Day 1

A Time to Mourn and a Time to Dance

from the Mourning and Dancing reading plan


Matthew 5:4, Ecclesiastes 3:1-15, John 16:33, John 16:20, Psalm 30, 1 Peter 1:6-9

BY Raechel Myers

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.

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Text:
Mourning—Matthew 5:4, Ecclesiastes 3:1-15, John 16:33
Dancing—John 16:20, Psalm 30:1-12, 1 Peter 1:6-9

On the day our daughter died, I planted flowers.

It was April in Tennessee, and the reality that my child was hanging in a precarious balance between life and death, in part because my womb was acting as her life support, was never far from my mind.

That Monday morning, I kissed my husband and weekend guests out the door, helped my toddler son get dressed, and fed him yogurt and Cheerios for breakfast.

Even while death was happening, so was life.

That Monday morning we blew bubbles. We played on the swing set. I read a book on the back porch and we snacked on strawberries.

When my toddler was fast asleep in his crib, I slipped my hands into a pair of old gardening gloves, knelt in the dirt, and got to work with my spade. Bent over my pregnant belly, hands in the soil, the evidence of life kicked and turned within me.

The gravity of the moment was lost on me at the time, but I see it now.

Planting.
Acting on hope. Believing promises.
Burying seeds in the darkness, knowing a thing can only produce something beautiful if it dies first (John 12:24).

Ecclesiastes 3 tells us there is a time for every matter under heaven.

A time to be born, and a time to die.
A time to plant, and a time to uproot.
A time to weep, and a time to laugh.
A time to mourn, and a time to dance.

For our precious daughter, that Monday afternoon in April was a time to die.

For us, it was a time to mourn. But it was also a time to actively hope in promises that life comes from death. It was a time to dance because our child was in the presence of her Savior.

That day, not knowing what the night would hold, the Lord led me through the motions of actively hoping and believing that death brings life. An object lesson of the resurrection in my soil-covered hands, I could not have known these would be some of the last turns and kicks I’d ever feel. And so, I planted.

Life and death are not respecters of each other. Mourning and dancing—they don’t always take turns. Not in my story, not in yours, not in our world. While people celebrate weddings and first steps and the sweetness of life, the broken world continues to break our hearts, sometimes at the very same time. The tension is there—wondering when to celebrate and when to cry. Often the best thing we can do is acknowledge that tension and do both, seeking the Lord as we navigate the complexities of this world.

We must never stop mourning brokenness. It is right to mourn.
And we must never cease to celebrate life and beauty. It is right to dance.

Because of Christ, life comes from death.
Because of Christ, we will dance again.

“I assure you: You will weep and wail, but the world will rejoice.
You will become sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn to joy.”
-John 16:20

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724 thoughts on "A Time to Mourn and a Time to Dance"

  1. Lorelei Kerns says:

    Honestly, it’s Easter time and this study perfectly starts with the matters of the death and resurrection of Christ, and sin and redemption. I’m really enjoying this study, and it’s opened my eyes to the mourning and dancing process. And She Reads Truth has always shown me things that provide huge realizations and they always stamp something beautiful on my heart:)

  2. Katie Tetzloff says:

    I feel that the day to day suffering I experience due to stress of an unhealthy work environment, medical issues, and being away from my family and friends makes the mourning much more natural than the dancing. I am praying that by spending time in this study with Gods word that the places and reasons to dance will become greater than those to mourn.

    1. Ambar Lebron says:

      I hope you are able to find that joy as well and dance in the midst of mourning. I hope God can really reveal that JOY and you can experience it tangibly in your life! As I’m praying for that revelation in the things I’m mourning ❤️

  3. Alaina Tarver says:

    A week ago today, I found my husband cheating on me. I’m struggling between the mourning and the dancing, because I feel like I’m expected to just mourn when I fact, I feel relief and joy interspersed with sadness and anger. I find hope in two outcomes- the Lord has seen my heart and his, and is using this awful moment to create new beginnings and freedom for us in separate lives; or He is using this moment to tear down our toxic marriage and allowing us to rebuild it in what His plan for our marriage always was. I’m hopeful in the mourning and free in the dancing, and allowing myself to feel both in their entirety.

  4. Michelle Alcalá says:

    How do you find joy in Christ?

  5. Alana Fadigan says:

    Miscarried after 7 weeks. I waited 10 years for my husband to be ready for children. Just got through what would have been my due date on 2/8/19. So tired and trying to lean on Jesus now after trying to fill the void with stupid stuff.

  6. Jes Hernandez says:

    The love of my life passed from a fentanyl overdose. May 18, 2018 was his time to die. I remember when I found out I was across the country in the middle of a crowded convention centre full of teenage volleyball players and a beautiful sunny day turned into one of the worst days of my life. February 7 was supposed to be his birthday but he’ll never be another year older. I dreamt about him and I haven’t been able to shake the feeling of misery all day. For some reason, I refused to turn to scripture. I almost wanted to feel miserable, because it felt like I would be disrespecting him if I rejoiced. Finally, after not being able to sleep I came looking for something to help my start healing and that’s exactly what this did. I’m so happy that I’ve found a way to begin to process the death of the love of my life. Maybe by the end of this I’ll have found a point in being alive when he isn’t. Maybe I’ll stop feeling guilty for getting sober when he couldn’t. Maybe because of Christ, I’ll dance again.

  7. Chelsea Allshouse says:

    I put my baby to bed on 12/31/18 around 10:30. We found her unresponsive and not breathing at 12:45. My baby went to be with Jesus and I’m trying to immerse myself in scripture so that I remain stable and joyful in such a difficult time.

    1. Katie Assmus says:

      Oh Chelsea, I’m so very sorry. Praying you find comfort in Gods promises during this horrible time.

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