He Turns Our Mourning into Dancing

“But everything that was gain to me, I have considered to be a loss because of Christ, More than that, I also consider everything to be a loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Because of him I have suffered the loss of all things and consider them filth, so that I may gain Christ.”
Philippians 3:7-8

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness.
Psalm 30: 11

This is a season like no other any of us have experienced. We are all living into it with varying thoughts, feelings and circumstances. I entered this time of COVID-19 in the midst of a season of loss—great loss. And I must admit, I was having a sort of “Pity Party”! “I have already lost so much, God, and now this isolation and fear? REALLY!?!”

My precious sister in law, Marla, lost her battle with cancer on December 24. I received the text while I was at our Christmas Eve Service. She really was one of my dearest friends—we shared much in common. Her battle has been fought with faith, courage, and prayer!

On January 27, we lost our father. How do you ever say goodbye to a Daddy, even though it really was time for him. His body had worn out! I miss him so very much. The smallest of things can cause me to remember him—usually with both a smile and tears!

The Caring People ministry decided that my position as Missouri Program Director no longer served their model for growth and sustainability. So, on February 28, I said goodbye to a job—no a calling—that I had answered on September 5, 2011. I loved serving Single Moms and their children, raising up volunteers and opening churches to the joy of relational ministry. I loved making an impact in their world through our ministry! Sadness and a bit of anger shadowed the months leading up to this loss and linger still.

Throughout those weeks and months, my husband, Scott, had accepted a job with the Federal Highway Administration in Columbus, Ohio…a job we had prayed for! After sifting through all the “red tape” he was able to actually start the job on March 30. The joy and anticipation is mixed in with the grief of leaving behind our family, church, and community! I have lived in Columbia since 1963—minus some years for college and early marriage!

Loss. Grief. Anger. Sadness. All emotions that I was experiencing day in and day out! Then came COVID-19, and I find myself unable to spend my last several months in Columbia with the people I love! That is when the Pity Party began!

One day, doing “The Quest” Bible Study by Beth Moore, God opened up the doors of understanding to me and I began to look at this time in a whole new way! Loss is part of the pathway that Christ lived out for us to see! Brokenness leads us to the very heart of our God in a way nothing else can! The disciples lost everything because of their devotion and love for Jesus. Paul, as seen in our scripture, considered all earthly things—careers, education, titles, wealth—“filth, so that I may gain Christ”. (Phil. 3:7)
Christ himself lost all –even intimacy with his Father–to suffer and die on the cross for us. So that we may gain everything—the Holy Spirit—God himself—living within us! I saw in this “revelation” an opportunity to love, commune with, and experience God in a deep and healing way. I repented of my self-serving thoughts and attitudes!!

Every day I am given glimpses of light and love and grace and joy, even in this season of loss. I am reading a devotion book now that Marla gave me one Christmas. While sorting and packing, I found a card from Daddy, one that expressed how he loved and thought of me—that he had picked out himself! My relationships with my Single Moms and the women I trained will go on living—and I know God will use me in new and exciting ways to continue in this type of ministry.* And Scott and I have a chance to experience a whole new city together, leaving an imprint of Christ’s grace and love behind! God is using this time of isolation to draw me to Him in a way I have not experienced for a while.

God is reminding me of what the disciples learned 2000 years ago—that there is Someone worth everything! Jesus is truly all I need and when I believe and live into that, everything else is Bonus!!!

God, may I be willing today to lose everything for the glorious gain of your Son, Jesus.

*What God planted as seed during those days and months of loss and grief are now a budding ministry called IMPACTful Faith Coaching and Consulting!! Praise Him for His faithfulness!

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