Living in the “Both, And”

4 weeks ago one of our special mamas in ROWAN, Anne, passed away. She was a widow, mom, HIV+ community member, and hope-filled believer. She breathed her last at 39 years old as cancer took her life.
3 weeks ago one of our ROWAN staff, Jeremiah, died suddenly in a car accident. He operated our ultrasound machine for the maternity center and for cancer scans. He was only 27.
Last week my friend’s daughter passed away from a long battle of cancer here in the States. She was 13.
As I share about these precious people, I know I’m not alone in this journey of loss. It happens suddenly, whether you are in a good place or not; yet how we process that news is so crucial to our relationships with God and each other.
There is never a “convenient” time for loss. I don’t know about you, but some days I wake up, hear heart breaking news and think to myself, “That’s it, I’m done. I’ve got nothing left.”
Other times I am able to rally around others and simply share tears of pain.
I recently got other news, too:
— That a pre-mature baby girl has gained another pound and is growing strong.

— That one of our orphans in Uganda has grown up to become the best car painter in the region.
— That the mining crisis in our region has slowed down because of ROWAN’s effort to promote justice, per an update from our lawyers.
Oh, and my daughter started reading chapter books by herself.
What I love so much about our Father is the way we can enter into His presence in the very space we are in.
I so often feel conflicted between life’s heartaches and victories, and the whiplash we feel getting pulled from one to the other.
But I suspect that we aren’t meant to experience only one and never the other (we all know what we’d choose).
When Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, He knew what had to be done. He was sweating blood as he asked for “the cup to pass Him by.”
Even Jesus longed for the victory of the cross apart from the suffering of the innocent.
At the last supper Jesus found joy in laughing and joking with His closest friends around the dinner table, and at the same time awaited His betrayal and death around the corner.
He lived in the “both, and” …and taught us how to experience life fully and honestly.

No matter what is in your path today, whether you are walking through something painful or celebrating a victory (or both), He is right there, in it with you.
God created us to fully experience His love through everything in our lives, both in tears of sadness and tears of joy.
So let’s do this one thing together:
Let’s laugh and eat at the table of friendship even as we feel the weight of grief within us.
Look across the table…
And know you aren’t alone.

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