Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Finding Joy in Life and Death

She stared at the blank piece of paper for maybe 3 seconds at most then started doing what she always does, draws exactly what was in her head.  It looked as if she was in a clueless daydream of art sitting on the back row of her daddy’s baptism class at church, but oh was I wrong.  She stared and drew and this process went back and forth until the class was over and she handed me the most amazing picture I have ever seen.  There was Jesus with his hands up and light shining around him and beside him it said John 11:25.  I knew exactly what she was saying because we had been memorizing that verse together “I am the resurrection and the life.” My heart was filled with joy because my little girl perfectly captured what life is. But at the same time my heart sank because of how she learned this lesson.
Life has so many brilliant moments. Like a wedding day with a bride and groom so desperately in love with each other. Or the painting of a room for the child that is soon to join your family.  The list could go on with moments that we easily can “rejoice with those who rejoice.”  But we all know in life that death is always lurking around the corner. And as quickly as that couple fell in love they are now losing a fight with cancer, or the room that was so neatly decorated for your child again lays vacant.  Death is always looking for someones' joy and is willing to take it away.          Then how do we find joy in death?
This is has not been an easy lesson for me and truthfully it is a lesson that I am still learning.  There are days that death gets the better of me and joy seems a lifetime ago. Then life shows up like sunshine coming through the clouds to deliver joy.  I am reminded of a moment this happened after my son Gavin had passed away. My husband wanted to see a concert for his birthday and it involved two bands that had helped him in his grieving.  The show was almost over and they began to sing a song titled “This is not the End.” It was one of those moments the death that surrounds us gets swallowed up by the truth of what Jesus had done for us.  This world is not the end and one day all things will be made new.  I can remember it felt like through this song God was telling us, it is okay I even have this under control.
The truth is there is no joy in death.  Death is the enemy and frankly it was never intended to be on this earth. But it is.  I would be lying to say that death alone brings joy.  But there is one thing about death that you can find joy in…. it has been defeated.  God in His great love and mercy came and conquered it for us and now we can honestly sing, “This is not the End.”  The joy to be found in death is that it is not final; it cannot and it does not win.
Honestly the journey that I am on I would not wish on my worst enemy. And if I could edit my own story I would probably erase the death that has changed our family temporarily.  But there is a lens I see the life in now that is seeping out into my other children and though my heart sinks sometimes I can say I take joy because of pictures from a 6 year old that remind me, Jesus is the “Resurrection and the Life” and because of that this truly is not the end.

Janna and Brennan

Israel and Lyndlee


  1. Janna, thank you for sharing such a tender part of your life.

  2. Janna, thank you for sharing such a tender part of your life.

  3. Thank you Janna for sharing your heart with others. <3