“Great is Thy faithfulness,” O God my Father, There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not. As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.
“Great is Thy faithfulness!” “Great is Thy faithfulness!” Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided— “Great is Thy faithfulness,” Lord, unto me!
Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest, Sun, moon and stars in their courses above,
Join with all nature in manifold witness to Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.
Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth, Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow, blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!
Valentine’s Day this year looked completely different than the last two – it carried on the same spirit as always, yet this year it was filled with much more tenderness, joy, tears and community. There is something beautiful in sorrow and it’s not the hurt that is pretty, but it’s the vulnerability and ability to know true joy, to fully cherish life and to share it with others.
This year we were honored to serve at a valentine’s day get-together for widows who lost their husbands within the last year. The room was heavy and yet somehow lively. It was bittersweet and the women were able to talk with each other about their pain, their husbands, sharing old pictures, and reminiscing about sweet memories while creating new ones. I marveled at each woman’s almost yearning to connect with the other ladies in the room. As one lady said as she walked in the door, “Every day is hard and today’s the hardest. You don’t know how much it means to be with people that know your pain and can understand.” As I observed I felt strangely blessed to be a part of what was transpiring. Two musicians, with flute, guitar and voice sang songs of praise, hymns of gratitude and joy but I noticed that even the sweetest of songs held some tinge of sadness. Great is Thy Faithfulness, one of my most favorite hymns, was among them. I hope I am conveying the spirit of the day and the beauty it held because in this moment while I sang the words in my head I was taken by the Lord’s faithfulness and goodness. I was overwhelmed by the strength of these women to know true sorrow and therefore be able to experience true joy. Their pain was so real and fresh. I cannot imagine the hardship nor the loss, but the hope that the Lord has given them was visible. Their eyes twinkled with tears and almost a knowledge of heavenly things.
I’ve yet to come to a purpose for this blog post and I think that’s okay. Rather, I only want to be able to express the full and heavy heart I walked away with. Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow, blessings all mine with ten thousand beside – morning by morning new mercies I see. Loss in anyone’s life is so very hard, it can knock you off your feet, turn your world upside down, unmotivate you, it can change you and it will hurt you. But the words of this hymn are powerful and deliver a testimony of the Lord and His mercies. Each morning He gives strength to the weak, not here and maybe there, but each day is a promise that the Lord will bestow new mercies on you. He’s not just a mystical being that sits high on a throne looking down, unmoved by your grievances.. I think the Lord knows and feels all that pain, He sees all of your hurt and He grieves with you. But He doesn’t stop there and neither should you. He does not change, His compassion is steadfast, His mercies are new each morning, He wants to cheer you up and to guide you. The joy of the Lord will be your strength and you may still feel the pain and the loss, but He is faithful to enter that. Yesterday I was able to see the Lord use compassionate sons and daughters to host these ladies during a hard time, to lend a listening ear and to create a space where both joy and sorrow could meet. I think that you might not ever know true joy until you know sorrow – and until you’re in a place where sorrow is to be met I think it’s your job to extend that joy to the hurting, to children, to widows and the lost.
Perhaps in a few weeks I will talk about the menu, but for today I wanted to share the most important aspect of the day: these women and the way the Lord so sweetly brought them together for a time of sharing, healing and encouraging. I pray the Lord heals any pain in your life and that you might find new-found joys in the morning and share them with others who might need it most.
All I have needed, Thy hand hath provided. Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me.
– maris & elijah