Advent Week Three – Joy: Sorrow is not your only song

Brit Tashjian

The pregnancy had been so beautiful, so full of excitement and hope. But she’d struggled to feel like herself again since having the baby.   

“About twenty percent of women just don’t ever snap out of it,” her OB-GYN said bleakly at her last checkup.  She had just finished telling him that her most recent anti-depressant made everything feel beige and blah and that her persistent sadness was still there underneath that layer of “meh.” Honestly, she’d never won anything before, not even a raffle prize, so the idea of her being one of the lucky few to have lingering postpartum depression and anxiety a year after giving birth, was the funniest thing that had crossed her mind in months. She laughed, which felt as inappropriate as not laughing, so she just absorbed the doctor’s blank, beige stare. Even with the medication, exercise, and plenty of time for self-care, there was still an inevitable darkness over her days, a permanent bad-weather forecast that had made her entire experience of being a mom so far feel like she was watching someone else’s life through a dirty window.   

Have you ever felt guilty for not being happy? Are you fighting a battle with depression, or experiencing a dark night of your soul?  

Even God said that you’d have trouble in this world, that sometimes the good news of His birth wouldn’t penetrate your perspective. And so, he reminds you that he has overcome the world, a promise that can perhaps bring peace to your mind, until you are able to feel it in your heart, as well. Don’t feel guilty for your feelings, but instead engage with them by speaking truth and peace with your internal dialogue, even when it doesn’t illicit the emotional response you’re hoping for. There’s a faithfulness in this process, and your commitment to truth will pay off in ways you can’t yet comprehend. Would you let your child think that their sadness has the final say, or defines their entire life? Then resist giving that power to sadness for yourself, as well. In the meantime, we’re here to walk with you.                                                                                                                                           

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 

With the kids:  
To ask: Do you ever feel sad, but you’re not sure why? What did you do about it?   
To read: “The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.” John 1:9  
To listen: Joy to the World    
To pray: Lord, help me resist the belief that my sadness is permanent. Give me a new song to sing, and help me be faithful to you in how I respond to whatever feelings I have today. 

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