Joy-filled, Grief-filled Community

She’s really close, they think the baby may be born in just a few minutes!

My heart dropped after hearing these words. Tears instantly stung my eyes and started to flow without my ability to control them. Our dear friends we are in community with were having their second baby, a girl, only 6 weeks after Anna was born.

Though you may not be in the same position of having just lost your own children, my guess is that you are able to feel the same sorrow of loss in the light of seeing others gain. This is what naturally happens when you do life with people. It’s what shows that you are in fellowship. And – it’s ok. My hope is that as we learn to do community with those in grief and those who are rejoicing – that you are also pressed to follow the gospel pattern set in Romans 12.

“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” Romans 12:15

The day after our friend’s baby girl was born, we got a sweet text from them asking us to come to their home and meet her. My first reaction was “I don’t think I can do that without crying.” but they assured us that it was their joy to remember with us, and it was their hope that their baby would be a blessing to us as well. This gesture of opening their life in the midst of rejoicing, to our life in the midst of grief, deeply moved us.

It’s not an easy thing to hold heavy grief in the middle of a setting where those around you are light-hearted and jovial. But it is also not easy to be in the position of “rejoicing” when those close to you are hurting. If you take a deeper look into Romans 12 and the pattern it is setting for community, it outlines many different ways that we are to live giving of ourselves or in other words dying to ourselves like it says in 2 Corinthians 4. “For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh
(2 Corinthians 4:11).

I cried in their living room after holding their sweet baby. And that was ok. They opened their life to us in a way that said “your hurt is just as significant as our joy.” And that is love. When you are able to lay down your own comfort whether that be in your joy or in your grief – by opening yourself to others, you are manifesting Jesus. Because Jesus poured out His life to secure those He loved. This is how we follow His example. By putting our comfort behind so that our brothers and sisters may be shown love. I saw Jesus SO clearly through their openness to us when it was not comfortable to be the one who “has”. But this exemplified Jesus. It WAS a blessing to hold their tiny baby, but mostly because they made such an example of doing the uncomfortable thing.

We are all in one of two positions. Those who “have” or those who “have not.” And both of these as Christians are to press us to live in a way that gives honor to the other. Rejoice with those who rejoice! It shows Jesus. Weep with those who weep. It shows Jesus. A new baby; a lost baby. A close mate; a far mate. A child walking with Jesus; a child walking away from Jesus. Your gifts whether good or bad are to be given and shared with each other. You have been given to give. Your life as a Christian whether in plenty or in want is meant to be poured out for your brothers and sisters first – and then to the world to show Christ’s sufficiency in all things.

And friends, He is enough for both. He is better than our best and He is more than enough in our lack. Give what you have been given for this shows Jesus most.

Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.John 13:35

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