Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning. Psalm 30:5
The coldest days of winter come just before spring. I felt it this morning as I walked, layered in warm clothes to fight off the biting wind. Still, the bitter chill stung my nose and forced me to quicken my steps and speed my thinking. I wanted to come home and write and I walked for new inspiration. I had a few fleeting thoughts, but the cold snatched them before I could file them in my mind.
Fleeting thoughts come to us on a walk and we think “Wow!” capturing what we feel to be a brilliant idea only to return to our desk and discover we left our brilliance somewhere on the other side of the street. We backtrack and try to hunt them down. I have resorted to a pen and paper stuck in my pocket—or even geekier, I record a few buzzwords on my iPhone. Bodey, my dog, looks at me like, Have you lost your mind? Could we just walk and enjoy this day?
When you are a writer, you are constantly trying to say it better. When I finished my book, When God Comes Near, I thought I had an organized story, using much of my journaling through the time of my daughter, Megan’s, illness and death. But as I would proof and reread, I knew the story had to be told differently. So I did what I read about good writers doing—I started over. I reorganized the book, keeping the story intact, and handed it over to an editor.
The day I finished the final chapter and delivered the book was like the final day of my daughter’s life. Those special years as a mom were now over and life would take on a different look. This book was like my child in many ways. I had fed it, nurtured it, and tended to its needs. I could be with it all day, return to a chapter at any time, and remember and relive those special and mysterious days. I could cry freely as I rewrote a paragraph, or laugh over a sweet memory. As I handed the book over, I felt that, for a moment, I was letting go of Megan all over again.
The loss of my daughter was devastating. Yet God, in His glory and majesty, allows me a time of weeping … a time of mourning. He provides opportunity to fall into His arms and be comforted, then to have my eyes open into a new day. A new morning. Fresh. Restored.
Without a book to “care for” each day, my hands are empty, but there is still much to say. I wonder if God will continue to allow me to use his voice through my writing. I know good writers must find their own voice. How like God to freely give us what we cannot find on our own. Pure grace. I wonder if he will trust me with my own voice in time.
And so I sit at my desk, working to find my voice, letting God heal my loss, and trying to remember what it was I wanted to say. Ah, yes, it’s coming back:
“The coldest days are just before spring,
night before day,
death before life,
the darkest night is just before dawn
weeping lasts for the night, but joy will surely come.”
Let God guide you from the weeping into joy.
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Marcia Gaddis is a speaker and author of the award-winning book When God Comes Near, published in 2010. She writes a weekly column for her two blogs, The Olive Branch and Marcia Gaddis…On The Grief Journey. She began writing an online journal when her twenty-six-year-old daughter was diagnosed with the rare and fatal Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. The journal became a book of hope and healing to those who experience tragedy. At the 2011 Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference in Asheville, North Carolina, her book was awarded three distinguished awards: First Place for Inspiration, The Selah Book of the Year Award, and the Director’s Choice Award for 2011. She is a graduate of the Christian Communicators Conference and a member of the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia.