King David’s life speaks deeply to my spirit, especially this year. I love the story of the celebration he throws after a difficult battle of confusion and grief. It has given me strength to throw one more valentine’s gala in memory of our little girl.
2 Samuel records the event. Israel’s new king was on a mission to bring the ark of God into the City of David when the parade was abruptly stopped with the sudden death of Uzzah, who had put out his hand to hold the ark because the oxen had stumbled.
Have you ever faced a tragedy that made you want to simply stop everything?
David became angry because of the Lord’s outbreak against Uzzah; and he called the name of the place Perez Uzzah to this day. David was afraid of the Lord that day and he said, “How can the ark of the Lord come to me?” So David would not move the ark of the Lord with him into the City of David; but David took it aside into the house of Obed-Edom the Gitite. 2 Sam. 6:8-10
When I first lost my daughter I was of the persuasion that I needed to stuff all I was feeling and keep going, which is why I threw my first memorial gala: I wanted to be so busy blessing others that I wouldn’t have time to dwell on my sorrow as I faced the first anniversary of Rebecca’s death. Since then I have realized how wise David was to take a little time to work through his feelings before moving on.
Emotions are not wrong; they are neutral like wind in a sail. Each of us must decide for ourselves which direction we allow the breeze to take us. David may have been angry and confused and even scared to death, but He kept his heart right. He did not concern himself with his reputation, nor did he disguise his vulnerability or confusion, he simply stopped everything and sought direction.
Difficult times arouse strong emotions, and the fiercer the wind, the more cautious we must be that our sails are set correctly, or we could quickly find ourselves shipwrecked. David was washed ashore for three months, but I don’t believe he spent that whole time in a pity party since his response to the news of Obed-Edom’s blessings was to cheerfully continue his mission. Notice that in his second attempt, he had the ark carried on the priest’s shoulders, according to God’s very specific direction given in Numbers 4 unlike the first time when he had it on a cart pulled by oxen like his enemies, the Philistines, had done when they returned the ark to God’s people during Saul’s reign.
David had misunderstood what the proper way to transport the ark was, but he was humble enough to reset his sails and try again. Funny thing is, his wife became bitter and hateful toward him for his second parade.
So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting and with the sound of the trumpet. Now as the ark of the Lord came into the City of David, Michal, Saul’s daughter, looked through a window and saw King David leaping and whirling before the Lord and she despised him in her heart. 2 Samuel 6:15, 16
David stopped everything when it was God correcting him, but he had confidence in what he was doing the second time and nothing was going to stop him from doing what he believed he should, not even his wife.
My first attempts at throwing a memorial gala may have had distorted purposes, but God was merciful with me as he was with David, and each year He has taught me many things about His desire to bring His presence to His people. Over the years there have been times when my loved ones, like Michal, have looked through the window and criticized what I wish they were down on the streets celebrating with me. It is challenging to continue doing what some people see as foolishness, but I echo David’s response to his wife, “It was before the Lord [not people]… therefore I will play music before the Lord. And I will be even more undignified than this, and will be humble in my own sight. 2 Sam 6: 21,22
I’m glad I continued my mission all these years, but now I find myself wondering if it’s time to reset the sails. I’m not sure if there will be a 14th gala or not, but one thing I know without a doubt: for the rest of my life I will continue to celebrate what God has taught me through the turbulent winds of my grief and confusion.
Catrina Welch is an image- and life-coach whose message is not as much “what not to wear” as it is, “Know Who You Are,” which is the title of her book of guidelines for your personal image identity. Catrina has also written a Bible study to help women overcome their image issues. It is titled Supreme MakeOver: a Rich and Refreshing Devotional Experience. Her other books include Footprints Through the Sand: a Consolidation of Life-altering stories about Loving and Loosing a Trisomy-18 Baby and Confident Beauty: Reflecting the One Who Made You with the Images in Your Mirror and Your Soul, which will be available soon.