The Sun Still Rises and Sets

15541999_10155565856188989_5118209550989203878_nAs I was driving home one evening, I watched a beautiful, peaceful sunset.

Day after day the clouds may cover the sunrises and sunsets making their appearance impossible. But they still exist. As we look up into the sky – only seeing thick gray clouds – we falsely describe what we see as the sun is simply not shining that day. But if you board a plane and watch as its nose begins to break through the lowest layer of clouds, what do you see? The sun. The sun continues to shine whether our eyes behold it or not. Through clouds, through rain and snow, through strong winds – even in the darkness – the sun still shines. Continue reading “The Sun Still Rises and Sets”

A Gentle Hand

When troubles threaten me, where do I run? Who is my comfort? What is my security? What calms me? Where do I go to seek answers?

In most situations, I run to everyone and everything else. I told my son recently: “If you have a problem you come and tell me. Don’t take it into your own hands.” How very true for us as God’s children.  How often do we tell someone else first – and especially take it into our own hands – rather than laying it down at Jesus’ feet and trusting Him?

More times than not, I search and search for answers to my questions.  I flood everyone with my inquiries and Google’s search field begins to buckle under too much pressure. Finally – after exhausting every other resource – I reluctantly present it to the Lord; not in dependency as it should be, but out of desperation. To my surprise what I get isn’t necessarily the answers I seek, but something else. Continue reading “A Gentle Hand”

I Surrender All

Can you imagine the last hymn you sing in church is I Surrender All?

All to Jesus I surrender; Humbly at His feet I bow.
Worldly pleasures all forsaken; Take me, Jesus, take me now.
All to Jesus I surrender; Lord, I give myself to Thee.
Fill me with Thy love and power; Let Thy blessing fall on me.
All to Thee, my blessed Savior – I surrender all.

Can you imagine this being put to the test in the next – and last – thirty days of your life? Continue reading “I Surrender All”

The Waiting Period

Waiting is a huge part of our lives. We spend days, weeks, and sometimes years waiting. Whether the wait is for a marriage partner, healing, a job, a house, a baby, a test result or an answer, waiting is tough. Waiting itself can be a struggle.

Lamentations 3:25-26
The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.

Have you ever noticed it seems to take forever when you stand by the stove to wait for a pot to boil?  All your time and focus is put into watching for the slightest hint of a bubble. Time seems to slip into slow motion. But if you walk away, all the sudden you hear the water roaring and whirling. What happened?  Your focus shifted.  No longer were the seconds sluggishly ticking. You focused on something else and when you looked back you realized how quickly and easily it seemed to boil. Continue reading “The Waiting Period”

Birthday Letter

Today would have been my dad’s 66th birthday. Instead, it’s his first birthday in heaven, even though we are the only ones who see it that way as birthdays are earthly celebrations.

Last year I didn’t talk to my dad. First ever. Not because I didn’t think of him – I did throughout the whole day – and not because I didn’t want to call him. He worked all day and I had a rather eventful day.  Before I knew it, the day was over. (I did call him the next morning at least.)  But his last birthday I didn’t even wish him a happy day, or tell him how much I loved and appreciated him. It does bother me.

Standing on this side of the fence, let me encourage you: Don’t choose not to call someone. Don’t put off the phone call or the time spent with your loved one. You never know when it’s your last phone call, their last birthday, last holiday or simply your last day with them.

If I could talk to my dad today, what would I say? The first things that come to mind seem so generic and almost redundant. “Dad, I love you more than you’ll ever know. I miss you so much.” And I quickly add in a whisper, “Please come back!”

But what I’d like to ask is: Continue reading “Birthday Letter”

Looking Ahead

On April 20, 2017, I will be able to check off a completed first year of grief.

If there was a scoreboard, I would have totally lost this fight. Grief won substantially.

I cannot believe it will be a year!  It does not seem possible.  The month he was in the hospital seemed to drag as we hung on each day’s development.

With the first year soon to tuck under my belt, society tells me this clearly signifies the end of a period. Because – as with all things – it dictates a time constraint.  As I seamlessly slip into the beginning of the second year without my dad, I should be beyond the heartache and beyond the sadness. Although those moments certainly do exist, I am nowhere near being past all the pain. Acquaintances can quickly transition into the acceptance and peace stage of one’s death, but those of us who were closely touched by a life cannot so easily dismiss the loss. Their forever absence leaves an empty hole that can never again be filled.

I appreciate my memories so much more as I’m beginning to realize how vulnerable they are. Right now, I still remember everything about him because they are still fresh, but in time I fear they will start to fade into a distant foggy recollection where they will remain. Harder and harder they will be to pull into my conscious mind. The memories are waiting only for time to send them away until they are but a dream. The sound of his voice, the one-of-a-kind bear hugs, his always-biblical and didn’t-beat-around-the-bush advice, his laugh, the love only a daddy can give, and if I’m honest, even the ones from the hospital and his last days.  I cling to them all, joyful or unpleasant.

Time has allowed reality to declare I’m no longer able to talk to or see my dad.  It used to be an instinctive thought to share with him my experience or joy or problem. But I no longer expect to see him at my mom’s house or anticipate his voice on the other end of the phone.  I no longer think about calling him to talk at four in the morning as I did in years past.

The first year certainly has established a new normal; one I’m not sure I want to embrace. But I must continue on.

Even now, I don’t always allow myself to think too deeply.  He comes to mind and I just push it away.  The confirmation of this was at the doctors’ office last week.  Continue reading “Looking Ahead”