Psalm 100 - Julia Dembeck - Mother's Day Collection Day 12
Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth!
Serve the LORD with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!
Know that the LORD, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!
For the LORD is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.
Though I don't know you, I feel connected to you. We are connected through grief and through our fellowship with Jesus (and probably many more areas). I wish we could sit down together so I could hear more of your story and the burdens on your heart. But since that is not possible right now, it is my prayer that this letter is a reminder that you are not alone in this journey. You and your baby are not forgotten. I pray these words provide truth and hope in the places that feel heavy and hard.
Even though it was five years ago, I still remember the waves of grief, anger and doubt after losing our baby. And these feelings continue to arise as I hear about friends losing their little ones within their wombs.
As I wrestled through (and still wrestle through) how to praise the Lord in the midst of my pain, Psalm 100 helped me experience how these two can go together. But to be honest, when I first read, "Make a joyful noise and enter the Lord's presence with gladness, thanksgiving, and praise..." those words felt foreign to me. I thought there was no way I could genuinely do that when my heart was breaking. I also thought if I did experience joy, I was dismissing the loss of my baby and the pain I was feeling. I didn’t know how to hold the praise and pain together. Maybe you are also wrestling through these feelings.
Sister, what I’ve found through the wrestling and going back to Psalm 100 over and over is that when we rightly see God, we can rightly see ourselves, which gives us a lens to be able to praise in the midst of our pain. As I read verses 3 and 5 I asked myself who is God and who are we, and this is what I found—
The Lord, he is God. He is the Creator, he is good, loving, and faithful. It can be easy to say these things, but doubt these things to be true in the debt of sorrow and grief. I know, I've been there. We can read God is good and loving but believe the lie that he is withholding good or love from you because of the loss you’ve experienced. Sister, I want to remind you, our God is not a malicious God. He is good and is at work in all things to show us more of who he is and further his glory. God may feel distant in this grief, but he wants you to draw near to feel his lavish love. He has always been near and he is the same regardless of our loss. (Psalm 100:5, Romans 8:28, Hebrews 13:5, Jeremiah 31:3, James 4:7.)
After the loss of my baby, I not only struggled with doubts about who God is, I also struggled with who I was. Lies and doubts about my identity consumed me. I knew I needed to combat the lies with truth. Verse 3 reminded me of our true identity: we are made by God, we are his, and we are the sheep of his pasture. In John 10, Jesus calls himself "the good shepherd" and says he knows his sheep and he came to give them life and life abundantly. This meant that Jesus had to die on the cross as the perfect sacrifice for our sins and rise again in order that we may be given this abundant life. When we rightly see who we are in Christ, purchased daughters, saved from our sin, we are able to enter into the presence of God with praise (Psalm 100:4, Hebrew 10:19-23). Sister, what a huge gift it is to be able to enter into his presence knowing we are made by him and belong to him! Our identity is secure in Christ.
Psalm 100 highlights who God is and who we are in Him which enables us to praise in the midst of our pain. For me, I have found the need to ask the Holy Spirit for help to fight against the lies I’m believing about who God is and who I am in him, and replace it with the truth: he is our good shepherd, who paid the ultimate sacrifice to grant us abundant life. It is moment by moment reminding myself of these gospel truths, in order to turn my thoughts and feelings back to the bigger picture of who God is and who I am in Him.
Sister, even in—especially in—your sorrow and grief, Jesus is right here with you. He is leading and carrying you, drawing you nearer to lavish you with love and joy.
Even after your mind knows these truths it can be hard to believe. I encourage you to continue to draw near to Jesus through being in the Word; let it do the work of healing your grief. Ask the Holy Spirit for help to see more of who God is and who you are in him. Claim the promise that your good shepherd enables you to praise in the midst of the pain.
The God who created the universe is the same God who created you and loves you infinitely!
I am praying for you,
Hi Friend, Ashlee here. Below is a song that I encourage you to listen to. I thought it would be a beautiful way to enter into worship as you begin your day and dwell on the Psalm above. Praying that you would feel the closeness and peace of the Lord as you walk forward today.