Reaping songs of joy

Okay.  So.

Life is pretty rough right now.

After bringing Arie home and then immediately diving into the rush of the holidays, I anticipated starting off 2013 quietly. Peaceful routines, slow weekends, and finding our day-in-day-out groove.

Instead 2013 began by knocking the air from our lungs and throwing us into the grieving process as we say goodbye to John's dad. After a two year battle with cancer we knew our time together was limited, but we were optimistic about his treatment and having a few more months together. We were picturing a trip to out to AZ to visit my in-laws this spring and recently even hopeful that Grandpa would take Arie out on his boat this summer.

I now know why people talk about cancer like it's a being.  Why we say things like, "I HATE cancer," and not, "I hate when people get cancer." Because cancer is like a dark claw that rips it's way into life and devours the future.  And while the battle weapons against this terrible disease are getting better and better, they aren't always enough. Last week Sunday we got the phone call we had been dreading and we heard that the treatment had stopped working.  One to three months the doctors said.  In the end, it was only one week.

I'm thankful my husband could fly out to be with his dad during the last days, though they were not days to remember.

After five days away John returned home on a Saturday night. I took Arie to the airport with me and we waited at the end of the gate, to see Papa as soon as we possibly could. When Arie saw his papa, his eyes light up with the love he kept burning bright in John's absence.  He ran through the waiting area with breathless giggles, calling out, "Papa! Papa!" all the while. When John scooped his precious son up in his strong arms, I knew his healing had begun.
Arie and Papa at a local ice sculpture competition last week.
It was Arie's nap time; he's on the verge of consciousness here.
On Sunday I told my friend Ruth about the joy God has given us in Arie, to help us through the pain of my father-in-law's death. Ruth nodded and said she experienced something similar when he daughter was born and her grandmother died.  "It's a spiritual thin place," she said.  A thin place.  A place where the curtain between heaven and earth becomes wispy and soft. A veil that lets the light from heaven's side through to earth. It does feel like that, even in all the pain- like a spiritual thin place.

When the veil seems so shear, though, all you want to do is walk through it. It hurts so much to stay on this side when everything you want- from lost loved ones, to the very fullness of God's kingdom- is on the other side. When you know how bright the world is in heaven, it makes the world on earth seem that much darker.

I have the light with me, though, in this dark world. And as much as I want to go through that curtain- or better, for Jesus to take the curtain away- there's a reason I'm on this side: to share the light of Christ until the whole world is aflame. In another metaphor- to sow the seeds of the gospel until the earth flowers with the Kingdom.

In the midst of my struggle to keep sowing in sorrow, I've found new comfort in Psalm 126.

Those who sow with tears  will reap with songs of joy. 
Those who go out weeping, 
 carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy, 

 carrying sheaves with them.
(verses 5-6)

 Those who go out weeping, will return with songs of joy. 

I've been picturing my husband while reading this Psalm too, thinking about how he'll eventually get up to preach a sermon about the Kingdom of God, while carrying the weight of his father's death with him. Though he may go out to minister with tears, he's promised to reap songs of joy. 

With these promises, we carry our seed sow even in our grief. 

John preaches.
I write. 
We pay the bills. 
We cook our dinners. 
We fold our laundry. 
We give Arie his baths
      and afterwards hold him close and breathe in his honey scented hair.
We pray before bed. 
We hug our friends. 
We hold our family. 
We sow our seed. 

We're weeping, but we're sowing. And our eyes our fixed on the promise that someday we'll reap those songs of joy. 

 Thank you all who left comments on my last posts and my facebook page. Your compassionate words are such sweet salves to our souls. 


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