STOP SEARCHING FOR JOY

Yesterday was the first day of school for many kiddos…including mine. Davis started 2nd grade and Reide started kindergarten. The time is flying by!

IMG_3011

IMG_3003

I definitely saw a lot of tears from parents as we were dropping the kids off. Some were probably tears of joy since summer is officially over. But for most, they were emotional moments because their child started kindergarten for the first time and it’s one less baby at home. It’s a major event for sure! I’ve honestly never been brought to tears over it all. I think because my kids have always been so excited for their first day, I get excited with them. And yesterday` I dropped them off and came home to have another cup of coffee…in silence. Yes please!

But I know the day is coming when all of that will change. There will be a first day of kindergarten that I will probably sob over. But it’s not for another 2 years.

It’s the day my son would be starting school.

See, when you lose a child, you think about all of the things you’re missing with them. The events you will never get to experience or take pictures of. And there is a deep sadness on those days.

So this is a letter to myself in 2 years. A reminder of how I will make it through because I know I will need a lot of encouragement on that day…

Dear Megan,

This is the year.

So far you have sent off two beautiful kids to kindergarten with smiles. But this year is a little different. It’s going to be filled with tears and an empty feeling since Bennett is not here for his first day of school. There will be no jumps of joy to discover what teacher he has, no excitement in buying school supplies, no helping tuck in his shirt early in the morning, no walking him down the hallway to his classroom, no helping him know where to put his backpack and lunch and no hearing how awesome his first day went in kindergarten. There will be a great emptiness.

But I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to find joy in this day. Did you hear me? This day can suck and it’s ok.

“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.” (Habakkuk 3:17-18)

The prophet Habakkuk didn’t find much joy in what he was going through either. His people were about to be handed over to an even worse group of people. He knew there was a lot of emptiness coming. A lot of heartbreak ahead. And he speaks into that emptiness and things missing that should be there…no buds, no grapes, no food, no sheep, no cattle. Just like you have no Bennett. And he doesn’t find joy in any of it.

But he does find joy IN the Lord. And you can do that today too.

Today is a day that you need to be reminded that your joy doesn’t come from your circumstances. It comes from God alone. It’s just like when you were fighting cancer…comfort didn’t come from knowing more answers from the doctors. Comfort came from knowing Jesus.

Habakkuk goes on to say, “The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.”

You will get through this, Megan. The Lord gives you the strength to keep going, to climb up out of the valley and onto the mountain top. He enables you to go on. But you can’t forget that there will be many other valleys ahead. Some harder than others.

The reality is we live in a very broken world and God tells us that we will have trouble. Not maybe. Not possibly. Not sort of. We will. But Jesus says…

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart. I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

Your peace is not in your finances, in your home, in your cars, in your friends, in your husband, in your successes, in your talents, in your plans, in your kids, in Bennett, in anything! Your peace is in Jesus. And though the heartbreak surrounds you today, He has overcome the world for your tomorrow.

I just saw a friend post this and it could not be any more true…”Somewhere we bought into the lie that if we follow Christ then everything is going to be rainbows, butterflies and unicorns. Not so, my friend…Following God isn’t always safe, glamorous, convenient and easy. In fact, I have devoted the rest of my life to hard. And it’s HARD. But I know that it has ETERNAL value. I may not even see the reward or value here on earth, but I believe I will see it in Heaven.”

Today is definitely not a day of butterflies and unicorns for you. It’s hard and you miss Bennett deeply. But you’re not alone. Your sadness will come and go, but God’s goodness will be constant. And there WILL be goodness today, I promise.

So I want you to sit back and rest, my friend. Grab your Bible, some paper and a pen. Write down the verses that are quoted above in Habakkuk and John, and let them soak into your heart. You’re not searching for joy in this day. Joy is an overflow of gratitude and a choice we are invited to take in Christ. He alone is our joy.

Then grab another cup of coffee…because coffee makes everything a little bit better!

IMG_2424

10 Comments

  1. Megan,
    We have never lost a child but have buried two grandchildren. You have put
    all of me and my husbands feelings right now into this one post.
    We have prayed for your sweet, sweet family. I’m not sure how we heard about
    you guys. Maybe someone at Faith Christian? Never the less, you guys are still in our prayers. I will mark in my calendar two years from now.
    Thank you for your time to serve others.
    Paula Chaffin

    1. Paula, thank you so much for continuing to pray for our family and for sharing with me about your grandchildren. I’m so sorry. Praying for your comfort and joy today.

  2. As a parent who lost a child, I understand these days that we will not celebrate here on earth and how hard they are. But, there will be a celebration bigger than any of these and that will be the day that we are reunited with our children in heaven.

    1. Karen, you are so right! It will be an amazing celebration. Every year on Bennett’s heaven birthday, we remind ourselves that we are one year closer to holding him again. Blessings!

  3. How comforting and encouraging are your words. I too have many valleys filled with tears when I choose to center on what I have lost. Times when I see my friends with their children and grandchildren living life doing things I don’t get to do with mine. I have two wonderful, loving grandsons but not my granddaughter Rebekah. I wanted to be with her when she married and standing beside my Christy when she became a grandmother. However Our Loving Heavenly Father knows my sorrow and heartache. He has and continues to be faithful, blessing me with the love, joy and comfort that only He can give. Our joy comes only from Him but it must be our choice. Over the years since they were killed my Savior Jesus has drawn closer to me, held me, sheltered and lifted me up when I wanted to give in to bitterness and anger. The joy of the Lord is my strength. He has given me many daughters and granddaughters in the body of Jesus Christ. I count you as one of mine. I’m so proud of you and Ben holding fast in your faith, growing in wisdom and standing for the Truth of the Scriptures. Love and prayers always. 💜🌴✝

  4. God continues to give to strength and words of wisdom to pass on to others. Your blogs are a blessing to me, even though I have not faced your challenges. God bless you and Ben in your ministry.

  5. This was absolutely wonderful to read Megan … particularly in light of the flooding we had in Lafayette and in the wake of a possible hurricane next week. I am going to post John 16:33 on my facebook page (credits to you of course.) I prayed in 2014 for you all as I battled cancer and I’m back battling again this year. I love reading the blog and all the wonderful words of wisdom the Lord gives you to share with us. You are a blessing!

Join the discussion