Joy Comes in the Mourning (Guest Blog Post: Jonathan Frejuste)

No one can escape the impact of loss.

The loss of someone who passes away, the loss of a friend through betrayal, the loss of health through illness, the loss of a marriage through a divorce, the loss of routines and stability due to a job loss or moving to a new country, the loss of innocence through abuse, the loss of the dream family through miscarriage, or the loss of a dream of a career. However big or small, everyone will go through loss in life.

The question is how do we deal with loss and its accompanying pain. The way to deal with loss is through grieving. Grieving is not limited to tears. The grieving process could be through artistic expression, journaling, or helping someone else in the area of your loss. Grieving is any way of getting the pain that’s inside out to the surface. Jesus said blessed are those who mourn (get the pain of what’s inside out), for they will be comforted. (Matthew 5:4)

Personally, I know what it’s like to face loss – specifically the loss of innocence through sexual abuse at a young age. Through this loss, my life became consumed by fear – the fear of never being able to trust anyone, the fear of never being able to be mentally or emotionally stable enough to pursue the dreams that God placed on my heart, the fear that I was gay because of what happened to me as a child. Like many people, the pain of loss was so great that I suppressed it for many years and put on a happy Christian veneer to avoid the pain that I felt. After a number of emotional breakdowns, I knew it was time to come clean and stop lying about what I was going through. Fortunately, God placed a great support system around me who helped me find my way to a competent Christian counselor to begin to deal with the pain of the loss of innocence at such a young age. The first few steps were acknowledging the loss and starting the grieving process. Here’s what I learned in the process.

Each time we don’t grieve losses, 2 things happen:

  1. We begin to compartmentalize our lives where we walk around with a false optimism, pretending that everything’s okay. But the reality is that there is unresolved grief and if it’s not grieved fully, we are tempted to use unhealthy coping mechanisms like hiding/denial, minimizing, rationalizing, distracting, avoiding, addiction, becoming hostile or other unhealthy ways of not facing the pain.

While everyone thought all was well with Jon because I was accomplished – graduating with honors, getting my CPA license, working for a reputable company, etc., I dealt with secret addictions and emotional and mental battles that most people couldn’t believe. At different points, I also had bouts of anger that lead to disrespectful confrontations and misunderstandings and when I suppressed the anger, it led to depression. These issues kept me from having healthy relationships, walking in God’s perfect will, and were robbing me of the fullness of the destiny that God has for me. Once I understood what was occurring, I concluded that unresolved pain is like a beach ball pushed underwater – it will always find its way to the surface. In what ways are your unresolved issues showing up in your life?

  1. The 2nd thing that happens is that our hearts become hardened to avoid getting hurt again. Proverbs 13:12 says that a dream deferred makes the heart sick and when we experience loss, to keep the heart from getting sick again, we stop pursuing our dreams or even worse, stop dreaming. Grieving gives us the freedom and permission to risk again and set big goals for God. For close to a decade, I’ve worked in the corporate world, but I’ve always wanted to be a teacher. In the last few years, the Lord has placed a burden on my heart to work with young men from the inner city. Through a series of circumstances, I started working as a resident advisor in a transitional living facility aka group home teaching life skills to young men who have been temporarily displaced from their homes due to issues of abuse, a parent’s drug addiction, or a parent’s incarceration. Unbeknownst to me at the time, the pain that these young men faced would be similar to what I’ve known. Had I not grieved the pain of my past, I would not have emotional capacity to deal with the serious issues that came with the position, let alone possess the heart and empathy to walk them through their own pain in a healthy way. As bible teacher Geri Scazzero says in her book, I Quit, I could enter the pain of others because I’ve entered my own.

In life, there will always be grief because there will always be loss. We cannot choose our emotions selectively – to be happy and never to be sad. Let’s not neglect the benefit of grieving and embracing sorrow. As Ecclesiastes 7:3 says, a sad face is good for the heart. In a weird way, grieving pain leads to greater empathy and compassion for others, a better perspective of what really matters in life, and a restoration of the peace and joy of knowing that what God is doing is best. I’ve learned and continue to be reminded that joy truly comes in the mourning. What losses and pain have you yet to fully grieve and let God’s divine healing meet?

Jonathan Frejuste


Jonathan Frejuste was born and raised in Newark, NJ. He went to Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia where he was saved at the age of 19. Though he has been saved for 10 years, God has taken him through a painful sanctification process which is what lead him to learn more about emotional health and how vital it is to one’s walk with God. He is currently serving as a life group leader at New Life Fellowship Church in Queens, NY and is committed to giving people who have been broken by sin a safe place to heal and provide them with the encouragement and resources to pursue their destiny in God.

