12-29-19 Grief and Lovely Freedom

These past two months, grief has been my constant companion- awakening me in the middle of the night, shouting at me in the silence and darkness of my room, staring back at me from the scars on my stomach.

It’s been in the sound of hospital alarms and the ringing of my phone that lurched me from my hard fought slumber.

It was in the anesthesia fog that marked the passing of my child. It was in the way the ICU nurses stopped asking what room I was going to visit, and just started saying, “Come on in, honey.” It was in the tears of the people around me. It was in the familiarity of the hospital hallways. It was in the holding of my father’s hand, feeling its warmth, and watching that fade.

I’ve lived a lifetime in the past two days, and even more in the weeks before.

This is hard. So unbelievably hard.

But in the midst of my tears, when everything seems like tatters in my hands, I am reminded of my hope.

Christ.

I need Christ. Not the meek, quiet Christ of children’s Bible stories. I need the turning over tables, walking on water, weeping at graves Christ. The Christ that hates sin and death more than I do, the one that vows it isn’t forever.

I need the Christ that carried a heavy and bloodied cross through the streets of Jerusalem stumbling, and gasping for breath. I need the Christ that hung on a tree under a sun scorched sky, sipping vinegar, and struggling to breathe, while the blood poured down his face from the crown of thorns on his brow. I need the Christ that endured the absolute judgement of God in heaven – my substitute, my proxy.

I need the one the grave could not hold, the one who conquered death, so that death could not conquer me.

I need Christ.

And I have him. Through my tears and in the depths of my grief, I am not alone. I am never alone. And the peace that passes all understanding gets me through each moment. The joy of the Lord makes it possible to face another day. What freedom there is in Christ, what lovely freedom.

To Christ be all glory, in all things.

Psalm 27:4

One thing have I asked of the LORD,

that will I seek after:

that I may dwell in the house of the LORD

all the days of my life,

to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD

and to inquire in his temple.

12-27-19 A Glorious Day

After a long battle with declining health, my father ran into the arms of Jesus this afternoon. It was a glorious day, indeed.

I am grateful to have been by his side. It was quick and painless. And while I will mourn his daily presence, I will forever be thankful that his future was secure before he took his last breath.

For there is no greater gift than the death and resurrection of Christ himself, for the forgiveness of our sins, and our continual sanctification.

So the tears that fall, fall for me. For him, there is only joy.

1 Corinthians 15:55-57  (ESV)

55 “O death, where is your victory?
    O death, where is your sting?”

56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

April 17, 1940 – December 27, 2019
You will be missed.

12-25-19 Christmas Day

With my dad in the hospital, we opted for a quiet Christmas this year. No traveling. We slept in a little, ate breakfast, opened presents, and enjoyed our time together.

This is the second year my father has been in the hospital on Christmas day. Last year we were fighting for him to receive the basic necessities of water and nutrition, but this year in the ICU they are taking such good care of him. Knowing his needs are being met makes it easier to sit next to him in peace and quiet, holding his hand.

In many ways he is doing much better, but there are still uncertainties and his situation is precarious. We continue to pray that he will make a full recovery.

This past week has been hard- watching life race by from a hospital window.

I’m glad our Christmas was quiet. I loved being with my little family, watching the kids’ faces light up at their presents, and remembering the birth of our Lord.

12-24-19 Remind Me You’re Here

Today was hard.

