I was so happy, I related to the popular phrase, Over the Moon. I felt weighty euphoria, then happy tears, accompanied by happy sobs. I paced around and around, back and forth, shook my head, and smiled one of those smiles that begins within the well of the soul. I felt relief— deep relief. And joy. Real, surprising joy.
All because my baby sister told me she is expecting.
I remember clearly when I was childless, navigating what seemed to be seas of pregnant women, beating myself up with, “rejoice with those who rejoice.” I was (and still am) so aware of the miracle of a life conceived, then born out into the world— so much that it physically, emotionally hurt. There were times I wanted to rejoice but the hurt in me was so deep. I could never only rejoice without weeping for me.
One of the fears I have had for many years is that my sisters would suffer the same difficulties I have had when it comes to childbearing. Genetic predisposition is not in their favor. My lot and portion in life made me the biggest cheerleader for her in the mommy department— which may seem kind of strange. When a woman has experienced the sadness of infertility and loss, she would rather the women she loves be spared the same suffering.
This announcement embodied so many good things. The Centerpiece of all the good things, my Creator God, has given us another life to love; another made in His image. But it also gave me a glimpse again of what He says about His pursuit of me~ about His love for me.
I wish I could say I have been thankful for the bitter cup that makes the honey sweet. I wish I could say that I pursue it and even ask for it. I might have said something to that effect, pre-suffering, when inexperience made me green and theory was a fantasy, not reality. I used to read the Bible differently, preemptively using scripture to plot the future. Post-suffering, when real life has taken over, the weight of the words sink deeper than is comfortable and is far less manageable. When confronted with frailty and pain, I have tried to pray the hurt away and asked for mercy when wounds are fresh. Yet all the while, God has moved me along and has remained with me. Even when I wasn’t sure. Even when I felt weak. In His moving me, though the path has included pain, I know I wouldn’t have rejoiced in this way, had I not first wept.
I am a fickle person. I don’t know what I don’t know. And I run from pain. I would much rather things be easy than hard. It is a good thing my life isn’t up to me. I try to enter into other’s stories and experience, but the real ~death to life~ change that affects a part of who I am is brought about within the crucible of suffering. It is suffering that imparts substance to joy. More specifically, coming to terms with who I really am, who Jesus is, and what that means for me.
The heart of the Gospel communicates that I don’t need a renovation, I need resurrection. And that is precisely what Jesus provides. When a bit of resurrection pierces this present suffering, joy breaks through. Because my life is hidden with Christ in God, the process is safe. And it is so encouraging when God gives me Gospel specificity in personal, meaningful situations. God is patient with me. Because Jesus always wept and rejoiced appropriately, I have as well all along, thanks be to God in Christ.
One of the most beautiful experiences of this saint/sinner, drawn in by God as a part of His story, is that the Bible begins to read me. David recalls the presence of the Lord in Psalm 30 at the dedication of the temple. He also contrasts his own insufficiency with what God has done and what is to come. I have always resonated with verses 5 and 11. While my circumstances are different, weeping is for a night, but joy comes in the morning; You have turned my mourning into dancing, You have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness. God has given me tastes of this truth, in so many ~But God~ ways. While my mornings and night are still cyclical, they are temporary. One day the Son will be the Sun. And when light rules eternity, joy and dancing will be commonplace. I believe, Lord help my unbelief and continue to give me future hope.
I am an aunt again to another precious nephew. And I get to watch my baby sister, whose newborn frame forever changed my thirteen-year-old soul, mother her little boy. Hallelujah.