Mountains and Valleys
BY JEN SCHMIDT
God is with us in joy and sadness.
My weekend encapsulated one of those magical moments that little girls dream about their whole lives — their wedding day. With her faithful father by her side, my niece floated down the venue stairs. Robed in white, her shimmering eyes sparkled with a kind of innocent joy. She glanced at her daddy and then stepped toward her future groom, clutching his hand with a little excited squeal thrown in for good measure. Long before he knew the name of his daughter’s future spouse, my brother had been praying about the possibility of this day. From start to finish, it was the glorious affirmation of all they had prayed for. It was pure joy.
But my weekend also included one of life’s greatest sorrows — the sudden loss of my dear friend’s child.
Laughter and lamenting. Toasts and tears. All the “firsts” amid such finality. How could such intertwined emotions coexist?
I spent the wee hours of this weekend flushing out Ecclesiastes 3 in my heart: “There is an occasion for everything, and a time for every activity under heaven: a time to give birth and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to uproot; a time to kill and a time to heal; a time to tear down and a time to build; a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance; a time to throw stones and a time to gather stones; a time to embrace and a time to avoid embracing; a time to search and a time to count as lost; a time to keep and a time to throw away; a time to tear and a time to sew; a time to be silent and a time to speak; a time to love and a time to hate; a time for war and a time for peace” (vv. 1-8).
Sweet friends, we’re not guaranteed those happy fairy tale days. We want them and God does graciously give good gifts to His children, but there aren’t guarantees. We will walk through varied seasons during our journey, but God is intricately involved in both our suffering and celebrating. He is there amid our laughter and lamenting. I know this to be true. •
Jen Schmidt loves to encourage, challenge, and cheer on women to embrace both the beauty and bedlam of their everyday lives on her lifestyle blog, beautyandbedlam.com. A popular speaker and author of Just Open the Door: How One Invitation Can Change a Generation, Jen makes her house a home in North Carolina with her husband, five children, a few too many animals, and an available sofa for anyone who needs it. Follow Jen on Instagram at jen schmidt_beautyandbedlam or Facebook @beautyandbedlam
This article originally appeared in HomeLife magazine (November 2020). For more articles like this, subscribe to HomeLife.