Yesterday Scott and I had the tremendous blessing of witnessing our daughter, Kristen, enter into the covenant of marriage. As I was lying awake this morning thinking about yesterday and all the days preceding it, 1 Peter 1:8 came to mind.
“and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory” 1 Peter 1:8 [NASB]
Lying there in silence, as the orange rays of the rising sun pierced the darkness of our room, I was overwhelmed by the graciousness of God. In the quietness of those moments He whispered to my heart, “joy inexpressible and full of glory.” This is it. I am tasting it now. This is joy inexpressible and full of glory.
As everyone slept I quietly slipped into the living room and watched the video of the wedding ceremony, I watched as three of my four daughters and Scott and I walked a stone path in our backyard leading to a swing arbor built for our four daughters ten years ago. I watched as our precious Kristen stood beneath that arbor and entered into a holy covenant with a little boy we have watched become a strong young man after God’s heart over those same ten years.
But what I didn’t see was Sarah. There was a gaping hole where our sweet Sarah should have walked and stood. Her absence, though a constant painful void, uniquely pierces our hearts in precious life moments as these.
The sharp bitterness of the sorrow and anguish that we feel and taste from Sarah’s absence affects our perception of every other moment and experience. Every moment of every day, good and bad is tinged by the sorrow of her absence. Every other sorrow and difficulty amplifying the constant reverberating groan within our souls, but every joy magnified against that groaning as well.
For many watching the ceremony yesterday it was likely just another wedding, not unlike any other. But as I watched I saw a breathtaking display of the mighty hand of our righteous God.
I was taken back to June 8, 2017 as Scott and I sat broken and huddled on a hotel bed with Katelyn, Kristen and Sophie, telling them that, though our hearts were completely shattered at Sarah’s absence, we, as their parents, would continue to be fully present with them in their lives. We promised them in those moments that we would rejoice and fully celebrate every life event with them. Though I spoke those words fully meaning them, it was impossible to fathom how we could carry this crushing sorrow and yet simultaneously fully celebrate them.
As I watched the ceremony I saw God’s answer to shield, protect and guide our family through the schemes and attacks of the adversary, and to draw each of us closer to Himself. I saw the rich fruit of His tenderly and faithfully guiding us, and our following.
As I watched I saw God’s answer to countless nights of pleading for Him to carry us through the darkness and to knit our family tightly together with cords that the enemy could not sever.
As I watched the ceremony I saw God’s answer for a godly young man who already steadfastly loves and steadily leads our daughter. A godly young man we have fervently prayed for, deeply love and are thankful to call ours.
As I watched, I saw the righteous right hand of our mighty God. The God who strengthens and sustains, the God who carries and comforts, the God who weeps with us and sings over us. The God who lavishly redeems and restores. The God who is making all things new. The God who beckons us to look toward our glorious eternal future with Him.
Against the dark backdrop of the anguish and sorrow of Sarah’s absence, the celebration of Kristen’s and Austin’s wedding was a vibrant display of the overwhelming grace, immeasurable mercy, constant faithfulness and long suffering lovingkindness of God.
In those precious moments I kept my promise to be fully present with Kristen and to celebrate and rejoice fully with her.
What I couldn’t fathom as we made that promise on June 8th, 2017, was that the ongoing deep sorrow of that day would not only not be an impediment to our joy and rejoicing, but that it would actually enhance it.
The deep sorrow of Sarah’s absence is a constant sanctifying flame, a testing fire, melting away the worthless and causing us to fix our eyes fully on our God and His eternal purposes. Though we have yet to behold Him face to face, we have seen Him. We saw Him yesterday, and today I am basking in that joy. Joy tinged with crushing sorrow. Joy rendered by sorrow so deep and precious that it is “inexpressible and full of glory.”
13 thoughts on “Joy Inexpressible”
Thank you for being you, for your love and faithfulness and sharing your heart. I know the LORD is using you and your words to encourage so many that are hurting in ways they cannot express. Just knowing our LORD is there, the Love and Joy that only He can bring. You are truly Beautiful my sweet sister in Christ ❤️
Thank you so much, Diane. Love you, too! ❤
Great part of your life story, I love how you put things in words .I always enjoy reading everything you write. Glad that the wedding when good, I’m going to watch today. You and Scott have a beautiful family.
Thanks, George. We appreciate and love you so much! ❤
looove this post. i agree with the joy mixed with heavy sorrow. i look forward to the day our son gets married💜🙏🥰
Thank you! We are so thankful for her sweet husband, he adds so much to our family! ❤
It has been almost 21 months since my oldest son died at the age of 19. Yesterday, our oldest girl got engaged. She is 20 now… she is older than her older brother was. It has definitely been a mix of emotions. Thank you for sharing this story.
Agreed, all the life events are such a mix of emotions. Praying for you now. ❤
Blessings for you and your daughter as she prepares for her wedding day. God bless her future husband as he grows closer to God and your precious girl. Thanks for sharing these tender feelings. God knows and loves you all.
It was so wonderful to have met you yesterday and hear your testimony. I can’t help but remembering things you said and how much you have already helped me. Thank you again!
I’m so thankful for the time we had together. You have remained on my heart and I am continuing to pray for you as you navigate this painful path. But I rejoice knowing you are looking to Christ, because I know He will sustain and carry you, just as He has me. I look forward to hearing about and seeing the beauty He makes from the ashes in your life. ❤
Thank you! I needed to read this today. My daughter is getting married next week and our son was killed in accident almost 4 years ago and then her lifetime best friend passed away. It has been so hard for me to wrap my head around her wedding day without the two of them there but I have promised her and myself that I would be present on her special day.
I’m so thankful you were encouraged. Praying for you right now that God will strengthen you for that day and enable you to truly be present and fully rejoice with her that day and the many special days yet to come for her. 💙