Experiencing Joy-Filled Sorrow


“…weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”
(Psalms 30:5)

The past few days, I have been pondering the meaning of this verse. We are still experiencing the various cycles and stages of grief. This week, we have shed many tears for our dear son and brother, Austin. I shared with my husband that it seems like “morning” will never come! We are still experiencing the cold, dark, and foreboding “night” of sorrow. I wondered what this verse means. Is it a promise we can cling to today, or is it talking about when we get to Heaven?

Those of you who have lost someone close to you, know how difficult the special and memorable events can be. They stir up emotions and feelings that we have found are important for us to talk about and process. This past Sunday, our daughter, Alisha, was baptized in the same creek where Austin and Brianna were baptized a few years ago. Of course, as we drove to the property, our emotions felt a bit raw as we remembered that special day with Austin. His presence was now replaced with the cold reality that he was no longer (physically) with us, to share this special day. Because God knew that it was going to be an emotional day for me, He gave me a reminder of His love (which I will share in conclusion). The following evening, our family had a heart felt time of sharing and crying with each other. We are still a bit new to this journey, but we’ve come to the realization that although the stages change, the pain and loss can never be avoided. Will the pain and sorrow of missing Austin ever go away? NEVER! We will experience it until we get to Heaven.

One of our girls shared a painful struggle she has right now. It is the realization that we are no longer daily experiencing as many of the strong, painful reminders of Austin’s absence. We no longer have to think twice every time we set the table, because we forget to set it for one less person. Our daughter no longer walks habitually into Austin’s room to get his dirty clothes when she starts some laundry for me. This is a painful realization because, although we miss him just as much, we are learning to adapt to the gaping hole that is now in our family. Some of the normal functions of our family are changing and there is absolutely nothing we can do about it.

I remember when Austin was around three or four years old. Someone gave him a helium-filled balloon, and, although he tried to hold on tightly, it escaped from his little hands, drifting high into the sky. With tears streaming down his face, he watched it disappear. We offered to buy him another one, but he was heartbroken because he could never have that specific balloon again. I had to think about this incident, and how I can relate to how he was feeling. The family we once were, is evaporating no matter how tightly we are trying to hold on. We have concluded, however, that we will never forget these special memories because Austin is such a vital and defining part of who we are. He has had an impact on our lives like no one else.

Since grieving is a lifelong process, does Psalms 30:5 mean that the joy that “cometh in the morning” will never be experienced until we are finally with Jesus and our loved ones? I believe it involves much more than that; we can still experience joy today.

In the first few weeks and months after Austin’s home-going, I felt like I was trying to keep from suffocating in the deep, black pit of sorrow and despair. I was facing the darkest night that I have ever experienced! It was hard to even begin feeling God’s love during this intense grieving stage. Although I will grieve for Austin until the day I die, my heart has now begun to heal enough to again feel the love of my Savior. I am no longer as consumed by this unwanted intruder of despair that wants to rob me of all joy. I believe that our souls become enlarged when we respond in a godly way to sorrow. We can begin to experience both sorrow and joy at the same time. The opposite is true as well. Our soul will begin to shrivel and die when we become bitter and respond in a selfish way.

I would like to share the story of how God reminded me of His love this past week. For quite some time, I have been wanting to buy a photo pendant pin so I could wear a photo of Austin. I had not been able to find an inexpensive, yet decent quality pendant anywhere. Earlier in the week, I was searching for one online and concluded that I would probably need to spend more money than I was hoping. I breathed a short prayer and said, “God, You know how hard I have been looking for a photo pendant. I just can’t seem to find the right one. God, if You want me to have a pin, please provide one within my price range. I am going to quit looking and give it to You.”  I left it at that, and didn’t think any more about it for the rest of the week.

On Saturday, my sister-in-law asked if I could pick up some photos for her at a store that I hardly ever go to. Just as I was ready to leave, something caught my attention. I saw a display of photo accessories, and among them, was a photo pendant. There was only one left. I asked the clerk,“How much is that photo pin?” He replied, “I’m not sure, but I will check.”I was holding my breath, expecting it to be between twenty and thirty dollars.

My Photo Pendant

I was astounded when he exclaimed, “Oh, I guess it’s only fifty cents!” As I was leaving, I was thanking God for caring enough for me to answer my prayer in this specific way. The emotional day on Sunday was much easier as I wore my little pendant, not only because it contained a photo of my dear son, but also because it was my reminder of God’s special love for me.

This is just a bit of the joy that we experience even as we continue to grieve. We will continue experiencing much joy-filled sorrow until that great “morning” when our mourning will entirely be replaced with indescribable and eternal joy! Hallelujah!

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20 Responses

  1. Marilyn (sis) says:

    WOW!!!! Awesome blog and another sure sign that God cares and wants us to call on Him!!! Rejoicing with you in your spiritual journey.

  2. Fransene says:

    Thank you Cindy for your continued openness and honesty about your journey of grief. How hard that must have been on Sunday. And so special how Jesus showed you He cares with a 50 cent pendant. That is so neat! What a joyful day it will be when you are reunited with Austin in the presence of Jesus!!

