written several posts on grief and joy because I have lived it in the last few months. These words here say it so well… “The joy in Christmas is all about God stepping into our deepest heartache. There can be no joy at all without the broken. Because Jesus came into this world of suffering to be broken for us, joy is possible. Only because of His unfathomable love can we rejoice in anything at all.” Amen. Thank you for writing about where my heart resides right now.

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    1. Thank you, Mary. I have loved your posts concerning this mystery. I have been pondering it a lot lately, and your posts and this incident near here have helped me to move some steps forward in believing grief and joy can coexist. You have taught me so much, my friend. I so often struggle with it. I focus too much on the grief and let go of the joy, but I’m slowly learning… Isn’t God’s love just so unfathomable? It boggles my mind that He came into our broken so we may have joy. In the midst of all our grief, may we cling to the joy that He loves us so much and will carry us through anything! Hugs!

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  2. Dear Trudy, this expresses the heart of Christmas so well! God’s heart grieved over our sins, even as He sent His Son to die for them. But that is the HOPE that was birthed at Christmas: Love coming down to bring us into His heart of Joy! “The love that radiates hope into despairing hearts.” Oh, may I fix my heart securely into His Love, and find His Hope there. Thank you for these encouraging words in the midst of the weariness that is so near. May you be blessed with His gifts of Hope this Christmas, my friend! You are a blessing to me! Hugs! xoxo

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    1. Thank you for your prayer, Bettie. May God give you the gifts of Hope as well! I’m so glad you were encouraged. What would we do without the hope His love gives, right? May He shine His hope and love into our weary souls and bodies! Hugs!

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    1. Thank you, June. You will be on my mind and in my prayers, too. I’m going to try to keep reading blogs, and I will try to comment, but if I don’t, I’m thanking you beforehand for your encouragement. 🙂 May God give us a deep sense of the joy He gives through a way of brokenness! Hugs!

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  3. Have light-filled December Trudy! And as you mention, it is only through being broken can the light of joy come and be in us. Christ brought joy, but through suffering. One cannot have the other. I am slowly learning that to be the joyful heart God calls us to be, I also have to be open to the broken parts of me including the grief that will always be there, I see now. So I love this today. It help solidify that concept in my over-thinking mind!

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    1. Thank you, Lynn. I hope your December is filled with light as well! I smiled when I read about your “over-thinking mind.” I am so prone to over-analyzing. 🙂 I am slowly learning along with you. It’s hard to be open to the broken parts though, isn’t it? May God help us to remember that He came into our broken so we could have joy! Hugs!

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  4. Dear Trudy, these are wise and insightful words: “Because Jesus came into this world of suffering to be broken for us, joy is possible. Only because of His unfathomable love can we rejoice in anything at all.” Amen, my friend! You have said it all so beautifully. We can only have the fullness of joy God desires to give us if we’ve also known the flip side of life, otherwise there is no contrast to enhance it. This is a season of sorrow and suffering for many, yet it is for those of us like this that Jesus came, the purpose for His entry into earth.
    I love this post and all the deep thoughts it engenders in me. May you have an Advent where Christ’s Light and Love shine radiantly around, in and through you to others, just as He does here through your surrendered words. You bring hope and joy to all who read the words you share. May your Christmas be characterised by hope and joy in full measure. Every blessing, lots of love and hugs until we see you here again! xox ❤

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    1. Thank you for your kind encouragement and loving prayers, Joy. It’s all such a mystery, isn’t it? It just boggles my mind that God enters our broken so we can have His joy. Such incomprehensible love! May we be filled with Christ’s Light and Love, His Hope and His Joy, so full that it bubbles forth into all we do or say or write! Hugs!

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  5. This is beautiful, Trudy. So true that grief and joy can live side by side. I love that Jesus entered into that at Christmas- that he lived in the grief and joy so he knows what it is like. I hope you enjoy your break and have a peaceful and joyful Christmas!

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    1. Thank you, Lesley. You have shown me in your posts how grief and joy can dwell together. I love, too, that Jesus understands us so well because He so graciously entered into this world as humanity. I hope you have a peaceful and joyful Christmas, too! May our relationship with Jesus grow and deepen as we wait, not only through Advent longings, but in waiting for the answers we are longing for! Hugs!

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  6. Trudy….I’m so glad you left a comment so I could come here and read this encouragement….our faith at times is such a mystery. Im so grateful for His love. Merry Christmas….celebrating His birth with you.

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    1. I’m so glad you were encouraged, Anita. Yes, such a mystery. We can’t thank God enough for His love, can we? Thank you for celebrating His birth with me. It is so amazing that the King of all kings took on our human flesh to be broken for us. May we be led every more deeply into His endless love! Hugs!

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  7. Trudy, you so masterfully tackled a tough subject for so many folks – how can grief and joy coexist? They can and they do because of God’s love and grace, and the salvation that Jesus brings to the world. He is in it all with us – all the messes, the trials, the troubles – and all the marvelous, wondrous times, too.
    Have a Merry and Blessed Christmas, and I will be looking forward to seeing more of you come January. I should be blogging up until the week before Christmas, so hope you can stop by: https://marthaorlando.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you, Martha. I hope you have a Blessed Christmas as well. Thank you for the link to your site, too. When I click on your name, it always says “not found.” The books you have written sound interesting. May God’s salvation and joy ring in our hearts this Christmas and always! Hugs!

