Can you choose joy even in the midst of loss? A story of losing their house and possessions, but rejoicing still.
Hope Suffering

Choosing Joy Despite Loss

Can you choose joy even in the midst of loss? A story of losing their house and possessions, but rejoicing still.

We recently decided to sell our house. It was not an easy decision but a necessary one. When I got so sick a couple of months ago, one of the first things we considered was mold exposure. While I have had long-term symptoms from Lyme Disease, they were manageable until two years ago when I had chronic mold exposure in a house we were renting. I got very sick very fast.

This downfall seemed similar. We did testing, and while our house was likely not as bad as the house that had originally made me ill, it wasn’t the pristine environment I needed to heal.

Long story short we sold our house and also got rid of the large majority of our possessions (everything that couldn’t be cleaned thoroughly). This was drastic, but as I was reacting very negatively to items from our household, felt necessary.

It’s hard to explain how I’m processing this event – as well as all of the physical suffering, and the emotional load of seeing my children grapple with more change in their life. (They are doing very well, and are happy and contented. But not all of the transitions have been easy.)

There is a tension I feel between sorrow and rejoicing. I think I find that same tension in the Bible. We are told over and over again to rejoice, to praise God, to thank God. 1 Thess. 5:16 tells us to, “Rejoice always, ” and to “pray constantly” and to even “give thanks for everything.”

Taken out of the context of the rest of the Bible it could lead you to think that Christians are supposed to be constantly in a happy, rejoicing mood, with no room for sorrow.

But Paul in 2 Corinthians repeatedly refers to his sorrow. He shares that there was a time when they “were completely overwhelmed – beyond our strength – so that we even despaired of life itself.” (2 Corinthians 1:8) His love for the church at Corinth had also caused him to write, “with many tears out of an extremely troubled and anguished heart.” (2:4)

Can you choose joy even in the midst of loss? A story of losing their house and possessions, but rejoicing still.
Our beautiful backyard will be missed.

So here we have this tension in our faith that brings hope and light to our darkest days but also allows us to feel anguish and tears. A faith that allows for a world that can overwhelm us – to even beyond our strength. But yet it does so as we follow a Savior who is gentle and empathetic to our temptations and sorrows.

I feel the tension in letting both of those things be true – the troubled tears, and the thankfulness in everything – but I am not willing to let either go. I am not looking for Zen-like peace that doesn’t allow sorrow ever to penetrate, because loving in this world means you feel the pain of others. Being human means that you can feel deep, personal pain. I am also not willing to look at painful circumstances and say, “You have no meaning and God can’t work through you.” I know that even in these recent painful events, God can work.

I find Biblical support in the lamenting and the rejoicing.

Here, now, in these days, I am not focusing on lamenting certain losses. I do feel grief over precious items we lost, and that grief will keep popping up in the days ahead.

But in my sickest days, as I listened to my family take care of my three girls, I knew this – the life I wanted was with those three girls and my husband. The life I wanted was just out my bedroom door if I could only get well enough to join them. My life wasn’t in my house or being a homeowner, or in my little trinkets, or even in my beloved books. It was with the beloved people he gave me to care for.

Can you choose joy even in the midst of loss? A story of losing their house and possessions, but rejoicing still.

So now that I have improved enough to join life again – albeit still with limitations – I don’t feel dragged down with sorrow. I can rejoice.

Losing your house and getting rid of most of your possessions is sad, yes. My heart hurts just thinking about certain hopes and dreams now lost because we sold our house. But the loss of your health and place in your family life is a far greater loss. That’s a loss I would feel great sorrow over if it were to continue.

I could concentrate solely on losses and those would become heavy indeed if I were to do so. But instead, I feel a blooming thankfulness in my heart for all that I still have. I am working on staying in that place of rejoicing moving forward – not because I deny our sadness, but because I feel that joy will be what keeps us moving forward and healing.

Psalms 5:11 “But let all who take refuge in you rejoice: let them shout for joy forever. May you shelter them, and may those who love your name boast about you.”

10 thoughts on “Choosing Joy Despite Loss”

  1. Kimi – I used to read your blog many years ago and always loved it! Then came a time I had to care more for my littles than reading blogs! So I lost touch with your blog until a dear friend shared this one with me. We left our home and possessions a year ago and yes, yes, yes to all you have written! We are walking a similar road. Thank you for sharing your heart! It is not something many people experience and it encouraged me to hear your heart and how God is leading you in this journey. Prayers and Love!

    1. Anna,

      So good to hear from you! I’m so sorry you have also walked this path before though. It’s kind of a bummer to leave it all behind, isn’t it? Thanks so much for the encouragement. It is such a hard step to take, so it’s always comforting to hear from others who have also had to make similar steps. <3

  2. Hi Kimi!
    I am so very sorrowful with you and grieved to hear all that the Lord has allowed these last 2 years but I am so encouraged and full of hope at all He has done and is doing in your and Joel’s lives. What an awesome God we serve to hold you fast in such difficult times and to change your perspective and let you view it all through a biblical lens. Thank you for holding fast to the Word and to the Lord even when all else seems to fail. You are such an example to me of steadfast godliness and clinging to your Rock and Salvation no matter the cost or trial. I have been praying for you over the last few years off and on because God brought you to mind many times, now I know why. I am thankful for the Lord strengthening your faith in trials and look forward to the day when we will get to see how he’s used this in the lives of so many who have read this or watched you walk through it but especially in the lives of your girls who got to watch unwavering strength from the Lord and trust in the Lord even in the face of unimaginable trials. You are such an example to me and I have been so encouraged as I’ve seen you walk in past trialso and as I read this
    I pray that God will build me up and enable the same response in my heart when my trials come. Much love to you and your whole family from all the Marriages.

    1. Caitlin,

      Thank you for the beautiful comment! I’ve loved watching your family grow and thrive via Facebook, and have also thought of you often! You are so sweet. I have really had to walk through dark days of doubt too, but I do think that the Lord uses all of that grappling with doubt to strengthen our faith. I am praying to continue to persevere in that and I know it’s His grace that keeps my faith alive! I pray that the Lord continues to build up your faith too…but maybe in not such a dramatically hard way as my story has been. 😉 I love you!

  3. “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord!” says Job. Praise God He is showing you what is really important. May He continue to guide you through this journey of faith and show Himself to be sufficient. May all the treasures you laid down at His feet be a pleasing sacrifice of praise. May He graciously provide everything you need to experience the shalom He gives,including restored health and well-being. God bless.

  4. Thanks for your article! Yes, happiness is fleeting like the wind. It comes and goes and that’s ok. But I heard something wonderful the other day that is really helping me through the grief of my fiance going home recently. Despite a deep love for the Father, and trust that he knows exactly what’s he’s doing, I was not functioning very well at all. A friend said “Joy is being in-love with your journey.” I’ve skirted around that idea for years but never quite hit it so directly., so clear and simple. Wonderful words! Just thought I’d share them.

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