In which grief becomes joy

by Craig on September 29, 2011

gitzngirl-Sara Frankle-choose joy-choosejoy-death-dying-funeral

this canvas and all the rest below were made by Sara - she scattered joy like Tinkerbell sprinkles pixie dust

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“It’s not about me.” said Sara. “It’s not about me.”

This is part 2 of my recounting of Sara’s funeral service. Part one is here. Would you consider beginning there and then coming back here?

The next reading was from Acts 2…
Peter’s first Pentecost sermon…
this part is like a Psalm re-mix of King David of Israel…
part Psalm 16, part Psalm 13…

‘I saw the Lord ever before me,
with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.
Therefore my heart has been glad and my tongue has exulted;
my flesh, too, will dwell in hope,
because you will not abandon my soul to the netherworld,
nor will you suffer your holy one to see corruption.
You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence.’

We are never abandoned. Even, and maybe most especially in death, we are never abandoned.

gitzngirl-Sara Frankle-choose joy-choosejoy-death-dying-funeralsource

Then the Gospel reading was from John 16 – the words were those of Jesus, spoken to his friends, his apostles. Our Lord knew he was leaving this earth. He understood they’d be heartbroken. He did what a friend would do. He gave them words to remember, to strengthen their wounded hearts after he was gone.

...‘A little while and you will not see me, and again a little while and you will see me’? Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy. When a woman is in labor, she is in anguish because her hour has arrived; but when she has given birth to a child, she no longer remembers the pain because of her joy that a child has been born into the world. So you also are now in anguish. But I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you. (vv19-22)

I heart when Jesus used the “Amen, Amen” thing. It was him saying, “You’re going to hear this and forget it almost as soon as the words come out of my mouth. So listen up! This is important!”

If you’ve been kind enough to patiently read me, as for weeks now every post, on both blogs, has been about Sara, and my breaking heart, you might understand how these words felt as if they were a gift from Sara.

gitzngirl-Sara Frankle-choose joy-choosejoy-death-dying-funeral

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One of the miracles of Scripture…
is that the words are not dead letters on a page…
they have life…
and God will use the same verse in uncountable ways…
to a myriad of people…
in the fullness of time.

“You will weep…
but your grief will become joy…
you are now in anguish…
but I will see you again and your hearts will rejoice…”

…and I felt the verses…

to the very core…

so much weeping, so much…

and soon…

almost within reach…

so much joy.

There is more to the service…

and so much more to learn from it…

I’ll finish this tomorrow, one post on each blog like today…

Amen, amen…

please come back.

 

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would you consider sharing it in one of the ways below?

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Sharon @ Hiking Toward Home September 29, 2011 at 8:45 am
Craig September 29, 2011 at 8:37 pm

ツ – and you make sure you hug the necks of those people – I’ll remind them to hug yours – I’m really sad that relevant is an all girls club. I really would heart meeting you and so many others who I read. So you better hug those necks! Hope all is as well as possible – I have prayed. God bless you Sharon.

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Martha Orlando September 29, 2011 at 4:58 pm

“Never abandoned.” – Matt Redmon has written a beautiful song which we learned with our praise band called “Never Once”.
“Never once did we ever walk alone. Never once did you leave us on our own. You are faithful, God, you are faithful . . .”
Sara knew this beyond any shadow of a doubt. We can, too.
Thank you, Craig, for sharing your heart and this journey with all of us.
Love and blessings,
Martha

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Craig September 29, 2011 at 8:40 pm

Martha, I bet Sara had doubts – we all do. Faith is the choice to doubt the doubts and believe the beliefs. She was human – she had fear – she had doubt – and she had great faith. And thank you again for letting me know that my writing over these last weeks has been something of use. God bless you Martha.

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Kristin September 29, 2011 at 9:08 pm

Your writings are always something of use! I love them, oops. . .I heart them :)
Thank you from me too for sharing your journey. I’m glad you’re breathing again 😉

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Craig September 30, 2011 at 11:36 am

thank you Kristin, thank you. and I heart that you heart them ツ and the breathing? It’s bittersweet still. The thank you, and God bless you my friend.

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Martha Orlando September 29, 2011 at 9:31 pm

I, too, have had many doubts, Craig, and many fears. You are so right that having faith is choosing to let those doubts and fears dissipate, one by one, as we pray for presence, for faith, for belief, all while on the journey which has its beginning here, yet has no end.
Most of my life has been spent in the struggle to trust and believe in Him; I don’t freely share that with others, and feel so blessed, forgiven, and renewed as I write daily devotions in honor of the One who loved us first. I am learning, I am growing, I am reaching for Him.
I need to always remember that He is reaching for me first, and that is why I can lift my hands in praise of Him, to offer Him the hug back He has given.