Connect with Jon via LinkedIn:


Watch Jon’s Story here “The Story of New Life”: 


Bittersweet: The Intersection of Joy and Pain


Public Voice of Joy: “I’m so happy for you!!”

Private Voice of Pain: “Lord, did you forget about me?”

Public Voice of Joy: “Look at God opening doors for you!”

Private Voice of Pain: “Yeah..while He is closing doors on me!”

Public Voice of Joy: “God is answering your prayers! Praise God!”

Private Voice of Pain: “Did God even hear my cry last night?”

Have you ever had the voices of joy and pain collide? This collision is the internal intersection of being genuinely happy and grievously sad at the same time. How in the world could you be happy for someone’s blessing and at the same time, question if you’ve been forgotten? You’ll often hear “It’s their season — yours is coming!” or “If God can do it for them, He can do it for you!”. If by any chance you cannot fully embrace these catch phrases, watch out! You may be charged with the villainous term that has seem to catch fire in our culture today: YOU’RE A HATER! 

Despite the accusations or the title we desperately try to run from, here’s the truth: We all have dealt with the intersection of joy and pain called BITTERSWEET. This intersection causes you to pause with joy for how God works in the lives of those around you. But, this intersection also wrestles with the feeling of insignificance, doubt, worry and the nagging feeling of being forgotten. The very thing you’re praying about someone else may receive (and at times, without praying for it). What do you do? 

1. ACKNOWLEDGE Your Stop At the Bittersweet Intersection

Too often, we deny our feelings of being happy for someone and being disappointed about our state of affairs. How could we ever feel that way (we might ask ourselves)? You’re supposed to be mature and rise above it all. How could be so self-centered and selfish? Before cracking down too hard on yourself, the acknowledgment of being disappointed about where you are or what you have is real. Yes, thank God for what He’s provided. But, it doesn’t mean that you are satisfied. The best course of action is to at least acknowledge that your feelings are legitimate. The denial causes greater harm than good.

2. CHOOSE To Follow Sweet Over Bitter

After your acknowledgment of these dual feelings, it’s time to make a choice. Will I wallow in what hasn’t come in my life or will I celebrate what has come in the lives of others? When you genuinely celebrate God’s favor in someone’s life, you are celebrating God! You are acknowledging who He is and His ability to turn situations around. It’s not just about the person — God is watching how you praise Him. Will you be mad or angry because what you prayed for didn’t come your way? Or will you worship God because you had the opportunity to see how He blesses in real time? It’s a choice we all have to make.

I want to encourage you to choose sweet over bitter. The “sweet” road leads you to celebrate others, cast off the victim mentality and gives you a freedom from the burden of despair. But, let me warn you — it will not feel good at first. Our human nature desperately wants to gratify our own desires. Philippians 2:4 tells us:

“Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.” (NLT)

When you take the “sweet” road, it drains the frustration of unmet desires and focuses on the sovereignty of God’s timing. It draws your attention on the greater things God is doing around you and the character He is forming in you. It takes a mature person to choose sweet over bitter. It is common to be bitter. Reject the common — be unique. Find joy in another’s blessing!

3. RESIST The Temptation To Compare

The dialogue between the voice of joy and the voice of pain will typically land in the area of comparison. This territory is dangerous because it is comparing your unique story to someone else’s story. It’s considering timelines, scope, and benefits. It doesn’t even fully consider the private struggles, issues and pressure that comes along with blessing. Although the temptation is great to question God of why it appears like He has forgotten you, consider that He always remembers and knows you well (even more than you know you). Could it be that what you’re praying for is not bad but not good right now? Could it be that what you think is a blessing could turn out to be a curse that you cannot bear? Could it be that what appears good on the outside has the potential to drain your life on the inside?

Rising above the temptation to compare aids in your pursuit of genuinely thanking God for others, their provisions and God’s plan for their life. In turn, your response to another’s blessing is the precursor to the blessed responses you will receive when your request is granted.

We live in a time when some people feed off of others hate and jealousy. They find strength in another’s weakness. They take great pleasure in another’s demise in the midst of their success. It’s tragic and shameful. But, you don’t have to contribute to this destructive pattern. Celebrate the Giver of all good things and who He gives it to! Acknowledge where you are, choose the “sweet” road over the bitter one, and on your journey, resist the temptation to compare what you have to another. You will discover a life rich with promise of what’s to come and joy for what has already been done!

Let’s pray for one another that we can love and support each other on this journey of faith. – RF