Sow in Tears, Reap in Joy

This picture of Summer, me, and Lori, sits on my desk as I type this

Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy. They weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest. Psalms 126:5‭-‬6 NLT

This morning my mind was on this passage from the Psalms. I’ve heard it a thousand times and somehow never really understood the picture it’s painting.

It’s found in a joyful song/prayer about the Hebrew people returning to Jerusalem after a long captivity. Mingled with that joy were tears because of the losses experienced. The farmer must now make his land fruitful again, and so he plants his seeds in grief. The hope here is that though losses have been incurred, if he will plant anyway, there will be a harvest. There will be restoration, there will be joy and laughter again.

As I thought about that my thinking shifted, somehow, and I remembered that it was exactly four years ago today that I had a hysterectomy. Time flies. 

Then I realized it was when I was in recovery from surgery that Lori called and told Dave that she was on her way to the hospital because Summer was in distress. She might not make it. 

I was so mad at myself because I had a feeling that something would happen while I was incapacitated by this surgery. I had already put it off a month so I could possibly be useful to Summer after her surgery in August, but decided to go ahead with it. She pulled through that day, but that’s when they put her on the ventilator and she never came off of it.

I don’t want to rehash all of that, though. I’m just taking you for a ride on my train of thought. It’s what was going on in my head alongside the verses about sowing in tears and reaping in joy. This time of year always takes me back through those last few months of her life.

To tie these things together with a neat little bow and to get to the purpose of the train ride…

Sunday morning we went to the service of a new church that’s meeting in a middle school gym. It took me back to our early days at Church of the Highlands, when we met in the old furniture store. Those are some of my favorite memories. My closest friendships came out of that place.

During worship I remembered how Summer was always on the front row and how she gave her whole heart when she sang to God. It’s like nobody else was around. 

Then I felt sad. I felt sad because I had this thought: she died with my secrets. She knew me inside and out – it’s not always easy to build that kind of friendship – and now she isn’t here. The person who knew me, who I knew, who I had done the work with, was gone. 

I was comforted with the knowledge that I am fully known by my father in heaven, but we all have a desire to be known in meaningful friendships (and I do have some amazing friends, so y’all don’t think I’m discounting you – you understand what I’m saying here, I think).

As I thought about all of that I was hit with a new idea. I looked around and realized that though this place felt familiar, it felt like our home church in Alabama, I am not the same person. I’m very different than I was when I first walked into that furniture store.

Summer was one of the first people I met at Highlands, but it took a long time to build the friendship we had because of all the baggage I was carrying. It was a lot of work to get where we were at the end and I still regret that I was so closed off for so long. 

But, over the last few years, through many painful situations, through a lot of tears, I’ve been refined. I’m changed. In the midst of grieving losses, in painful circumstances, I’ve sown seeds with tears falling into the soil, and I’ve come out better for it. The Lord has refined me through it. I’ve learned that it’s through pain that we gain the most valuable things.

As I realized that I’m different I was filled with thankfulness and hope. I’ve got the opportunity to build new friendships, better relationships, to engage with people, to serve, to love, from a much stronger place – from a more open place.

In several areas of my life I see restoration on the horizon. Though losses have been incurred there will be joy and laughter again.

I think I’m on the verge of a harvest and, for that, I’m filled with gratitude.

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