11 August 2009

joy in the morning

Weeping may tarry for the night,
but joy comes with the morning.
Psalm 30:5 (ESV)


Joy indeed.

For a time, it was hard to believe that the nightmare I found myself in last week would ever end. James and I knew something like this would likely happen -- we talked about it but we had no idea to what degree it would grieve us both.

Without saturating your brains with details, I found myself facing the many consequences of past sin: sins I've committed, and those committed against me. I experienced pain like none other that stemmed from some of the earliest memories of my childhood and into my life as an adult. Things for which I had long since confessed, grieved, and repented were bleeding as though newly committed. Decades old wounds were oozing afresh. I saw the consequences of these things reaching their thick tentacles from my past and suffocating the life out of my present, driving a wedge, causing a separation that felt like death. I had full and hellish experiences of how they hindered me. I consistently felt like I was getting the hell beat out of me. Words like awful and terrible are (to borrow a favorite James-ian phrase) the hyperbole of understatement to describe what this was. It was a nightmare, and the nighttime was long.

But then something changed.

I can't tell you how often and for how long my heart has been poured out in prayers for healing, for repentance, for a heart changed and healed and made whole. I desperately wished I could just snap out of it, but this was wholly beyond my power. My life and my vitality were being choked to death.

In the nighttime, I couldn't know why this was happening or how it would end. Or if it would ever. I told God so many times: I can't fix this. I can't do this. I need You to heal. I need You to redeem. If it were as simple as me choosing healing, it would have been done long ago. And so I waited for God to extend His hand.

And then He did. It was not anything I did. I was reading a passage of Scripture I had read many times before when it happened. But in almost an instant, my mind was changed. My heart had shifted. There was no drama, no weeping, no insane laughter. The transition was like passing from one room and into another.

In matter of moments, those particular pieces of my heart that were in ragged tatters were mended, or at least held together in a way they hadn't been before. I somehow became separate from the sin and darkness that moments before, had engulfed me, separating me from myself and those around me. There was a movement, almost imperceptible to me, from intense introspection to outward love, away from separateness and toward intimacy. The faith given me was lucid and sure, my hope so substantial I felt like I could sink my teeth into it. It filled me completely.

I have no doubt that sorrow will return in one form or another. It always does, and it seems to follow all too swiftly on the heels of joy. But since I am so good at forgetting, it is good to be reminded in truth and in reality:

Just keep going. No feeling is final.
Don't let yourself lose me.


  1. So beautiful...your heart, your words, the whole experience...and what a message...just keep going forward. Thank you for sharing yourself.

  2. Ditto what Sarah said.

    Thank you.

  3. I love the way you described the shift, how it was almost imperceptible but suddenly there, how it was like passing from one room to another, how it was nothing you did for yourself but a faith that was given to you. All of what you described, I could feel.

    I am so thankful with you. I am rejoicing with you now. It was so good to read this.


  4. I discovered your blog not so long ago. What you've written here is so beautiful and so true! Thank you for reminding us (and yourself) that these things do happen and that joy comes with morning.

  5. glad that you are growing and sensitive to pain. scott

  6. I've had the "room to another" moments and their always so oddly comfortable. Why is that?

    Found your blog and glad to have done so.

  7. Thank you so much for sharing friend.

    I hold your words and your transparency here with much tenderness and care. I pray for greater wisdom for you and James as you face what you face with Christ as your forward and rear guard, and your new companion on the Journey James.