God created us as complex creatures, capable of feeling and sensing a whole garden of emotions. Made in the image of our Creator, we can both grieve the wrongs of this world, and celebrate the sweetness of this life.
This 2-week reading plan will lead us through a series of passages from Scripture that examine the seasons of mourning and dancing in the life of a believer. In the written responses here on the site, our writers will enter into this tension, articulating their personal experiences with grief and joy in hopes of freeing you to explore your own. By immersing our hearts and minds in God’s Word, and honestly presenting our laments to Him, may we remember that God is present with us, He is good, and He is faithful.
Fallen Work Scriptures—Genesis 3:17-19, Ecclesiastes 2:18-26, Romans 8:19-23
Redeemed Work Scriptures—Ecclesiastes 9:9-10a, 1 Corinthians 10:31, Colossians 3:23, Philippians 2:12-16
I was once a well-oiled working machine, churning out articles, speaking at conferences, ministering within my capacity and out of my weaknesses and strengths. While I’d never envisioned myself as an unmarried woman, I found fullness and contentment in the plot God had given me to tend.
Then I got married. And moved. And moved again. I’m no longer in my home, or church, or comfort zone. I still don’t really know anyone here, and we haven’t found a local church home in the D.C. area yet. We feel displaced.
Meanwhile, all the work that’s been done in me and through me is suddenly no longer for me. I can’t write about singleness anymore. I’ve begun to see others picking up the banner I laid down for the gift of marriage—and I’ve resented myself for losing it. My heart echoes King Solomon’s words:
“I hated all my toil in which I toil under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to the man who will come after me, and who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will be master of all for which I toiled and used my wisdom under the sun.”
There is this sadness in me that I cannot shake. The earthly identity I worked hard to build, and tried my best to bear faithfully, is no longer mine to carry. Those days of fruitful ministry feel very far behind me across the chasm of this difficult year. The Enemy loves to taunt me, to tell me I’ve wasted and been wasted, that all those words and thoughts are now lost. It’s hard to trust that my previous work has not been done in vain, though I know it was never mine to begin with. It was always His.
I dreamt of this time for years, didn’t I? I longed to be married. Why then is it so hard to reconcile the work I once did with the work I’m called to now? I agonize over how to spend the eleven-hour days stretching from the still dark hours through sunset when my husband returns. I sweep the kitchen floor, wash the towels, and put fresh flowers in the vase, growing weary and resentful of all I’ve lost, straining to remember that I’ve also gained.
Happy as my husband and I are together, happy as I am to be called his wife, this place in life is still not our true home. It isn’t supposed to be.
Today I do four loads of laundry. I sweep the kitchen floor. I write this post. I text Nate and our friends to tell them I love them, that I’m praying for them. I heed King Solomon’s words: “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might” (Ecclesiastes 9:10). But in my struggle as a new stay-at-home wife, I remember that work is still work, no matter the title, no matter how blessed. At the fall, God told Adam so: the work of his hands would be hard from then on (Genesis 3:17). And it still is, for all of us. It will be until the day in Glory when pain in all its forms is no more (Revelation 21:4).
Sometimes the days drag on, the work feels endless. I can’t sort through the mountain of to-dos quickly enough, and yet it feels like I’m searching for things to do with my hands. But this is the plot to which I am called today: this home, this house, this husband. It is a life both better and harder than I imagined, and it’s being redeemed by God with every light and heavy step along the way.
“For it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to desire and to work out His good purpose.”
Lore Ferguson Wilbert is a writer, thinker, and learner. She blogs at Sayable, tweets @lorewilbert, and posts photos @loreferguson. She has a husband named Nate, a puppy named Harper Nelle, and too many books to read in one lifetime.