As I’ve mentioned recently, I just completed a #shereadstruth Bible study called Mourning and Dancing. It has given me a lot to think about, and as the study comes to an end, I’m finding the truths of it working their way into my life.

That’s the kicker when we study the Word, right? Does it move from the pages into our hearts? Does it move from our cognitive thoughts into our real, everyday life?

Two experiences I want to share, in which Mourning and Dancing has moved into my real life.

Grief and Rejoicing

A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I walked through a situation that resulted in broken relationships with some people we care about. I won’t go into details, but I will say that the broken trust, misunderstandings, and consequences were heartbreaking for us. I felt the heavy weight of grief on my shoulders, mourning that things had to turn out the way they did.

Yet at the same time, here at the summer camp we work at, we were in the midst of a crazy week of high school camp, a fruitful week of ministry where hearts were being changed for Jesus. I rejoiced in the opportunities I was given to speak truth and encouragement into young hearts.

Joy, for sure, mingled with grief that week. It was like being tugged in different directions — do I rejoice? Do I sit down and cry? One was just as real as the other. Mourning and dancing. 

Lord, let me feel!

After my last blog post, Freedom to Feel, I began to realize that I haven’t had – or lived in – that freedom for quite a while. My first clue was that I can’t even remember the last time I cried. I used to be a crier. Any emotional moment, some other person crying, a bad day, the TV commercial with the baby ducks getting rescued out of the oil spill — cue the tears. That hasn’t happened in a long time.

To be honest, I really think it’s busyness that has kept me from fully feeling. Camp ministry life is so busy, so stressful, so nonstop, that in the summer months, there isn’t much time to be still with God and experience the fullness of my own feelings, whether happy or sad. As as result, emotions get buried, and I become stiff, practical, and tear-less in the hustle and bustle.

And I hate to admit it, but I think I’ve even carried that busyness over into our “off-season” life, allowing my work, my marriage, cleaning the house, running errands, traveling, and raising support to keep me so occupied, so much that I neglect my own heart.

So yesterday — glorious day — the last day of summer camp was done, my big tasks for the week were mostly complete, and so I told my coworkers, “I’m taking a mental health day” (our code word around here for a day off). I wore my sweatpants, sat on my couch, and read the Word, and God spoke. And I scribbled in my journal, and I got on my knees and prayed. Things I haven’t taken the time to do much lately. And I asked God again, “Let me feel. Let me experience the fullness of both joy and sorrow. I want to cry and I want to dance.” 

From now on, I will pursue that. I will pursue my God, and I will seek to experience, in full measure, every step of this journey He takes me on and all the emotions that go along with it. Whether He has me on a mountain or in a valley, I want to be able to both mourn and dance with all my heart, and take from it whatever He wants to teach me.

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