  3. Elva Miller says:

    Dear Cindy,
    I am sitting here shedding tears as I read your letter. May God Bless you as you continue to walk this painful journey. Joy does come in the morning but I can attest to the fact that pain is still there. Thank You Lord for all the precious memories we have. Next Sunday it will be 9 years that Martin has gone to Heaven. Its such a bittersweet time for our family. It is also Randy and Dorcas anniversary. Thank you for sharing your heart, it was definitely what I needed for today. The photo story was beautiful.
    May God continue to wrap his arms of Love and Comfort around each of your family.
    Consider yourself loved and hugged today.
    Elva

  4. Naomi Maust says:

    Thank you for sharing this, Cindy. Made me cry….touched by God’s FAITHFULNESS! Blessings as you continue to find HIM faithful…Love you much, Naomi

  5. Martha Cherry says:

    Thank you for sharing this post. We also lost our only son unexpectedly one year ago to cerebral malaria in Africa, so I can identify with everything you wrote. I never knew before losing Christopher that it is possible to have so much joy and so much sorrow at the same time. We grieve every day at our loss but we rejoice at his gain. Heaven has never been so near or so inviting! God bless your family!

    Love, Eric and Martha Cherry and girls

  6. Lil Bender says:

    Cindy, So well stated. Glad God is giving you things to shed a beam of light on this pathway. Looking forward to seeing you Sept.19 at Maple Glen.
    Lil

  7. Duane & Cindy says:

    Thanks, Marilyn! I miss and love you. ~Cindy

  8. Duane & Cindy says:

    Thank you, Fransene, for your comment. I know that grief has touched your life as well. Yes, our family reunion in Heaven will truly be indescribable! ~Cindy

  9. Duane & Cindy says:

    Elva, I wish I was there to give you a hug right now! My heart connects with yours and I know you love and miss Martin greatly. We still have special memories of our times at your house while Martin was still here. God bless you as you face another anniversary of his home-going. Won’t it be wonderful to gather around God’s throne, as we are worshipping Him and embracing our loved ones? It WILL be worth it all when we see Jesus! ~Cindy

  10. Duane & Cindy says:

    Praise God, Naomi! He truly IS FAITHFUL! Miss you! ~Cindy

  11. Duane & Cindy says:

    Hi Martha! I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your son, Christopher. I think I remember hearing a bit about your story from someone…Yes, I believe one important aspect we desperately need is to be able to grieve unselfishly. It means to look at our loss from our loved ones perspective instead of our own. Someday we will be able to present our “light afflictions” (and our heart-breaks!) as tokens of our love to our dear Lord and Savior. Prayers sent your way! ~Cindy

  12. Duane & Cindy says:

    Lil, Thanks for your comment. We are also looking forward to being there in Maryland with you all as well. Blessings! ~Cindy

  13. Elaine says:

    Sometimes its the most simple of things that offer us the most exquisite sense of God’s care and Presence. I love your new pin!

  14. Duane & Cindy says:

    Very true, Elaine! Thank you! ~Cindy

  15. Mark Nissley says:

    I really appreciated the post. As with the death of our 14 month old son..the pain never actually leaves and will from time to time churn to the surface. Last year would have been graduation for our son if he would have been here with us. If was a real tough time for my wife Ruth and I. Since I was principal at the school I took the liberty of issuing a diploma for our son as I did it for the others…I know he didn’t need one! He’s with Jesus…but it just felt good to be able to remember him in that way. I would encourage you to taking the time in the life events, whenever the memories rush in to do a special thing as a moment to remember…Its been 18 plus years now and we had Kevin for 18 months…but the memories are still there. I pray for you and your family that God will continue to fill you with His Love,Peace and Grace

  16. Ivylover says:

    Wow cindy and family, thanks for your post. Feels like the sorrow you’re talking about has just started for me though it’s been over 2 years since Mom was released of her suffering… the relief of letting her go took away the chance to grieve for her, until now. For me the memories of her suffering are starting to fade leaving room for the grief to be felt. Becky Sauder’s daughter
    PS. your posts have helped me to think of her and as tears flow it feels like it all connects; you share, tears come and I think of her again and miss her more… thanks for being a part of my grieving moments!! Love Ya!

  17. Duane & Cindy says:

    Mark, Thanks so much for your comment. We didn’t remember that about your son. Thanks for sharing it with us. I know they will always be a special part of us!

  18. Duane & Cindy says:

    Wow! Praise the Lord for being the Master Healer of our hearts! Much love and prayers are being sent your way. -Cindy

  19. Cindy,
    Your post has really touched my soul. I thank you for sharing this post. I’ve been a victim of deaths as well. I know how deep the wound is. Our God is always in control of whatever situation that we go through. Your son is resting in His good hands, I know. We are all longing for that Bright Morning where we will see our loved ones, where there will be no more sorrow. I lost my husband when I was 29 years, now I’m 49 years old. Everyday of my love I miss him and I love him. Hoping that I will see him that Morning and rejoice with him in God’s presence. Be Blessed!!

  20. Cindy Mullett says:

    Thembisa,

    Thank you for your encouragement. I am sorry for your loss…people don’t really know what it’s like to lose a loved one until they go through it themselves. You’re right, God is in control. He has our best at heart and sees things we don’t. I am also so excited for the day when we can all be together forever!! God will wipe away all tears…what a glorious day that will be. We are so blessed in being able to know where we will spend eternity. Until then, let’s be faithful, pressing on until that day. Heaven is really what our lives on earth is all about!

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