Gladness for Sorrow

Sunday, January 5

1-5By Susan Oxley, Council of Twelve Apostles

Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old shall be merry. I will turn their mourning into joy, I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow.

—Jeremiah 31:13

My husband, John Skoor, died in 2006. I felt like I had died, too. Grief and shock robbed me of energy, focus, and the ability to make decisions. I passed months in a fog. Though I knew God was with me, I felt far from God’s love and blessings.

Yet, I felt called to ministry, and despite grief, I responded. During the next three years, loving family and friends provided support. My relationship with God deepened, and I renewed the trust that had characterized my spiritual life. Even so, laughter and joy were rare.

In November 2009, I met Ronald Oxley at the Pacific Island Mission Centre Conference in Auckland, New Zealand. Ron had lost his beloved wife, Janie, 10 years earlier, and had experienced his own journey of grief and retreat from life. An easy friendship developed through e-mail, videoconferencing, and rare visits.

In August 2011, Ron proposed marriage, and I accepted. We married in June 2012 in a joy-filled celebration with family and friends. In our new life together, we laugh a lot. Joy and humor come easily. Loving and knowing each other blesses us.

I do not believe God planned the deaths of John and Janie so Ron and I could be together. I believe God wept with Ron and me when our spouses died. God accompanied us on the long path through the shadow of death, holding us in loving arms until we could embrace life once again. It is God who brings blessing amid grief, and offers gladness for sorrow.

Ron and I will never stop loving our first spouses. But with God’s Spirit of love, gentleness, and compassion to guide us, we found we could live again and love again.

Prayer for Peace
God of compassion, help us feel your presence in our grief. Walk with us through each shadow and difficulty, and lead us into light. We offer you ourselves and the daily events of our lives. We know only you can give us the deep and satisfying peace that is the foundation of life eternal.

Spiritual Practice: Praying for Leadership of the Church
An important spiritual practice for disciples is praying for members of the body of Christ, particularly those who carry leadership responsibilities. Ask God to guide your awareness of people who lead the faith community in congregations, mission centers, and the World Church. Pray for God’s outpouring of grace on each servant leader who comes to mind.

Peace Covenant
Today, God, I will look for you in the shadows, as well as the light.

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6 Comments

  1. Lola Brown from Spain

     /  6 January 2014

    Thank you Susan for your note. I have lost mydear husband 8 months ago. I am now 46 with two children. The Lord gives me peace and all of you brothers and sister from Community of Christ. God bless you all.

  2. Susan Gregory

     /  5 January 2014

    Susan, you have always been a source of inspiration to me, even in the times when you felt hobbled by grief. I don’t expect it was easy to write this inspiring and uplifting story, but once again you have reached out and touched countless lives because of your dedication to our God and Creator. I thank you and uplift you often in my prayers.

  3. LSoignier

     /  5 January 2014

    Blessings for you and Ron on your journey!

  4. Adele

     /  5 January 2014

    Thanks for sharing your story and insights. It has been a blessing for us as we have seen the pair of you find hope and joy in each other’s company.

  5. Lyanne Putting, Melbourne, Australia

     /  5 January 2014

    Your message in today’s Daily Bread has touched my heart Susan. I, too have been walking in the shadow of grief for some time. After losing my daughter, Tracey 9 years ago, and my beloved husband of 56 years, Harry, in August last year, I have been truly blessed by God as he has walked beside me through those difficult times, and also comforting me in my grief. Thank you so much for your lovely ministry.

  6. what a lovely story of hope and love. I have leukaemia and worry about leaving my husband but this has shown me there is life on earth after death.
    Thanks for sharing this Susan.

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