Lenten Devotion, Tuesday, March 2, 2021: By Courtney Cox Smith

Published March 2, 2021 by SMBC


Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Healing through Love, Light, and Joy
By Courtney Cox Smith

On January 1, 2020, I awoke filled with hope and anticipation for a new year. As the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, my sense of wonder and hope was quickly overshadowed by stress and fear. While 2020 brought many challenges for me, it was also a time of emerging from a season of my life fraught with pain, darkness, loss, and grief?a year of healing. In one decade, I experienced the loss of my first baby to stillbirth, lived through the addiction of a family member, struggled through the loss of my marriage and the resulting divorce, and found myself starting over at forty. There were many dark days and nights for my soul. Some days, the simple act of breathing seemed impossibly hard. Other days, I was overcome with worry, anxiety, and exhaustion. Grief was a constant companion, and each new day became a lesson in living life alongside grief.

As I reflect on my experiences, I see now my greatest source of healing was and continues to be the love, light, and joy of God. It is a love that pursued me in the darkest places; a love that will not let me go. It is a light that warms me from within and carries me through, providing comfort and hope. It is a joy that reminds me that life, even with all of its pain and heartbreak, is truly beautiful and extraordinary.

I have learned that God's love takes many forms: cherished friendships, loving family, warm meals, inspiring words, snuggles from my child, the comfort and hope of prayer, the encouragement and wisdom of therapy, the respite of quiet moments, the wonder and beauty of nature, the release of laughter, and the solidarity of community and connection. God's light also heals through the warmth of the sun on a spring day, the first smile after a good cry, the sparkle of my child's eyes, and the kindness of strangers. And joy, which seems most elusive in the face of grief, seeks out our broken spirits and fills our hearts with gratitude, meaning, and the hope to carry on.

One of the most significant ways I have experienced healing is through music. Music is the convergence of God's love, light, and joy. Time and time again, I have found the words of the hymn ?O Love, That Wilt Not Let Me Go? flowing through my heart and mind. They so beautifully capture the experience of grief and God's healing power.

O Love, that wilt not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in Thee;
I give Thee back the life I owe,
That in Thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.

O Light, that followest all my way,
I yield my flickering torch to Thee;
My heart restores its borrowed ray,
That in Thy sunshine's blaze its day
May brighter, fairer be.

O Joy, that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to Thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain
That morn shall tearless be.

-George Matheson

As I move forward through healing, I am grateful God's love pursued my broken heart and held it tight. Wherever you are on life's journey, as you search for healing, I pray God's love pursues you, that God's light shines brightly through you, and that God's joy finds a home in your heart.

About the Author
Courtney Cox Smith has been a member of South Main since 2014. She is an active member of the Music Ministry, singing in the Sanctuary and Chamber Choirs and ringing handbells in the South Main Bronze. Courtney is a member of the Journey Sunday School community and mother to Wyatt, 4.