Sometimes I am amazed by the story of my life. I would have written it very differently if I was the author, but I’m really grateful for the fact that I am not because I would have missed out on some life defining things.
Can I be really honest and transparent? (Since you can’t answer I’m going to go ahead and do it… But if you don’t want to know… Don’t keep reading.)
I really miss my dad. Most of you see the “strong” side of that, or the “laugh at life and make awkward jokes about it” side (sorry… I know that’s weird). And that’s real. But that’s not all there is. Often there are tears. Usually in private. In one of those private teary moments I recently said to God, “I’ve been okay for four and a half years. I did life without him… I learned things… lots of things… But I am tired and I don’t want to do it anymore. Can I please have him back now?” Silly. I know.
The day after he died, I sent an email to all my friends and family. I started it off with this verse:
“Count it all joy my brothers when you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” ~ James 1:2-4
It’s one of my all time favorite verses. It has been for most of my life… because my life has never been easy. Towards the end of that email I told everyone:
I’m doing okay… hopefully you can tell by now that I’m about as good as you can be in these circumstances. I miss him… I miss him a lot. And I will miss him everyday of my life but I will rejoice that He is in Heaven… painless!!!! I will always count it a joy and I am grateful for this opportunity for growth… as my verse in James says the testing of my faith develops perseverance. God apparently wants me to be VERY persevering because these tests come into my life a lot! As I choose joy my sadness doesn’t disappear… but it sure gets a lot easier to deal with.
Sigh… I will miss him everyday of my life… It’s true. That’s the weird thing about grief. It doesn’t ever go away. It doesn’t ever get easier to deal with. Sure, it changes over time and you change with it over time. You get used to the fact that grief is a part of your life. But it’s still grief.
Back to the part about being amazed by my story… This will sound strange, especially after all I’ve just said… But honestly, I’m so grateful that I lost my dad when I did. I feel like God selected me for a very special privilege and gift. I can’t even begin to tell you how much my faith has grown through this trial… It hurts like crazy, but there is no doubting that I am much more mature and complete because of it and I wouldn’t trade that for the world. And the fact that the grief never goes away means the growing never stops.
A girl I went to the Amazon with this past November lost her dad on Friday. I’ve been thinking about what I should say to her. I wish I could tell her that it’ll get easier, but that’s just not true. What is true is that God is sovereign. I can tell her to cling to her Heavenly Father like never before and to watch Him mold her through the pain. I can tell her that when we offer Him our hurts, He will use them to make us more beautiful. I can tell her that though there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about my dad 20 times and though there are moments that I don’t want to live without him anymore… I KNOW that this is a part of who God made me to be and I consider even those feelings of grief to be a gift from Him. And I can tell her that I have never loved my Heavenly Father more than I have learned to in the absence of my earthly father. And that is beautiful.
And now I need a kleenex.
Hey, will you do me a favor? … Call your dad and if you live close, go give him a hug… I can’t tell you how much I would love to do that tonight.
I miss him.