It’s been a year. A year is a long time, isn’t it? Are you allowed to still feel this way a year later? Am I not trusting Jesus enough? There are so many blessings G-d has been pouring out on me; I don’t have the right to mourn. Isn’t that ungrateful?
I think these are all questions we have asked whether we want to admit it or not. Is it okay to breakdown during a time of blessing? Understand what I mean here: I’m not talking about something like a really great Spirit-filled church service or time of worship; those are completely appropriate times for breakdowns. I’m talking about the times in our lives where G-d keeps filling every single need you have supernaturally. Checks keep coming in the mail mysteriously. He provides a place to live. You didn’t think you would have food for the week and someone generously gives to you without even knowing. The times in our lives when G-d is so tangibly providing for us.
Flash forward to October of this year, 2016. G-d called us back out to Portland. I drove out for a job interview and my wife stayed home and sold everything we owned. When I got here, I stayed at an Airbnb until I went to a home church where I met some amazing people that decided to bless a complete stranger. They let me stay with them for a few weeks. That’s the Lord right there. I started my job, my wife and son came out and now we are settled in our apartment in downtown and it’s been a crazy ride. During all of which I could tell you miracle after miracle of what the Lord has done in our lives. But here’s the thing: my heart has still been mourning. It’s coming up on a year that Papa has been gone and I feel the lingering sadness. Not just that, but I miss my friends from Georgia. I miss my family. I feel like everything I’ve ever known is gone. I feel as though I am in the middle of the ocean with no rescue in sight. I’m just sitting here and it’s either sink or swim. No dry land. No safety net. Nothing to go back to. Nothing to go back to. That reality breaks me down sometimes. But I have been scared to death of allowing myself to be sad right now. I’m so afraid of bring like the Israelites. Hebrews 3:19 says they were not able to enter the Promised Land because of unbelief. I feel as though Portland is my Promised Land and I’m terrified that if I don’t remain only grateful, that the Lord will take it all away. So I shut my feelings down and chose faith. It sounds like a good thing and, don’t get me wrong, it is a good thing to an extent. But the Lord was about to teach me a better way.
I went to a My Epic concert last week on Hawthorne and something shifted in me. I always feel Holy Spirit so strongly when they lead worship. As Aaron Stone started singing, something in me broke. I cried and cried. And cried some more. I let it all out and I heard the Lord telling me, “You’re safe here. You can break down. I know this has been very hard on you.” It was so gentle. So understanding. And it proved to me once again that I do NOT know the Lord like I think I do. That night of worship gave me more energy to keep fighting. And it gave me safety to mourn. To mourn Papa, my friends back home, my family, my favorite places in Georgia, my home church, my favorite coffee shop, my life that was and never will be again.
When it comes to mourning Papa, I feel guilty. Mainly because there’s this voice inside of me saying, “It’s been a year. You shouldn’t be crying anymore. You need to get over it. A year is plenty of time to move on.” But those things are lies. Mourning is good. Mourning is holy. Jesus said, “Blessed are those that mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4) And mourning does not mean we are not thankful or joyful. Joy is not happy, skipping around. Joy is recognizing G-d in His goodness. Joy is the ability to choose to look at all the bad things around us that bring us sorrow and say, “G-d is good. G-d is better.” And when Jesus calls us to do things like move across the country on a whim and leave all we’ve ever known behind, it’s okay to do it and still be sad. Mourning allows us to truly let go of the things G-d is calling us to let go of.
He understands our frame. Do you know that? Do you know that He understands every emotion, pain, or sorrow you feel? It is safe to mourn in times of blessing. He is not shocked. He is not offended. The key is to keep trusting Him and walking in faith and allowing room for the breakdown. By allowing room, I mean take time, be it in worship or church or home group or in your prayer closest, and have a good cry. Talk to the Lord. Complain. Scream. Rest. Rest in the arms of your Father and allow Him to comfort you. This is the safe place. During extreme times of transition, I believe our hearts are very fragile and vulnerable. Be careful not to give your breakdown to someone or something other than G-d. He is the only one that will understand your position during the juxtaposition between your emotions and the blessings in your life. Always remember that He loves your breakdown and it’s okay to cry, mourn, and be sad even when all of Heaven is pouring down at your feet.
Grace and Peace. I’m hurt and in pain; Give me space for healing, and mountain air. Let me shout God’s name with a praising song, Let me tell his greatness in a prayer of thanks. For God, this is better than oxen on the altar, Far better than blue-ribbon bulls. The poor in spirit see and are glad— Oh, you God-seekers, take heart! For God listens to the poor, He doesn’t walk out on the wretched. –Psalm 69:29-33