Sorrow and Joy Can Dance Together

Many people ask me how it feels to have Taylor’s wife, Michelle, and friends moving on in life, marrying and having children. The answer to that is very complicated to understand and explain but I’ll try with this oxymoronic truth: In Jesus, sorrow and joy can dance together.

Romans 12:15 says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” Somewhere back as a little girl at church, I learned this and believe God knew one day I would need this verse impressed deeply in my heart. As I went through life, I tended to deeply feel the sorrow of others and like most, found it easy to enter into joy with others.

When Michelle, started dating one of Taylor’s best friends, Paul, this verse was again immediately impressed upon my heart. When they were engaged, we came together and all agreed to honor Michelle’s first marriage to Taylor and second marriage to Paul. In all of Taylor’s friends’ celebrations in the last five years, I have allowed myself to cry for the loss that Taylor isn’t here to celebrate with us and didn’t get to experience life events his friends can. In each instance those tears of loss were always mixed with tears of joy as I saw new life and love blooming, perfect gifts from God. More than that, I was honored and blessed to be invited into their joy and celebrations.

Recently, God took me to a new level of understanding in this truth. Paul and Michelle were blessed with a baby girl, Emma. This little angel has stolen my heart and the hearts her parents, grandma’s, and many others. She is a charmer and a flirt one minute and is not afraid to tell you what she wants the next; cute and spunky define her well. I’m also unbiased and convinced she is highly intelligent and God has great plans for her life. Watching her grow and learn is amazing. (I always say if every home had a baby in it, we wouldn’t need any other form of entertainment).

Emma Carla 20171009_094912

Last month, Paul and Michelle invited our family to join their family at Emma’s baby dedication. At this special ceremony, they did something very simple but so meaningful with a moment of silent prayer as the pastor asked us all to lift up all the couples and newborns to the Lord, asking Him to show his deep love to these children that they would, one day, receive His incredible love and gift of eternal life. As we each prayed this privately in our own words, the silence took my breath away as I felt the loving power of those prayers bringing hope and joy to our spirits.

After prayer and the parents returned to their seats, the worship team led us in a beautiful song I hadn’t heard, Reckless Love by Cory Asbury. The first line caught my heart, “Before I spoke a word, you were singing over me.” Maybe this was not the intent of the song writer, but in that moment, those two phrases showed me God preparing Emma’s life long ago. Before time began, He planned for beautiful Emma specifically to be born to Paul and Michelle with their DNA and her darling personality.  He also knew our son would be a part of their story and we would be a unique family abundantly blessed by her little life.

As I began listening to more of the song, the Lord pushed my imagination to see a bit of Heaven. While I’m not sure what our loved ones see from the other side, (Hebrews 12), I could almost see Taylor dancing around the throne of God in worship, reveling in the immense reckless love of his Creator and Savior. I could see our son smiling and looking down on us with his clear-eyed vision of truth and eternity – a bit cloudy to us on earth. He now fully understands God’s sovereign plan for all of us – Paul, Michelle, their families, Gary, me, our other kids and now, Emma. Without complicated earthly emotions, our Heaven-dwelling son gets it: God planned Emma’s life before time began and is rejoicing along with us in God’s sovereign plan. Taylor knows this new sweet life is an amazing gift that will be a joy to watch as it blooms in God’s love and blesses us along the way.

This summer, I’m looking forward to another joyous occasion as we are honored to be hosting with Gary officiating the wedding of Taylor’s closest friend, Jamison, who is marrying one of our daughter’s closest friends, Emily, in our backyard, where they all grew up with our children. I’m praying God might give Taylor a glimpse of that happy day, which he prayed for six years ago. I will shed some tears missing his presence at this new celebration but will shed even more happy tears for the new journey and new life of another couple in our story.

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8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Vikki Stenberg
    Mar 18, 2018 @ 18:30:39

    That is beautiful Carla. We miss what could have been, but it is wonderful you are so open and loving that Michelle and Paul are safe to share their happiness with you and still being a part of Taylor’s family they grew up with! Good Job faithful daughter of the King!
    Andy’s Mom

    Reply

  2. Heidi Hinrichs
    Mar 19, 2018 @ 12:27:21

    When my grand son was born exactly a year to the day we lost our daughter Kara, I knew that he was a gift sent to us by her to help our family heal! Every year that Elliot’s birthday come around we all take some private time to think about her! So true Joy and Sorrow!

    Reply

  3. Ursula Schletter
    Mar 19, 2018 @ 21:40:25

    That was a beautiful Story Carla, I can just see the mixture of Joy and sadness woven throughout, A Bible verse comes to mind we now see in a glass darkly but then face to face, Now I know in part but then I shall know just as I also am known.
    1 Cor 13:12

    Reply

  4. Donna
    Mar 21, 2018 @ 08:38:54

    Thank you for sharing your heart, Carla – I was touched on so many levels. I’m reminded what last year’s Conference speaker, who suffered such disappointment and loss, repeatedly told us”God has a plan, and it is good.” If you and she can believe that, how can I not? “The dance of sorrow and joy” – life this side of heaven perfectly described!

    Reply

    • Carla Wood
      Mar 22, 2018 @ 18:36:50

      I’m so sorry I missed her last year. Amen! His plan IS good even when we don’t see it at the the time. Thank you. I’m able to go to the conference this year and so excited for it! See you there, I hope!

      Reply

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