Where Joy and Sorrow Meet

So is it bad to say that I’ve had a really peaceful day? Is it wrong to say that I’ve breathed a little easier today and that the kids have been calm and settled? Laundry is almost caught up, the floors have been swept,  I’ve read and answered emails, and I spent time listening to JoyAnn read a book and helped Jesse make a list for a shopping trip that he and his father will be taking this evening.  A pot of soup is simmering and a ham is cooking in the Crock Pot.  I feel rested as the sun is shining bright and warm and I’m feeling almost happy.

Why would it be wrong to feel that way you might ask? Well….because not all of my children are under my roof. I must admit to you that it feels very good to not hear Joseph screaming today. It is nice to not hear the words “you idiot”, “shut up”, “I hate you”. It is great not having to wonder if he would run away or to wonder if he was eating something that is going to hurt him (non-food object).

How can a mother be relieved, happy and almost grateful that one of her children isn’t with her? Well….it’s complicated. Being Joseph’s mother brings me great joy and great sorrow. It brings me delight and crushes me everyday. It makes me proud and embarrasses me regularly. Some of you reading this might say I’m being a bit melodramatic. You would argue that parenting ANY child brings these emotions. Perhaps you are correct, but since this is my blog I’m going to continue.

I’ve been in denial for many, many years about our family dynamic. Although I first heard the words “autism spectrum disorder” when Joseph was four years old they still seem so new. There is a ringing in my ear and a hole in my heart. I’ve taken Joseph to 95% of his therapy sessions, evaluations, doctor appointments, counseling sessions, etc. I’ve heard more strategies, plans, courses of action, medical terms, statistics, input etc. than I can honestly comment about. I’ve been fully immersed in the world of ASD for many years. So….why is it that just this week I really “got it”?

Delayed grief. I’ve never really completely grieved…grieved the loss of the dream of who I thought Joseph was going to be, who he “should have” been, who I desired him to become. I’ve never really worked through the thoughts about Joseph always living with me, or having to visit him someday in a group home. There have been times of admitting, dealing with and surviving, but there have been many more years of stuffing emotions, rationalizing and spinning tales.  Busyness of trying to manage a home, repair a marriage, lose weight, mother five children and somehow care for my soul has blinded me to the reality of my life.

Through Celebrate Recovery I’ve learned to accept responsibility for my own actions, thoughts and feelings, forgive others, make amends and release control of my marriage and other relationships to Christ’s care and control.  I’ve addressed anger, pride, selfishness and granting forgiveness.  I admitted a food addiction and have lost over 100 pounds.  I’ve surrendered most areas of my life and learned to embrace reality in almost every corner of my heart and mind.  However, it has become boldly clear to me that I have been holding an unrealistic and impossible expectation of myself, my family and most specifically Joseph.   I’ve expended mental, emotional, physical and spiritual energy forcing myself, my marriage and all five of my children into a mold that was never meant for us.  I’ve stood in watch of the door to reality with this silent guard dog, believing somehow that one more year to mature, one more therapy, one more prayer, one more book, one more….fill in the blank and maybe Joseph would “normalize” or our family would become a bit more settled and begin to resemble the picture of the Flint family I’ve held so dear in my heart and mind.

Well folks our family is far from the one I dreamed of as a young wife and mother.  Please hear me, I’m not saying it’s a bad family or one that I want to not be a part of any longer.  It simply has become a situation where we are navigating fields of land mines instead of taking strolls through the park of peace.  My decisions based in love have also been tainted with fear and ulterior motives of self-preservation.  This exhausting way of living has taken its toll on all of us and change is our only option.  So….I’m setting myself free as I set Joseph free. Evaluations of goals, expectations and dreams are occurring and I’m lowering my expectations of people but raising them of my GOD!!!

As bleak as things seem now there is hope.  Saturday we put Joseph on a train accompanied by my father leaving Everett, WA and headed to Greenville, SC. Joseph will be on an extended vacation to NC so we all can take a deep breath and figure out a game plan.  This is such an emotional time for us all.  Yet there has been hope, peace and rest even in the few days since Joseph’s departure.  One of the things that has brought me the most joy is hearing the peace and complete contentment in Joseph’s voice as we speak on the phone.  He and my father will be leaving Chicago later today and headed to Washington, D.C.  Yet coexisting with this peace and rest is a deep, deep sorrow.  On Sunday I was a wreck at church especially as Nathan and I sang “His Eye is on the Sparrow”.  I’ve cried so many tears in the last few weeks.  I’ve been dizzy and kept a headache.  My belly hasn’t been happy with me and my weight is yo-yoing again.  So joy and sorrow meet in one place….I must learn to allow this symbiotic partnership to reside within my heart and learn to find serenity in the midst of change.  God gave us a wonderful gift on Sat.  At the train station there was this beautiful rainbow over the train as Joseph and dad boarded.  I took it as a promise that He is aware of our situation, that I can trust Him to remember us, and that this storm is guiding us to a harbor of safety.  Here’s our rainbow….


