Dismal disappointments. Problems we can’t fix. Hours of puffy-eyed tears of a parent who can’t take away her child’s pain. Some days are filled with such things. I’ve had a week full of those days. I’m exhausted. I’m prayed out. Prayers that were detailed and descriptive and full of scripture on Monday degenerated to weak silent moans on Friday. But through it all, there was beauty in the sorrow.
Today after pulling into the drive after long hours in the car, after medical tests and doctors visits, and after more questions with only glimmers of peace in the answers, I walked down to the garden.
I stood in amazement at its beauty, its greenness, its prosperousness, when just a dozen weeks ago it was hard, brown, lifeless, rocky dirt.
But it wasn’t hopeless back in April. It was cold, lifeless, and barren, but it became a ground with promise. Promise sewn in rows and watered with love. Beauty in the sorrow.
The baby chicks joined me near the garden fence, longing for their daily Japanese beetle treat that they’ve learned I will pick off of bean vines for them. I felt so blessed to have them after our devastating homesteading lesson last month. Seven chicks that we raised, after hatching them in our incubator, all died in one brief span of minutes. Chicks we held, fed, and cared for. For two months. Gone. In minutes.
But our newest little ones are prospering. Their mother cared for them under her wings. Taught them life skills. And today they’re bringing me joy. Next spring they’ll offer us nourishing eggs as well. Beauty in the sorrow.
This week, in the midst of seemingly pointless appointments that offered no solution to my daughter’s pain and no end to my puffy-eyed tears, there was Susan. Susan wasn’t a medical professional, but an advocate behind the office desk. Susan noticed my puffy eyes. She realized that my daughter was in pain. She personally took care of paperwork, double-booked appointments, ordered lab work, oversaw referrals, and offered my daughter and I hope. Beauty in the sorrow.
The small, seemingly insignificant joys of my prosperous garden, my young chicks, and a caring stranger buoyed me in the sorrow of this week.
Like my April garden, my hard, unpromising days of this week were sewn with promise. Promise of growth to come.
Through the remembrance of sweet chicks tucked under a momma’s wing…
God reminded me that the psalmist asked God to “Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings.” There, under His wings when things get scary, He teaches me life skills. He teaches me to rely on Him; no skill is more important.
Through Susan, God planted an advocate in a difficult situation, and her caring actions watered God’s promises by putting a face to hope.
Then God comforted me with His word. He offered me these words of hope to cling to this week:
First, the beautiful thought of his voice–how soothing and melodious it must be–singing over me.
The Lord your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17
Then the reminder that His love is perfect. (He started gently teaching me this lesson back in April, back when the garden ground was still cold and hard and when I got the call from my mom telling me she has cancer.) His love is so perfect it can cast my fear far from me, if I will only allow myself to truly focus on His love instead of my circumstances.
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. I John 4:18
He assured me He will reveal His strength through me.
For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. 2 Chronicles 16:9
And He reminded me that none of my daughter’s pain, and not one of my tears, will be wasted. Like my chicks who are learning dependance under their momma’s wing so they can offer us nourishment in the future, I too will have something to offer others.
[He is] the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5
Thank you Lord for showing me beauty in the sorrow this week.
Medical tests aren’t over, and doctor appointments will fill yet another week. College is beckoning her, my second to venture out of the nest and into the excitement of higher academia. But pain is deterring her. So we will make a trip into Boston Children’s Hospital and hope for another Susan behind another desk. We will cling to his promises.
And we will ask Him to show us beauty in the sorrow.
Do you have a specific verse that comforts you? Please share.