I'm writing my post from the other side of the country. Sadly, my father passed away June 6 after battling cancer for seven years. My youngest daughter and I flew out for the service. This is the first time I've lost someone close to me, so it's been a huge learning experience as well. Here's what I've learned so far:
God prepares us for our trials. As scary and difficult as it was to go through my daughter's cancer diagnosis and recovery, this time prepared and strengthened me to handle my father's death. I can even look back to other times in my life and see how they also strengthened me. This has shown me another facet of God's complete provision.
God is with us in our grief. During the last week of my father's life, he was resident at a hospice house. This turned out to be a huge blessing in more ways than one. Just a couple days after he was admitted, I received a private email from a reader, asking for prayer for her marriage. Through our communications, she shared she was a hospice nurse. Though this dear woman had contacted me for prayer, she wound up praying for and encouraging me in my time of need. I know that was God's provision as well, sending a precious and understanding heart to give me support at a critical time.
God desires us to live without fear. The strangest realization has emerged in this time of reflection, loss, and grief. Having never lost someone close to me, I've feared this kind of loss. As the days progressed before my father's passing, I experienced God's constant comfort and reassurance. I realized that I didn't need to fear the pain of loss or disappointment because God was with me. He will always be there to walk the journey with me. I also realized that in protecting myself from this potential pain, I also handicapped my ability to experience elation. In other words, I will now to dare to dream and not fear disappointment. If I believe God is with me in my trials, grief and loss, then I choose also to believe that God is there working in my dreams and aspirations. I trust he's the one in control of all that and placed those desires there to begin with. I will dare to dream of the possibilities, and rest in the promise that God will bring all things to pass as he wills in his timing. And it will be good.
My earthly father taught me much on this earth, and in his death, I've learned even more, thanks to the provision of our heavenly Father. No matter what we experience in life, we can trust that God will be with us, and we can know that God will bring purpose from our pain and struggles.
Whether in life or in our mismatched marriages, we can persevere, hope, and dream. And we can trust that God is in control of it all, working for our good.
Praying and believing,