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 30:1-12, 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.

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, then 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.

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.

“Truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn, but the world will rejoice.
You will become sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn to joy” (John 16:20).

Post Comments (1028)

1,028 thoughts on "A Time to Mourn and a Time to Dance"

  1. Brielle Hebert says:

    Praying for you, Natalie. That our Savior would envelop you in His loving arms and wipe away every tear.

  2. Natalie says:

    My son died shortly after birth. The birth was traumatic with multiple complications. Everything that I feared going wrong, did. It’s been just a little over seven months, and I’m having a hard time finding God in this. I don’t have living children, but I desperately want to have them. My second loss.

    Somedays I feel like I’m going through the motions. I know what to do, and I do it. I go to work. I cook dinner. I chat with my coworkers. I do all the things, and then come home and sob. It’s hard for me to envision being happy again. Hoping I can catch glimpses of joy in this study.

  3. Julia Lopez says:

    I had to put my dog down last week and she was with me for 10 years. And 4 days later my grandpa died. It has felt like every one of my favorite people were leaving me and my heart was breaking. So I hoping this study will help with the feeling of guilt and feeling alone.

  4. Ada McCloud says:

    My dad died last week. I am also struggling with

  5. lauren toney says:

    Needing this Devo a lot right now. My husband and I are newly married (about three months) and I am preparing to say goodbye to him for 10 months for Basic Military training as well as Tech School. It will be the longest we have ever been a part and affectively means we will spend our first months of marriage thousands of miles apart. I am heart broken. While I do not mourn death, I am preparing to be separated from my other half at a time we need each other most. Reading in 1 Peter this morning “in this you rejoice, so that the tested genuineness of your faith – more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire – may be found to result in praise and glory” is what I have been needing to hear from the Lord. This trial, though a test of our faith in God and love for one another, will only develop in us strength and love much richer than before. So thankful for this devotional. ❤️

  6. Kayla Purcell says:

    Beautiful I love the idea of a garden and planting and just the life and death.

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