Saturday, July 13, 2013

The darkness of why, trust and finishing the good work in me

My mom heard a sermon on Easter Sunday about "walking around in the darkness of why" ... and as we talked about that message, we related to walking in that darkness.  Why did Dad get cancer? Why did a surgery that was presented in such a hopeful manner somehow go terribly wrong?  Why didn't the Lord heal Dad in his physical body?  Why did He allow Dad's death to pass through His hands?  Why did the Lord see fit to set us on this journey?  See what I mean?  The darkness of why can consume us and sometimes it does just that.  It shuts out all hope and light.  When I constantly ask why, my thoughts become muddled by doubt, fear, uncertainty and faithlessness.  It becomes a matter of will versus God's will.  Is it God's will for me to walk around in the darkness of why?  No, it's not His will...He wants me to trust trust His heart even in those moments when I am unable to find His hand. He wants me to forge through my grief to my faith and not continue to rely on the faith of my father.  If my will were done, my Dad would be here...alive and well and playing with his grandchildren.  If my will were done...I wouldn't be on this journey.  It's a journey of letting go while still hanging on.  Letting go of "why" while hanging on to faith. It's a difficult place to be; a crossroads of sorts. I'm navigating through uncharted territory (uncharted for me anyway).

I find myself unable to talk with God right now...if and when I pray all I can muster is "Thank you, Lord for another day." I'm so glad that He sees beyond my grief and knows that it's a process.  There are days that I don't talk to God at all but I know that He's right there waiting for me.  He isn't rushing me through the journey.  And while I know He desires a close relationship with me and I with Him, He is willing to wait for me...for my heart to catch up.  He isn't dragging me through it kicking and screaming (although there has been, and probably will be more, kicking and screaming along the way).  He's guiding me, even when I don't see it or feel it or even think I want it.  He's placing people along my path - behind, beside and even in front to help me heal.

This I know and choose to believe, even when my flesh is not sure...I choose to believe in my soul and have confidence that The One who began a good work in me will be faithful to see it through until Christ returns. (Phil 1:6 paraphrased)

Many years ago, I sang this song and loved it; it spoke to my spirit. While Dad was in the hospital a dear long-time friend shared it with me again and one of the pastors who eulogized Dad unknowingly used paraphrased lyrics during the service.  I share it here because it speaks to my spirit in a very different way now than the first time I sang/heard it...I hope it speaks to you, too.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Faith and Loss

How do we reconcile our faith with profound loss?  How do we make sense out of something that doesn't make sense?  It seems that I'm spinning my wheels trying to find some sense in the midst of this great loss. In a sense, I guess I'm trying to figure God out...trying to catch a glimpse of His plan but it's impossible for me to see right now.  I sit here, in the middle of my grief, piling up my ashes around me thinking that somehow that will help. I'm wrestling with God...wrestling with "the plan", working my brain into a frenzy trying to figure out what's going on - what I'm supposed to do with all this emotion. Today, in this moment...I must confess that I haven't got a clue...not one inkling of an idea about the what, where and how of it all.

I know that my Dad is in Heaven.  On the one hand, I'm fully aware of his absence from his physical body but on the other hand I find it unfathomable that he is gone.  I keep thinking that somehow this has been a terrible mistake...that it was the wrong body in that ICU bed...that at any moment I'll pick up the phone and he'll be on the other end.  My mind knows he is gone from this world but my heart is having a most difficult time catching up.  I've heard it said that the heart wants what the heart heart wants my Dad, here and healthy.  I know, I know, it's selfish of me.  My profound loss is Heaven's profound tragedy is Heaven's rejoicing.  I don't mean to say that Heaven rejoices in my sorrow but that the loss which causes my great sorrow caused great rejoicing in Heaven.  I know that I know that I know that my Dad heard those wonderful words of welcome from the Heavenly Father, Well done, good and faithful servant...welcome home!"

