Holding Space for Conflicting Emotions

My daughter turns 14 this week. She’s my youngest, the one who thinks and acts a lot like her father but who looks so much like me. We have photos of each of us at 6 months old; we are so similar! This has continued even now; she served communion this last month, and someone in the communion line told her, “You are definitely your mother’s daughter!”

Princess Mercy, as we called her in the womb, was born two weeks early, on a Sunday morning. It was not very considerate of her, knowing that her father was the only pastor at his church at the time. They managed without a preacher that Sunday morning. She was born. We smiled. Then we agreed to no more pregnancies.

I was blessed in both of my pregnancies. Sick, but not too sick. Gained weight, but not too much weight. Cravings, but not too bad. I know that’s not the case with everyone. And yet, it was very clear to me that that would be my last pregnancy. I was miserable. It was July. I was fat and uncomfortable. I was chasing a toddler. I was not living my best life. I wanted it to be over with.

This pregnancy, this child is a great example of conflicting emotions that we can hold at the same time. I can hate being pregnant and be happy about it at the same time. I can miss the snuggly, cuddly baby times but not want to have any more. I can give away all the baby stuff with glee and then shed a tear of sadness.

Where have you felt this reality of conflicting emotions?
The mixed emotions of a loved one dying in hospice quickly. We grieve, but there’s a sense of relief that there wasn’t a lot of suffering.
The mixed emotions of a car crash where you’re glad nobody was hurt, but your beloved car is totaled.
The mixed emotions of going back to school, where you’re glad the kids are back to their routines, but you are sad you have to get up early every day (or get them up early).
The mixed emotions of a merged church or a new pastor or different music in worship.

This reality of conflicting emotions is not new to us. We see it in our Genesis passage we will read on Sunday, where Rebekah cries out to God during her pregnancy. We see it, too, as we read through the Psalms. The Psalms routinely name anger, frustration, and grief at how things are, but ultimately there is hope and trust in God.

I encourage you to embrace all the feelings that you experience. Like Rebekah and the Psalmist, may you acknowledge the depth of your emotions while also finding hope and trust in our God who gives us life and sets us free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:1-11)

See you Sunday!
Pastor Lynn



  • 8:30 a.m. Traditional service in sanctuary and child care in Rm 15
  • 10 a.m. Traditional service in sanctuary and child care in Rm 15
  • 10 a.m. Youth and children’s Sunday School and child care (except fifth Sundays)
  • 10 a.m. Livestream premieres on YouTube and Website

To access our livestream service:

  • From the main menu on our website click “Worship.”  -OR-
  • Go to YouTube and search for UMC St. Mark’s AZ or use this link.