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as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing

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"as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing" 2 Corinthians 6:10

I began to teach a single mama's Bible study a couple weeks ago.  This past week we looked at the above passage from 2 Corinthians 6.  Corinthians is a letter written by the apostle Paul to the church in Corinth.  In this section of Paul's letter he is encouraging the believers in Corinth not to turn away from sound doctrine, thereby shunning God's Grace.  Paul goes on to explain the backwards life of the apostles and how there are so many paradox's in the life of the one who chooses to follow Christ.  He lists all these paradox's, including the one above.  As I read this Truth through the example of the life of the very first Christians, I am challenged and a bit taken aback. 

How can I live a life that is so filled with sorrow, yet I ALWAYS rejoice?

Well, today tested me on this very Truth.  Today was the Third Annual Conner Wilson Memorial Golf Tournament.  It was a day that was full of so much sorrow I wasn't sure if I could make it through, yet I had so much to rejoice in.

I knew that there would be so many people there that not only loved my husband dearly, but also cared so much for me and my littles.  These people sacrifice their time and money to make sure we are loved and taken care of.  I have begun to do a pretty good job of trying my best to live my single mama life.  A day like today, when I knew I would encounter all of Conner's high school buddies and teammates, along with his business partners and people who have grown to love and respect my man, I knew it would be a hard day for me to handle.  All of this honor given to this man, and all of the people who loved him so much, reminds me of just how much I have lost and how empty my life is without him.

I was shaking all over as I pulled into the parking lot today.  I was hesitant to enter the gathering because I knew I would have to hold it together as I interacted with all these men and women who wanted only to honor my husband and provide for his widow and littles.

Most people who know me, know that I would get Conner back in an instant, if I could.  He was an amazing man.  He loved me like no one else on earth ever has before.  He loved our kids and was an excellent Daddy, and one that they miss every day.  He invested in our lives and prioritized his time, money and energy after eternal things that continue to outlast his 32 years on this earth.

 
(Conner and our littles golfing)

So, while I was choked up as I watched Conner's buddies golf with my littles, I was thankful that they included them on this day.  Even though I wish the above picture was still my reality, I am ridiculously grateful for these men who continue to care for us.  I battle the emotions of bitterness and anger as I plead with God that one freakin' day of golfing isn't enough for my kids. 

But I resolve to place my sorrows before HIM and trust that HE not only knows what they are, but that HE has taken those sorrows upon HIMSELF and has felt every last one of them for me.
 
"Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows"  Isaiah 53:4a


 
 (Conner's buddies with the kids today)

Those who work so very hard to put the tournament on for us each year and those that contribute so much in support of my family, humble and amaze me.  I spent so many years learning how to give through living with a God-given giver, to now turn the tables and learn how to receive is a humbling and pride breaking process.  I am so incredibly grateful for people who consistently care to provide for my family.  These are the people who have chosen to be "Jesus with skin on" for this weary mama and her littles.

It most definitely is a choice to provide for the widow, it doesn't just happen, you have to choose to do what God calls the believer to do.

Taking care of the orphan and widow is a deliberate, planned, purposeful, and intentional act.  It is not something that will just fall into your lap.  You must allow the Lord to interrupt your life and allow the pain of this fallen world to enlarge your heart with love and generosity for those who need help.  You will not only be interrupted, you will also have to sacrifice.  It may be a number of sacrifices (time, money, heart space, energy, etc.), but it does not come without a sacrifice.  I am constantly surrounded by those who have allowed the Lord to interrupt their picture-perfect lives, in order to minister to me and my littles.  Inclusion of me requires time, money and heart space for each of these Christ-like people.



 (my besties and all the kiddos)

Though I was shaking and hesitant, I was overwhelmed at the love that HE has shown me through HIS People.  This is something that I had never really experienced before Conner's death.  HIS Body is an amazing organism and one that is BEAUTIFUL to watch and experience when it works the way HE designed it to. 

So my struggle today to be so full of sorrow, yet always rejoicing, has not been an easy one by a long shot.  I excused myself for an hour or so, cried my eyes out, took some Tylenol, and drank a coffee to physically release some of the pain in my heart. 
(my Conner)
 
 
But I came back to the tournament and could remain thankful that I was married to a man that would warrant such honor and esteem.  I am deeply humbled by the generosity of others. 

 
Maybe the sorrow won't go away?  Maybe it will diminish?  Maybe it won't?  Maybe the Christian life is more about sorrow and rejoicing coinciding than the absence of one and the presence of the other? 
 
I do know one thing, this deep sorrow has opened my eyes to the working of God here on earth.  I pray that it expands my heart through the pain, readying it for more love.  I also know that this grief has readied my heart for my home to come.  I am a foreigner here and I see the jacked up world for the broken place that it is.  I can be grateful for the small joys and blessings that I experience here, but I know that this is not the place that I want to build my permanent residence.  So, I will remain sorrowful for the brokenness of a sin-sick world, and I will constantly rejoice in the hope of my forever home, while remaining grateful for the shadows and glimpses I get while I stopover here on earth.

(the littles with their new mugs after a long and sweaty day on the golf course)

Comments

Staci Trofimov said…
Kristin, I am rereading your post today after suggesting your blog to a friend. Even in the midst of your sorrow, your words are so encouraging every time I read them. Thank you for inviting others to experience God as you have!

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