Joy or Sorrow.

stored in: Life and tagged: ,

Remember that little tiger striped onesie from the last post? It has a story to tell. I must admit I did not rush out, bursting with joy, and purchase it for just this occasion. No. Rather, it was purchased over three years ago in a thrift shop, on a whim, and at the urging of my dear friend, as we shopped and talked of what the next few years across the ocean might hold.

I tucked that little itty bitty piece of clothing away, and carried it to my new home, a small glimmer of hope for “someday.” Soon, maybe? Time passed. We settled into our house and routine, and almost before we realized, a year had passed. A little nagging ache began to form in my mind. Now and then I stumbled across that little tiger print outfit, and managed a small private smile.

Eventually, I could no longer smile at it. Tears came instead. I wondered why I even kept it around. Several times I nearly gave it away to one friend, or another who brought home a newborn babe. Still it remained, tucked away in the corner of the room, like a bit of tangible hope for the one who wasn’t really sure she had any.

I say this not for pity, but for the sake of being real. And in the hope that it may help someone in some small way. I’ve lived in that place where each day becomes a battle for joy. Where you want to scream instead of smile; stay in bed, rather than greet the sun {let alone the chorus of little voices outside my front door}. I’ve vowed to be “ok”, only to break down again. I’ve tried to bargain with God, promising Him all the glory. I’ve surrendered. Again and again. Sung songs like, “You are God, mighty are your miracles…” and believed them with all my heart. I even tried being strong for a while, until I realized that I really wasn’t. There were days where I felt so happy for all my pregnant friends and yet so sure that if I saw just one more announcement I might go insane.

If you’ve been there…if you ARE there…you understand. And now I do to. ┬áMaybe that is what all this was for. To bring me to a place of not only accepting my weakness and lack of control, but also rendering me qualified on some level to offer a hand, an arm, a tear of comfort. And while it may seem I’ve moved on, that I’m at least on my way to getting what I desired, I still will never be the same. It’s still a subject that causes me to tear up very quickly.


I know that in life’s dark valleys, words rarely “fix” the problem, but I also know that they can be powerful, encouraging, strengthening. I’m grateful for those who invested in my life. And I’m thankful for a God I can trust to hold me, no matter what. Who knows what lies ahead of me? While none of us look forward to hard times, they truly are the growing places of our lives. They can bring us to a place where we find ourselves saying, “I don’t know what you’re doing, but I know who You are.” {Can anyone name that song?}

The brokenness of life in this world is so evident. It’s not hard to see, especially, it seems, as we grow older. ┬áThere are so many difficult situations, so many people walking through pain. Each of us has our own, in one way or another. And whether our struggle is obviously “easier” or “harder” than someone else’s is not the point. We feel our own most acutely because ours is the one we must bear.

And then, oh wondrous mystery, up springs joy, hope, laughter, juxtaposed against our tears. It’s crazy, wild, confusing. It is the great paradox of life – joy and sadness, existing side by side. Someday, I’ll know a place where there are no tears, but in the meantime, perhaps it’s the tears that make the joy that much sweeter? The tears, and this:

“It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is they faithfulness.” {Lamentations 3:22-23}

Just to be clear {since this post has been a little sad} – I am ecstatic about this new life God is expertly forming inside of me, and I look forward to filling that tiger print with a wriggly, squishy tiny miracle. I’ll be honest, though. It’s a different thing, this 2nd pregnancy. I find I’m not as carefree as the first time around. I think about the “could be’s” and “what if’s” and realize more than ever that my joy and peace must be found in Him; not in my circumstances. In joy or sorrow, I want to live with open hands.


P.S. Thanks to all who have been rejoicing with us in our excitement!

Written by: Juanita

4 Responses to “Joy or Sorrow.”

  1. Sara says:

    So thankful for all those chats on a not-so-private porch at the Apam junction! Here’s to friends like you who use the joy AND the sorrow to grow and are willing to toss the mask in the trash. Love you.

  2. Sara says:

    And for the record, I remember tiger stripes. We may be older and wiser after the last few years, but isn’t it cool that the joy is so much deeper? Maybe our ‘joy’ in thrifting will be deeper too. ;)

  3. Sheila says:

    How true that in the valley is when we experience the most growth in our spiritual journey. I’m reminded of a comment made from Dr.Roosevelt:”We have got to learn our walk with God is a journey NOT a pick up & walk experience”

  4. Sheila says:

    Sorry rather that comment was by Malcolm Smith. It was Dr. Roosevelt that said we should “Thank God that he has trusted us to go through this suffering and hardship.He has chosen you knowing you’re able to come through victorious”