I remember the phone call just like it was yesterday. I was joyfully pregnant with our second child and busy with our about to be two year-old daughter. These were busy, tiring and beautiful days.
It was just after midnight. The phone rang and after the hello, my parent’s neighbor Sam asked immediately to speak with my husband Monty. It struck me as odd but I handed the phone to him. As I watched Monty’s face, I knew in my spirit that my daddy was gone.
Monty held me and whispered the most painful news that I had ever known. The wave of emotion took my breath. I fell to my knees and was just sure that my heart would stop beating. Nooooooo……. I willed myself to breathe.
The details were cut and dry. Simple. He went to sleep and never woke up. Later his autopsy would tell that the artery on the backside of his heart exploded. The widow-maker artery. There was nothing that could have been done even if there had been a doctor right beside of him.
There was no consolation in that. It was just simply the facts surrounding his early and unexpected death. My father Morrison was forty-two years old. My life then and even now still knows and aches with the pain of losing him.
I had no idea that this journey toward healing would lead me to run straight into the arms of my Heavenly Father. In brokenness and grief, I learned more about faith, trusting and resting in the comfort that can only come from God. In the days ahead, all that I knew how to do was to hold on tight and be held by the power that was greater than it all.
I learned soon that the process of grieving would not happen overnight. It would happen in phases. Everything that I had learned about God to date immediately came into question. My not so welcomed journey toward healing and peace was paved with hard places, tears and grace. For the first time in my life I learned what it meant to be held by God and to be surrounded by His faithfulness.
I am not sure what pain your heart may carry today. But the following are some of the words that carried this small heart, brought me back to life and helped me learn to breathe again.
Jesus knows the pain we are going through and He cares.
In 1985, encouraged me to dive even deeper into God’s Word. The truth is, I did so out of obedience. Nothing made sense but I longed and needed to know Him more. The washing of the water of the Word was my rescuer’s beginning work of transformation not just an sure and steadfast God but my Heavenly Father and loving God!
During the blur of dark days, there was no greater comfort than that of the Lord. To be held in His arms of love led me safely and renewed my hope.
Our strength comes from the Lord and the Lord alone. There were some days filled with unreasonable fear and the discouragement was a heavy weight that my body became accustomed to carrying. Yet there were days where the light I glimpsed in the distance lifted my gaze. For tomorrow’s bright hope, I fought hard to remain fully there. When I face hard things and feel God’s palpable hold, I am taken back to where my spirit’s strength was forged in fire.
Healing starts where pain, grieving and loss begin. In the deafening silence, there are whispers. God is faithful to draw our lives in the midst of real-life, to honest, yet peaceable places until the promised reuniting with those we have loved so well and miss so very much.
I can honestly say that the healing came only in complete surrender.
For every day that was lost to just making it though the necessary moments, God would restore and in the midst of that transforming power I learned to receive grace.
In learning to receive grace, I can now give grace more freely because it is the pure and true grace of God that I have known so deep in my heart and soul.
The real truth is, I no longer need to understand, explain it nor feel robbed. I can rejoice in the Lord’s redeeming work in my life. Today I was compelled to share because so many people that I know and love are broken, hurting, grieving, suffering, longing, waiting and feeling isolated and alone.
These things I know at this day’s end, that no matter our pain, our Lord Jesus is enough. I am also very well aware that someone telling you HOW you should feel or respond does no good and just alienates you even more from the pathway to healing. In this world we WILL know pain and suffering.
So what is the answer when you wonder if you will ever feel again? Laugh again? Believe again? Breathe again?
Find another heart who will listen. Reach out to me because the pain is real and I want to hold your hand, walk alongside of you and find you the support that your heart needs. More than anything it is imperative for you to know that your feelings are fair, platitudes just make you mad and the God who loves and created you is the strength behind the very air when you feel you cannot breathe.
And the suffering for “a little while” (OK so that “little while” ‘may fully feel like forever right now)….. and that is ok!
The grief. The pain. The heartache. The loss. The fear. The doubt.
Not one of those emotions will ever go away nor should we wish that they would but instead their reseidence in our spirits will continue to mold, direct and shape us until we see Jesus face to face. For today and for compassions sake, we are attentive and wait to move until we feel that tug from the Holy Spirit to step toward another life and speak words of hope as one who knows, understands and God has woven His best through their very own valley of the shadow of death.
Restore. Support. Strengthen. Place you on a firm foundation.
Defining moments change us from the inside out and in His sovereignty God wants the very best for His beloved. We trust God, faithfully surrender and release every transforming moment back to the Lord as our gift.
Through it all, He remains constant with gracious direction that sings over us as we become the beautiful grace-givers that He has perfectly guided and shaped for the love and care of others.
David knew this very well. We camp here and raise our hands and voices in worship.
Goodness. Unfailing Love. Forever.
A psalm of David.
“The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths bringing honor to his name. Even when I walk through the darkest valley I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.
You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.”