May 2017 Newsletter

MOUNTAIN HAVEN- MINISTRY AT A GLANCE

May 2017

Financials: Monthly Revenue Required: $7,100.00 and Monthly Revenue Received: $3,027.00 Remaining Need: $4,073.00

If you feel led to give please do, all our services are donation based and we don’t turn any person away due to inability to pay. All donations are used for direct service costs associated with running Mountain Haven. None of the donations are used for staffing needs, so your donations really go a long way. We know God will continue to provide.

Current Ministry/ Ranch Projects:  Our busy season is starting with visitors. We are so happy to host lots of different visitors coming out to utilize the Mountain Haven space. If you haven’t booked a time to rest, refuel or rejuvenate; contact us to get your space. All our services are donation based.

Something Interesting or Unexpected that Happened Last Month:  April was filled with the Celebration of Easter and a dear friend and wonderful supporter of Mountain Haven coming out for a long weekend. It was so delightful.

Top Prayer Requests: Pray that we have the ability to live in the tension of the world we are currently in and the world Christ promised us.

The Tension & the Paradox of Joy & Grief

Newsletter May  2017

Joy; Chara in Greek, means to lean towards or be favorably disposed, or to have the awareness of God’s grace and favor (http://biblehub.com/greek/5479.htm). Grief, lupeo in Greek, means to experience deep emotional pain and sorrow (http://biblehub.com/greek/3076.htm).

So how in the world can these two be related? A couple things come to mind; the fight with your spouse that is so terrible that you spiral into a grief cycle, only to have it end with an amazing conversation and the best intimacy you have experienced in awhile. Or how about a really difficult day with your kids, the kind where you feel inept, incapable and unworthy of this parenting role; but then you receive a hug, or a word of kindness from your little one that makes your heart soar? Or when you watch your child graduate, or get married, after all the years of hard work, fights, laughter, financial responsibility and worry? There is a combination of joy and grief that just cause you to take pause. These moments that take your very breath from you and leave you reeling and wondering how in the world you can choose what to feel? Revel in the joy, or sit in the grief? This is a paradox beyond explanation.

 I think our tendency is to prefer one over the other. To cling too tightly to the joy for fear the joy may not last, and to run and escape, as furtively as we can from the grief, that appears to last forever. We spend our days anticipating the bad things that result in grief, or worse yet, when grief does strike us, we run from how it feels and what we experience in our body. We shut down from the world, we withdraw, retreat, or hide it under a mask of perfectionism, false goodness and spiritual cliches to mask the pain and to maintain the presentation of holiness. But in the end, we need not abandon joy for the experience of grief, nor do we need to run from grief to experience joy. We can hold them both.

The word paradox has its origins in Greek and Latin, and comes from the words para which means “distinct from” and doxa which means “opinion”. The word paradox means a seemingly absurd or self-contradictory statement or proposition that when investigated or explained may prove to be well founded or true, or a statement or proposition that, despite sound (or apparently sound) reasoning from acceptable premises, leads to a conclusion that seems senseless, logically unacceptable, or self-contradictory. The most paradoxical event in history could be Christ’s night at Gethsemane. The name Gethsemane literally means “oil press”. It makes sense since the Garden of Gethsemane is filled with olive trees, and olive trees produce a deliciously enticing oil after the whole olive is pressed through an oil press. Just like the olive, Jesus was about to face the worst pressing of His life, death by crucifixion,  in order to produce abundant life. There was an immense grief that he went through as he wrestled with the task before Him.  A grief so intense that Luke tells us it was “exceedingly sorrowful unto death” (Luke 22). This emotional death ultimately resulted in his physical death. This paradox of death, or grief leading to joy and abundant life was an incredible part of the experience of Christ’s last night on this earth as man.

The hope for us is that we can live in the tension of grief and sorrow simultaneously acting in our lives with joy. We can contradictorily say “this really terrible and painful event is bringing or producing joy in my life.” Or , we can even experience joy while in the midst of grief. We can find hope and joy when our child leaves home so excited for the adventures they will be facing, all while crying loudly with the grief of loss. We can experience horrific grief at losing someone we love to a physical death, all the while feeling joy that they are not suffering anymore. I don’t believe the choice is presented as “one/or” but rather a “both/and” experience. I think the permission to do hard things, find laughter along the way, to give love, to lose love, to recreate love, to forgive, to be righteously angry, to wait and to move forward can all be experiences that can be interchangeable and even simultaneous. There can be hope that grief will abate, lessen or even end. There can also be joy knowing that the paradox we are facing; the tension we are feeling need not steal our breath away or hold us like a hostage to our circumstances. We do not need to control the outcome, the two experiences are working together to simultaneously produce life and transformation.

If you are facing grief, you are not alone. In despair you can still see God, you can still know joy. As Victor Frankl noted, “ in some way suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning.” I don’t know what the meaning is for you, but I do know that the experience of grief can be faced with a resolute knowing that you will be pressed, it will hurt, it will feel contradictory to what you may have been taught, but it can be laced with joy, or even culminate in true and lasting joy.

 

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