It’s been over a year since my Dad passed away to be with Christ. When your parent gets up there in age, you begin to prepare yourself for that day. In spite of your best efforts, you’re never really prepared for that moment when you realize that they’re gone. No more laughter, or advice you really didn’t want. Just silence.
In the beginning everyone is so understanding with words of comfort. When days turn into weeks and weeks turn into months and years your encouragers begin to wonder sometimes out loud, Will you get over it already! They don’t mean to be cruel but I guess people’s tolerance for grief is limited. So in an effort to not be a buzz-kill, you lie when they ask you how you’re doing. You put on your best smile and fake it for as long as you can and when you can’t fake it anymore you isolate yourself. In the back of your mind you hope that someone would notice that you haven’t texted or called; that they barely see you anymore. My guess and I could be wrong is that your distance is a bit of a relief to them. You’re clearly depressed in their eyes and who wants to be around someone like that.
I believe sadness is often misinterpreted as depression. What I feel is a great amount of sadness but because of my Dad’s salvation I have hope. For some, losing a parent is like losing a part of you. It’s like your childhood just disappeared. You’re no longer someone’s little girl/boy anymore. If you’re close to that parent you miss just being able to pick up the phone and talk to them. You miss the relationship.
I share this to share what God did for me in the midst of my trouble. The word says that God draws near to the broken-hearted. Not only did He draw near, He kept showing up as a Father. The first time was while visiting my sister in-law’s church. The church joined hands in a prayer circle; everyone got a chance to speak. I lifted up my Dad’s salvation to the Lord, (my Dad was unconscious in the ICU at the time,) it’s been my prayer for him for years. My mouth repeated my petition but my heart was screaming, “God I wish you could just come down and give me a hug!” I didn’t say that out loud, this was an intercessory moment. It wasn’t about me.
The Pastor dropped her hands and looked me straight in my eyes. She said, “God told me to give His Daughter a hug.” She walked over to me and gave me the biggest, warmest hug I’ve ever received. She began to pray over me in a heavenly tongue while she held me. I don’t know what she said but I felt the arms of God wrapped around me and I was so touched and humbled that He called me His Daughter before a group of people.
Whenever I write in my prayer journal to God I would close with, “Love, your daughter” I was never certain if I had the right to call myself daughter. That day He permanently evicted the doubts in my heart and mind when I heard Him say, “I AM Your Father and I AM With You and For You, Wherever You Go.”
It didn’t matter to God that I was still feeling the loss even after a year. It didn’t matter that I struggled to smile. I don’t have to pretend or hide my emotions from Him. He promised that He would be with me wherever I go. If I’m in despair, He’s right there collecting every tear. If I’m angry, He’s there without judgment. No matter where I am or what stage of grief that I’m in. Good, Bad or Worst Day of my life, God, my Father is with me.
He shows up like a Father does every time. He makes me laugh in a way only a Dad can. He imparts wisdom to me when I need Fatherly advice. He listens to me when I just need someone to talk to. He repeats Himself, like any good parent, and reminds me of who I am and the plans He has for me. The Father is with me.
I share this all while fighting a losing battle with my tears just to tell you that your Heavenly Father is with you. He knows what you are going through, He understands more than you’ll ever know. He’s not just there during the Happy, everything is perfect days. He’s also there in the dirty, smelly trenches with you. Jesus has paved the way for you to have an amazing relationship with the Father. He truly cares for you and loves you sons and daughters with an unwavering and unfailing Love. God’s words aren’t just mere words; it’s the Truth. His promises are real and alive and you can hold on to them and Him!