How do I reconcile my faith with my loss... TRUST!  In the middle of the dark night of the soul...I will choose to trust Him.  Sometimes, I feel like I'm starting from scratch and more often than not I need to strip away all the trappings of religion and denomination and get back to basics...get back to the heart of the matter.  I'm not there yet but I have the desire to get learn to trust the Lord again...or maybe to trust Him fully for the first time.  I'm so glad that I serve a Saviour who is acquainted with my grief and understands my human-ness.  Who suffered in human flesh so that He could identify with my human flesh.  The Heavenly Father can absorb a lot and I'm grateful for that fact.  Right now, I seem to be somewhere between faith and my loss. There's an old pop song that comes to mind when I think of where I am in my relationship with my Saviour.  It's a song sung by The Four Seasons called "Working my Way Back to You" and the lyric that came to me just now was "I'll keep working my way back to you, babe, with a burning love inside..."  I just changed "babe" to "Lord". 

So, that's what I'll keep doing...working my way back to you Lord with a burning love inside.


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Where Do I Go From Here?

On November 21, 2012 life as I had known it came to a screeching halt. It was the day before Thanksgiving when Dad got his promotion from this first world into eternity. It was the worst day of my life and the beginning of the most difficult journey I have ever had to walk.

In some ways, I feel abandoned by God, as if He somehow slighted me. So many whys swirling around in my mind…so many unanswered questions. Questions that I know, logically, will never be answered in this life but that doesn’t make me want the answers any less. I ask myself why God heals some in this world and chooses not to heal others here on this earth. Is one life worth more to Him here and others worth more to Him in Glory? Do our prayers really move God? If He has already seen the beginning to the end…is there any altering that plan? Is it possible to pray “Thy will be done” and really mean it…I mean afterall, we are flesh and our human nature wants what we want…right? I wanted my Dad to be healed; restored to perfect health here in this life. I love him and need him…I want him here. Why didn’t he receive the healing that we prayed and believed for – healing that we trusted God to bring to fruition? I know that God could have, at any moment, raised my Dad up and brought him perfect health so that he could have continued to preach and teach the Word of God. But no healing came and I stood by the bed of my wonderful, precious earthly father as he passed from this world into eternity. Those gathered with us in those moments raised our voices in praise to the Heavenly Father that we had believed would heal this faithful servant…but no miracle came…no Lazarus moment. Where was our miracle?

On the bad days…I cry and I have a knot in the pit of my stomach that won’t go away. I feel this overwhelming desire to “fix it” knowing that it can’t be fixed…EVER. Today, right now, I feel as though this hole in my soul will remain with me until I see my Dad’s sweet million dollar smile again. On these days, which happen more often than not, I feel as though there is no laughter left…but I know this isn’t the way Dad lived and he wouldn’t want this for me. I know that his legacy is one of faith and hope…the hope of Glory in Christ Jesus.

On good days, I know that we did, in fact, receive a miracle…the miracle of my Dad’s eternal life; a life that he now lives out in the presence of the Lord that he served so faithfully for so many years. I know that he is well and happy and free. I no longer have to worry about his health and well-being because he is in perfect health. I’m sure that if they play sports in Heaven, my Dad has already got a team together in at least 2 (basketball and football). On good days, I can see God’s mercy in my Dad’s situation and the love He has for my Daddy and I can see, through tears, the love the Heavenly Father has for me through the people He allows to cross my path…those folks to help me and hold me up during this journey.

So, I get up every day and try to be the best wife and mother that I can be in the moment and hope that my children love me as much I as love my Dad. I say love rather than loved because I still love him…he isn’t here with me but my love, I believe, reaches all the way to Heaven and I know that my Dad continues to feel the love of his family and friends.

This may seem like rambling…and it may be…but I figure I have to start somewhere and this is point A for me. I hope that whatever journey you are on, that you aren’t traveling alone. I hope that you have people surrounding you, as I do, who are willing to let you walk the journey at your pace all the while holding your hand.

My journey through grief is really just beginning…I hope that somehow sharing my thoughts along the way not only help bring healing to my heart and soul but help others in whatever part of the journey they are in. It is my desire to live the kind of godly life that my Dad lived. He didn’t just tell me to live a godly life…he lived one and let me watch and I am forever grateful that I had the privilege to be Darryl’s daughter.

I miss you, Dad…every minute!