This kind of hope and peace is ultimately possible because of another place where joy and sorrow met and walked hand in hand.  Where might that be???  The cross, the foot of Calvary, where Jesus made a way for my sin to be covered and redeemed by grace.  A song that I have been listening repeatedly during this Lenten season (by the way we still have 11 days until “Holy Week”).  is “Where Joy and Sorrow Meet” recorded by Avalon.  Here are the lyrics.  It means more to me now than ever.

Where Joy and Sorrow Meet

There’s a place of quiet stillness ‘tween the light and shadows reach
Where the hurting and the hopeless seek everlasting peace
Words of men and songs of angels whisper comfort bittersweet
Mending grief and life eternal where joy and sorrow meet

There is a place where hope remains
In crowns of thorns and crimson stains
And tears that fall on Jesus’ feet
Where joy and sorrow meet

There’s a place the lost surrender and the weary will retreat
Full of grace and mercy tender in times of unbelief
For the wounded there is healing, strength is given to the weak
Broken hearts find love redeeming where joy and sorrow meet

There is a place where hope remains
In crowns of thorns and crimson stains
And tears that fall on Jesus’ feet
Where joy and sorrow meet

There’s a place of thirst and hunger where the roots of faith grow deep
And there is rain and rolling thunder when the road is rough and steep
There is hope in desperation there is victory in defeat
At the cross of restoration where joy and sorrow meet

There is a place where hope remains
In crowns of thorns and crimson stains
And tears that fall on Jesus’ feet
Where joy and sorrow meet



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A woman on a journey. I'm blessed to be a wife to a gentle, hard-working man and mother to five unique, amazing and very busy children. Learning to live a full life, and dream again. Resting in reality and finding my beautiful.

8 thoughts on “Where Joy and Sorrow Meet”

  1. Love the Flints! This is beautiful friend. Thanks for sharing. I pray for you all daily, sometimes multiple times. ——-Tim

  2. This year, for the first time in years, I was unable to attend an Ash Wednesday service. It sets the tone for the Lenten season, perfectly, but this year, by Tuesday, the day before the service, I was “flat on my back,” suffering from Sciatica. Until a few days ago, I was not even able to stand upright and NEVER in my 73 years, have I experienced such physical pain. Focus on anything else was almost an impossibility, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. At other difficult times in my life, I’ve always found coping mechanisms that, “helped me get through it all,” but not this time. In the midst of it all, I was sure that all would not be lost, if I, minimally, could offering up my suffering to God. It, at best, was a lame attempt and frustrated me even more, to fail. Most of the hours of day and night, were spent moaning or crying, also a new experience for me. I am presently, “beginning to see a light at the end of the tunnel” and do not believe that things are totally hopeless, although there is the thought (fear) that the torture, might, swoop down upon me, again, meaning to disable me. It certainly is a problem, too, that others are affected by what is happening to me. It has pointed me toward believing that I am guilty of tempting others to loose their peace and joy. Self-centered, too, comes to mind. As I read the above post (Celebrate Recovery, Change, Hope, Lent) and the words from the song, Joy and Sorrow Mingled Down, it inspires me to re-evaluate my thinking, in areas that I would not have thought of doing, otherwise. I don’t like the thought that I am smug in my thinking, but I need to take a look at that, too. After all, I believe that Lent is meant to help us reflect and open ourselves up in areas of our lives that we haven’t considered before and to allow positive changes to take place. Thank you Jannelle for your honesty and willingness to share from your heart. It may seem trite, but the words from the Gaither’s song, “Something beautiful, something good. All my confusion, he understood. All I had to offer him was brokeness and strife, but He made something beautiful of my life,” is playing in my head. Kitty Lou Kimmel

    1. Oh KittyLou I love you dearly and miss your sweet smile, your gentle spirit and wise words. I’m so glad that we can find a way to stay in touch. Praying for continued healing for you during this time of pain. May we continue to allow God to use our pain to make us “Something Beautiful”.

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