Happy birthday, Dad!

What would I say if my dad were standing before me?

Many things have happened since you went to heaven nearly two years ago. The ups and downs. The good and bad and somewhere in between. I would have shared everything with you. You would have laughed and cried. You would have rejoiced. And other things would have saddened you, as they have us.

But I have seen God’s hand.

During the difficulties I have seen Him working His perfect plan for our lives. I have seen His faithfulness and steadfast love. Answers have come in the stillness of the night. Ways have been made when there was none. Truth has been our footing when all hope seemed lost.

God has seen us through it all.

That’s what you wanted for us, to see God through it. To see His goodness and grace. To not run from Him. To not be bitter.

Sometimes it’s hard, though. I have accused God of being unfair. Sometimes it feels as if I’m standing out in a downpour with no roof to run. I raise my skimpy umbrella only to see the panels have all been torn. I stand helpless, drenched and questioning God’s reasons.

But then my mind drifts back to the hospital when you asked us not blame God.

And the only cure for bitterness is thankfulness. To see the blessings even at their smallest.

I’m thankful for a God who gave His Son for me. A God who doesn’t give up on me. A God who still has a plan for me. A God who has prepared a place for me. A God who loves me. A God who may have taken you from our presence but placed you in His.

I’m thankful for what He’s given me. The grace for each moment. The air for each breath. A bed for every night. A kiss from my husband. A cry or giggle from each child. A hug from my mom. An engine that starts. A sunrise each morning. Food for my plate.

My dad—who had “everything taken from him”—wanted us not to be bitter at God.

And so, on your second heavenly birthday, I want you to know, I remember. I’m trying to keep my eyes on God no matter how difficult the journey. I’m trying to see the blessings, big or small. To not allow bitterness to steal my joy, cloud my judgment or discourage my hope.

Even today—on your birthday—as I have another test done to confirm what the doctors already know…Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me, let me be singing when the evening comes. Bless the Lord, O my soul. (Bless the Lord, O My Soul/10,000 Reasons)

Happy heavenly birthday, dad! I love you and I still miss you.

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