Blessings, my friend.

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Craig September 30, 2011 at 11:50 am

Martha, what you wrote in your comment about doubts and life – it was eloquent – and I got it – thank you. And isn’t that strange – it’s the doubts that we need to share – so they can be exposed – and undone – and yet it’s those doubts that were afraid to speak up about. I really wish that were different. Thank you Martha, and blessings to you too.

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Layla Payton September 29, 2011 at 10:12 pm

Beautiful post, Craig. I am still here. Sometimes I only have time to read, but I am still here. :)

While listening to music yesterday & today, I thought of you (and Sara). The lyrics are beautiful, and if you don’t understand them all, I encourage you to look them up. This particular rendition is a little more upbeat than the one on the album, but I can just picture Sara dancing…God’s children will all dance one day…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9vHFsXOdTt0&feature=youtube_gdata_player

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Craig September 30, 2011 at 11:47 am

Layla, I smile as I say thank you to you – thank you. And you girls and your dancing!! I’m thinking it may be a little late for marriage now – but should I ever marry – I’ll remember to take my bride dancing as often as she wants. God bless you Layla.

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Layla Payton September 30, 2011 at 12:58 pm

King David danced. 😉

“Too late for marriage.” Pleeze! I just feel bad for the girl who hasn’t found Craig, yet.

I’m a recovering Baptist (hee-hee…that was a funny), so I never learned how to really dance. I can twirl and swirl, gypsy-style though (my dad calls the type of music I shared in the link, “Gypsy Jazz”). And I am no longer “Baptist,” but “His.” (A snippet of my journey from traditions to truth. Not picking on any Baptist friends.)

Yes, I am recovering from many things. How great is our magnificent God, who so graciously peels back man’s fears with Truth? When fear scratches at our hearts, Jesus applies the salve of assurance.

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Craig September 30, 2011 at 7:31 pm

oh, the whole probably too late for marriage thing – I would heart a talk with not only you – but everybody here about that – I have my thoughts – but you guys have all the pertinent wisdom. Maybe I’ll drop you an e-mail – I get to reveal-ish here anyway – an e-mail might be good for self-discipline ツ oh, and one of the ones who could’ve been THE ONE – I asked her to dance in high school – she told me she couldn’t because of her religion – I thought she was just blowing me off – I was heartbroken – turns out she wasn’t – she was just Baptist. At the time I didn’t know what a Baptist was. God bless you Layla. God bless you.

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Layla Payton September 30, 2011 at 8:29 pm

Email me anytime.

And it’s true, most Baptists are against dancing (I was in all different branches of that denomination most of my life).

Now I raise my hands in praise, and sway to the music, because I know the Bible says it’s okay. 😉 I don’t dance in public though…I would feel responsible for the public’s well-being. Hahaha!!!

Remember, Craig, we don’t go to church, we ARE the Church. :) Woohoo!

Live it out, dance it out, sing it out, hug it out, give it out….SHARE the love of Jesus!

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Craig October 1, 2011 at 6:38 am

I know the Bible says it’s okay Layla. In church I’m more of the cautious, lightly raised hand – that eventually reaches a higher and higher. And right now I’m not a member of a church – “church” has always been a struggle for me – I began my faith with just me and God in the Bible – and didn’t become planted in the church until just before seminary. All the while the relationship with our Father has been tight, crucial, close as breath. God bless you Layla.

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Layla Payton October 1, 2011 at 11:02 pm

Oh, not preachin’ at ya, just chatting. 😉 I tend to do that a lot.

I am not dancing down any isles. Haha!

What a BEAUTIFUL way to begin your faith. I am in NO WAY judging you for not being in a church. You are a part of The Church. Walking in the faith, and fellowshipping with other Christians is vital, but doesn’t require a building. Reaching out to those in need, the widow, the orphan, the least of these…that is CHURCH. And just loving like Jesus does… :) It doesn’t get any better than that. And your blog ministers to so many.

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Craig October 2, 2011 at 9:24 am

it was a beautiful way to begin my faith – but it led me, already someone who tended to let nobody in, it kept me from being part of the body – fellowshipping. that, plus the whole “personal relationship with Christ” thing I kept hearing. I got really, really, really good at the personal relationship with him but not with other Christians. I talked a lot about our Lord – and many came to know him through that talking – but then they’d run off and fellowship – and I’d stand alone still. So it was good – and it was not – and we are not meant to be alone is Christians. Anyway, God bless you – and thank you for saying that my blog ministers to many – that makes me smile – and smiles – well you know they’ve been rare.

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