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    1. Me, too, Anita. In heaven we will know the whole picture, and it will be so glorious. It reminds me of John 13:7 when Jesus replied, “You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.” May our love and trust in His way and timing deepen this Christmas and always! Hugs!

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  8. Trudy,
    What a beautifully written post, sharing both sides of joy and grief. We have to open ourselves to it all to appreciate this wide range of emotions, don’t we? I’m so grateful that the one who can identify with all of our heartache and sadness is also the joy-giver and who came to earth himself in that glorious even we celebrate at this time of year. Enjoy your blogging break, friend, and I wish you the happiest of holidays with your family! xoxoxo I know I’ll see you back here in 2017! 🙂

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    1. Thank you, Valerie. It’s truly amazing that the “one who can identify with all of our heartache and sadness is also the joy-giver.” I hope you, too, will have a happy Christmas with your loved ones. May the joy Jesus brings spread in our hearts and shine forth to those around us! Hugs!

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    1. For sure, Linda. It reminds me of something Billy Graham once said, something like – “If we understood God, He wouldn’t be a very big God, would He?” Thank you for your prayers. I pray the same for you. May we have faith to keep latching onto Jesus’ hand of love stretched out and stepping forward into His way! Hugs!

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  9. So beautiful, Trudy – some of your best writing, my friend. I can tell that you are deeply acquainted with sorrow, but more closely tied to the love of our Jesus that “infuses light, seeps joy and radiates hope.” I can’t imagine navigating the loss, grief, and even every day worries this life offers us, without that incredible promise. Beautifully articulated, Trudy!

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  10. Trudy, such a beautiful post. It truly is a mystery how grief and joy can coexist. I can’t pretend to understand how God does that. I suspect it comes, at least in part, from having faith in a good, good God.

    And this: “It is descending into the dark valleys of grief that we learn to more deeply appreciate the gift of God’s love.” Spoke to me.

    Thank you for sharing this post, Trudy.

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    1. Thank you, Jeanne. I’m glad you were ministered to. It touched me what you say about having faith in a good, good God. When we believe He is good all the time no matter what, it will give us a quiet bubble of joy, won’t it? May God give us a deep appreciation for His love, especially when in the dark valleys! Hugs!

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  11. Hi Trudy! I hope you have a wonderful blog break, filled with peace and joy, and the grace that only God can give.
    It is so counter to how we think, that we can unite with God deeply in our grief, but I have experienced it, so I know it’s true. I wish I didn’t! But God uses everything, so of course even sad and hard times are included.
    Merry Christmas to you and yours my friend. I’ll miss you! See you in 2017 🙂
    Ceil

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    1. Thank you, Ceil. May God give you peace, joy, and grace as well! Yes, it truly is a wonder that there are times when we can unite with God deeply in our grief. I know this season is harder for you as it is the first Christmas without your dad, but I pray God will hold you closely to Himself. May we experience a deep abiding sense of God’s love this Christmas and always! Hugs!

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  12. Hi Trudi- Thanks for this- for so honestly stating something we all think about and experience – and wrestle with- I really appreciate this-! I was thinking about the cross the other day and those three days no one new what would happen – How our lives are like that- So often despair and hard things come and stay a while but, like you have beautiful said, is what Christmas is all about-The hope of our rescue. the hope of resurrection, the hope that the end is happy and all will be well because we are His beloved. If only i could hang on to that hope and that tender love more easily when things get hard. (I tend to think it will stay forever) But Jesus has beautifully re written our forever! We get to be with our beautiful Jesus tucked safe in his love with no more tears – forever Joy in Him! So glad to connect with you here tonight- (I have missed writing my blog as I have been struggling with medical stuff again 😦 Thanks for encouraging me Trudy! xoxo

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    1. Oh Susie, I’m so sorry for all your struggles with your health. I know days like that can feel awfully bleak. It’s so hard not to despair and wonder if Hope is ever going to rise again. I know the feeling. This brings tears of longing to my eyes – “We get to be with our beautiful Jesus tucked safe in his love with no more tears – forever Joy in Him!” Amen! Won’t that be a wonderful day?! I’m glad you were encouraged here. Thank you for also encouraging me! May we together cling to Jesus’ love even when things get hard! Hugs!

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    1. Merry Christmas to you, too, Lori. Thank you for your kind words. You have also inspired me with hope in 2016. So true that we do not fully embrace the gift of joy without knowing grief. May we in the midst of troubles embrace hope, joy, and love this Christmas season and always! Hugs!

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  13. Trudy,
    It is so true; that mystery of joy and grief because we live in a broken world but Jesus came to restore and heal but the process isn’t done yet. Praying comfort for the worker’s family and friends. So Hard. this is so true: “It is descending into the dark valleys of grief that we learn to more deeply appreciate the gift of God’s love. ” I have been in those dark valleys and I have found God to be present, although sometimes I didn’t know until hindsight. Many Christmas blessings to you and yours 🙂

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    1. Thank you for the prayers for the worker’s family and friends, Dolly. Also for your Christmas blessings. 🙂 How true what you write about how sometimes we don’t realize God’s presence in the dark valleys until hindsight. May we together deeply appreciate God’s love to us this Christmas and always! Hugs!

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    1. Thank you, Lux. Yes, life is baffling. What a comfort to know God is our King, right? I wasn’t familiar with that song, so I looked it up. Very cute and encouraging. 🙂 Thank you for adding smiles to my day. May God daily remind us He is King! Hugs!

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