“Remind Me You’re Here” by Jason Gray

None of my pain has ever caught You by surprise
Still it’s hard to trust You when I’m lost in the wondering why
But I’ll trade every question just to lay down and rest in Your heart
And I’ll reach for Your hand, though You led me here into the dark

And I won’t ask You for reasons
‘Cause a reason can’t wipe away tears
No, I don’t need all the answers
Just be here beside me
Father, remind me You’re here
Here

If it’s random or providence neither are a comfort to me
Are You cruel if You planned it or weak if You allowed it to be?
Half of me is still believin’, the other half is angry and confused
Oh, but all of me is desperate and longing to be held by You

So I won’t ask You for reasons
‘Cause a reason can’t wipe away tears
No, I don’t need all the answers
Just be here beside me
Father, remind me You’re here

Get me outta my mind
And into Your arms
Where hope comes alive
And fear falls apart

I won’t ask You for reasons
‘Cause a reason can’t wipe away tears
No, I don’t need all the answers
Just be here beside me
Come be here beside me

So I won’t ask You for reasons
‘Cause a reason can’t wipe away tears
No, I don’t need all the answers
Just be here beside me
Father, remind me You’re here

12-23-19 Christmas Eve Eve

On the way home from the hospital this evening, we took a detour and drove through some neighborhoods to look at Christmas lights. I wanted to give the kids at least a sliver of holiday festiveness. This year has been hard, and we are still in the thick of it. We still don’t have definite answers about my dad, but we continue to pray for his healing and God’s will.

Thank you for your prayers.

12-21-19 An Update

I spent the day with my father. He is still sedated, and they will keep him that way another day or so. There were some good improvements in his blood work and other labs and his vitals are stable. That is all wonderful news. But he is battling pneumonia, and that seems to be his biggest issue. The doctor said we will know more over the next couple of days.

It’s hard to watch someone you love go through something like this. You feel helpless and at moments very alone. While I hate that he got so bad he needed to be transferred to the ICU, I am thankful he is there. The nurses and doctors have been wonderful, and unlike when he has been on the regular floor, I haven’t had to fight for him. They anticipate his needs and keep such a good eye on him.

These past few days have been rough, but thank you to so many of you for reaching out, visiting at the hospital, and sending us messages. We are grateful for you in our lives.

I’m not sure what tomorrow holds, and I’m not sure I’m ready for it, but God is still good and He is still sovereign. I will trust in Him.

To Christ be the glory.

“I looked at her and it was like the thought had dawned on me for the first time: That’s where I’m heading… where we’re all heading.

“That sobering thought alone was enough to remind me of the stakes involved in life. To be confronted with suffering, whether observing it in another or struggling against it with your own aches and pains… to be confronted with affliction is a reminder that something immense and cosmic is at stake: a heaven to be reached, a hell to be avoided, and a life on earth to be lived seriously and circumspectly.

“Our souls are the battleground on which massive spiritual battle are right not- right now in this minute- being waged. And the stakes are enormous. Beyond our conception.”

“Every day of our short lives- even every hour- has eternal consequences for good or ill. Eternity- and the way we’ll live in it- is somehow being shaped by our moment-by-moment responses to the life we have before us to live right now.

“And so it is only fitting that God should give us some sense of the stakes involved. I’m so grateful that life for us is not an easy road. If it were, if the Lord did not occasionally give us a taste of hell’s splashover, you and I would soon forget that this world is not our home. I’m also grateful that He opens our eyes from time to time to the magnitude of this spiritual war we are in. He does this by giving u wonderful foretastes of glory divine in the joys we experience, and He does it by allowing us foretastes of hell in our suffering. ”

Joni Eareckson Tada, A Place of Healing, pf 126-127

12-20-19 When I Am Afraid


Thank you to all of you praying for my father. He has been in the hospital for a few days, but last night things took a drastic and rapid turn for the worse. I got a call early this morning that they had moved him to the ICU.

I wish I had answers. I wish I could say he will be ok, but at this point we just don’t know.

I’m nervous. I’m scared.

But I’m thankful for the Lord’s foreknowledge in moving us out here last year. He saw a future I didn’t imagine and He knew I needed to be here and available during this time. This is hard. This is heartbreaking. But He has already seen all of my tomorrows and he knows the outcome. So I’m leaning into Him even harder, because I can’t do this without Him.

When I am afraid, I will trust in Him.

To Christ be all glory.