Monday, September 17, 2012

You Are My Sunshine

All is well! I feel bad that I left you with an ER visit and then didn't tell you that I'm OK now. I had a complication after my surgery, but it's passed and I'm fine now. I appreciate all of your prayers!

Moving on...

I like to sing to my daughter. She loves it. She smiles and wiggles around, and she just can't get enough of it. My favorite song to sing to her is "You Are My Sunshine." I'm sure you've heard it:

You are my sunshine!
My only sunshine!
You make me happy
When skies are gray.
You'll never know, dear,
How much I love you.
Please don't take my sunshine away.

Isn't that sweet? Fun fact: it's Louisiana's state song. Sure beats whatever Indiana's is. "My Indiana Home," maybe? A song about "moonlight on the Wabash" is not quite as catchy as "You Are My Sunshine." What a happy song! What an uplifting song!

Well, you're wrong about that. Ever hear the second verse?

The other night, dear,
As I lay sleeping,
I dreamed I held you in my arms,
But when I woke, dear,
I was mistaken,
And I hung my head and I cried.

Oh. Well. Not quite so sunshiney, huh? I sing that verse, too. That's actually why I started singing "You Are My Sunshine" while I was pregnant. I really wanted my daughter to arrive, so I sang the verse about her not being here and how sad it made me. It's a truly depressing verse, so I'm not sure what compelled me to sing it to my belly. Hopefully it didn't depress my girl in utero. She's pretty smiley, so it doesn't seem to have fazed her.

Sometimes we like to focus on the happy things in life and ignore the less "sunshiney" parts. While I wouldn't encourage anyone to be a Debbie Downer all the time (which I was for the duration of my pregnancy—sorry!), you can't ignore the things you don't like about life.

Sometimes life is awful. Sometimes you suffer. Sometimes bad things happen. Sometimes you can't be sunny. Sometimes you have to admit there's a second verse where you feel like crying.

And that's OK.

Sorrow is better than laughter, for by sadness of face the heart is made glad. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth. - Ecclesiastes 7:2-4

When we experience sadness or trials, we grow. We learn. We become wiser. Jesus cried when things got rough. Jesus was scared. Jesus asked for his circumstances to change. That was the human part of him, so how much more would we, at 100% human, feel such things? The Psalms show every range of emotion—anger, sadness, happiness, and everything in between. We can bring all of those things to God. He wants to hear them. He wants to know our hearts.

Sometimes we as Christians feel like we have to put on a happy face and make people think things are fine when they're not. I used to be like that all the time; I used it as a shield. We've got to stop doing that. We're doing ourselves and the people around us a disservice. It makes people feel lousy when they're struggling and someone else seems to just dance through life with nothing bothering them. Yes, we have the joy of the Lord, but even the Lord knows life is going to be rough. He can carry our burdens. He can bring us peace. But there's a time to cry or a time to mourn (check Ecclesiastes 3). We're allowed that time.

But check I Peter 4:12-13:

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.

Cry. Be upset. Pour your heart out to someone (especially to God). But then watch for God's glory to be revealed through your suffering. Will it make the suffering go away? Nope. But it may help you understand it a little bit better, and that will bring the wisdom.

Do you allow yourself to cry and grieve, or do you feel like you always have to have a cheerful front?


  1. I cry. I grieve. When my parents were both diagnosed with cancer and went through treatments at the same time, I struggled to find the sunshine. But God was faithful.. He was always there. Even when I didn't "feel" Him, or when I doubted.
    I am thankful you are writing again. Blessings!

    Makes me think of Laura Story's song... Blessings.

    1. Thanks, Kelli! I'm trying. :) I'm glad you brought up God's faithfulness. Just because the sun's behind a cloud doesn't mean it's not there. And just because God feels far from us doesn't mean HE'S not there.

  2. Good word today, girl! Completely with you, too! I for one understand such unhappy times, for I've lived many of them through PPD myself...and still at times with just bouts of depression. The one thing that gets me through those moments? Simply knowing God is God...and I am not. That is enough to keep me going even when I don't feel like going at all. I'd rather walk around with every bit of emotion on my face and keep plugging through, rather than putting on a mask and making like everything is alright - when truly, moments in life reveal they aren't. No one can relate to the latter - because it looks too far fetched to achieve ourselves when we don't feel so sunshiny.

    By the way, this is the very song I sing to my buddy as well - and have since he was born. He is my light God gave me to me to remind me that there is light in the darkness and dark moments of life. He is my little lighthouse to help me remember that even in despondent moments, light is still there - I just need to look for it when the darkness becomes too thick. Hence why I sing this song to him. :)

    1. I love that God is never caught off-guard by things that happen. Gives me hope and stability when it feels like there isn't any to be had!

  3. These are wise words. I do grieve and cry at times, but have lots to laugh and smile about, thank you Jesus.

    1. Yes! I really try to run through a list in my head of the things that are great about life at any given moment. I try not to resort to, "Well, it would be worse if..." Because I'm also talented at that list. Talk about ways to make things worse! Blecch.

  4. Great post, Rachel. AND welcome back--we have missed you dear. So glad you are feeling better after your surgery and all the "excitement" afterwards. Looking forward to seeing you posting again.

  5. Welcome back! It's good to see you.

  6. You are my sunshine was my dad's and my song. He sang it to me when I was young, and I sang it to him at his bedside until the day he died.

    I used to be a verse one girl. I pretended through deep depression, through serious marriage crisis, through shaky finances, and anything else that was hard. I had a pat answer for everything. I bet I grossed people out! :)

    I'm real more masks means that sunshine gets to hit my face! Love you, girl! Good, good words.

    1. I feel you, Lee. You still seem like a sunshiney person, though---not in a bad one! In an everyone's cheerleader kind of way. :)

  7. Rachel! I am so glad to meet you from the She Facebooks page. I am glad that you shared this post there. I have also gone through PPD, and I find that the most difficult thing about depression is that you are barely able to identify it as that when you are in its midst. It must be the lack of mental clarity. I have been seeing a counselor for several years & even recently begun taking medication for depression/anxiety, and I am so thankful for these avenues of help! I think the most amazing thing is that when we are open about our struggles instead of pretending we don't have any, we are able to encourage others & we also open ourselves up to others' encouragement, too. The mutual friendship & love we find when we are REAL is stunning. I'm so thankful that you have opened up & shared here, and I pray for grace & peace for you even in the face of gloom. Blessings, friend! So good to meet you!

    1. Thanks so much, Jen! Good to meet you, too. We can definitely use what we've learned through our struggles to help others. Just one more way the wisdom that comes from trials is so awesome! If only we didn't have to go through the trials to get it, right? :)


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