“And provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.”
We aren’t always given the privilege of seeing our ashes exchanged for a crown of beauty in the nitty gritty details of life. Often times we go through mourning or seasons of despair and we must just walk by faith and trust that despite our current circumstances, the Lord is working all things for our good and His great glory.
Those seasons of despair, when we are not given the privilege of seeing the restoration, make me that much more grateful for the times the Lord graciously allows me to experience the exchange of mourning for dancing. This week was one of those times.
Early last week our family journeyed a few states over for a conference.
The afore mentioned sentence is as lackluster as it gets to the everyday blog reader, but for me it’s my crown of beauty to replace the ashes.
Because I have never mentioned it here on the blog, most people don’t know that four years ago, in the last couple of weeks leading up to our family moving overseas, I had a miscarriage. I was eleven weeks pregnant at the time and ecstatic about adding to our family. Unfortunately, despite the desperate prayers of a mama’s heart, rising HCG levels and multiple grueling attempts to find a heartbeat the baby did not live and I had to have a D&C.
I remember lying in the bed, clutching my stomach and praying that the cramps would stop. In that moment the only thing that felt worse than the intense cramping and the constant bleeding was the heartache of knowing I would not be holding that baby in my arms.
Fast forward a few years to this past week and we find our family going back to the same conference, in the same city, staying in the same hotel. Amidst the flurry of activity that is involved with taking our little crew out of town, I did not think about the painful memories or scars from the past.
As the first day of the conference came to a close I bathed the boys and tucked them into bed before settling into my own bed to read. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a little blonde headed cutie in his Spider Man pajamas waddle into the room. Just like always, I told him to come give me a hug and go back to his bed but as he crawled in my bed for a hug, I was reminded that four years earlier I was in this same place grieving the loss of what would have been our fifth child.
Don’t miss the beauty of this moment. I was sitting in the exact same place where I grieved my miscarriage and holding my fifth born son.
In that moment, my heart was overwhelmed with gratitude and my eyes were brimming with happy tears.
The next day as I watched Brax play on the playground I was reminded that just a few years earlier I sat numbly on the same bench, recovering from the D&C and watching my boys play as I brushed the warm tears away in the hopes that no one would see me crying. But today the ashes have been traded for a crown of beauty and I get to experience the sheer joy of watching this guy wreak havoc on the playground.
I in no way want to pretend that every miscarriage is replaced with a healthy baby or that failed relationships always end with a happy marriage. The bad diagnosis isn’t always healed. We lose loved ones, children go astray, other couples are chosen for the adoption and our hearts break into a million tiny fragments. In our fallen world we don’t always get to experience the garment of despair exchanged for one of praise…at least not in this life. That’s the reality of living in our sin soaked world. But for today He alone has clothed me with joy and I’m choosing not to be silent.
You have turned my mourning into dancing for me;
You have taken off my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
That my soul may sing praise to You and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.” -Psalm 30:11-12