A God of love on a fatherless father’s day

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I kind of feel like my poor husband will get the short end of the stick for the rest of his Father’s Days. I do my best to make the day special for him, teach the kids why we celebrate Father’s Day, and provide ways for them to honor their dad.

But it will always be the day we buried Mom and Dad. And most days, it’s hard to get past that.

I meant to share this a long time ago, but I suppose now is as good a time as any. This was what I shared at Mom and Dad’s service. The battery on my camera died so we don’t have a video of it, but we do have what Tracy shared and I’ll share that another time.

Mom and Dad’s Celebration of Life – June 17th, 2012

~~~~~~~~~~~~

She was “mom” to us kids. And sometimes we called her Sue.

She was “Jo” to my dad.

She was “Aunt Susie” to her nieces and nephews.

He was “Dad” to us kids. And sometimes we called him Al.

He was “Albert” to his MT family.

He was “Papa” to Angel and Caleb.

Mom and Dad had many names, but the most important name they had was Child of God. It’s why we can rejoice today despite our overwhelming grief.

Mom and Dad taught us about God’s love. Definitely with their words as they shared encouragement and advice, but more so with their actions. They were always there. Anytime day or night, for any situation. We knew they were just a phone call away. They showed us what love was. Despite our past choices or circumstances, they loved us and reminded us that even more so, God loved us.

I don’t question God’s love today. I do question His timing and His ways. But because of His love, I can accept that His ways are higher than my ways. The purposes for taking Mom and Dad now and in the manner that He did may never be known. And I’m trusting God that someday I can say it’s ok.

Dad was our physical protector. He was always trying to fix us or help fix our problems. We called Dad anytime we needed help with anything. Questions about the house, the car, money issues, how to plant a garden, can you come help paint?

Many of you know about the psycho rooster we had on our farm in Mellette. I’ll never forget one day, it was my turn to sneak out and gather the eggs. My dad and a bunch of other guys were in the barn shearing our sheep. I crept out through the barnyard. One of the guys’ pickups was parked there and I snuck past it. All of a sudden I heard a noise and looked up – it was the rooster! I screamed but it was too late. He jumped on my head and as I ran around the pickup screaming, he tried to peck me to death.

Of course I screamed for dad and within about ten seconds he came to my rescue. But I’m pretty sure he paused just slightly to laugh a little at me. But he saved me from the rooster that day, just like he’s helped save all us kids a million other times in our life.

Mom was our spiritual guide. Both her and Dad loved the Lord, but Mom was a little more vocal about it. : ) Every year at Christmas she would write each of us a note with John 3:16 on it. Except she put our name on it…. For God so loved “Missy” that He gave His one and only Son, so that if “Missy” believes in Him, “Missy” would not perish but have eternal life.

Mom would get up every single morning to read her Bible. We are so thankful that we know one of the last passages she read. The Bible on her Kindle, that was on the boat with her, was turned to Psalm 100:4-5:

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving. And into his courts with praise; Give thanks unto him and bless his name. For Jehovah is good, his loving-kindness endures forever. And his faithfulness unto all generations.

{What an awesome verse to leave us with!}

On of the things I’m going to miss most about Mom and Dad is the time they shared with Angel and Caleb. I’m so sad that they won’t get to have their Grama Susie and Papa with them in the years to come. Our parents waited a very long time, and endured much heartache before becoming grandparents in 2007. And they were the best. They cherished every minute with Angel and Caleb, and I’m so thankful for all the amazing memories we have.

Last year sometime Mom shared her testimony and a song at my church in Sioux Falls. Her and dad came to church with us often and Mom had shared a few times. For some reason Mom had a copy of what she had shared that day at my church in her purse on the boat. I’m going to read to you what she shared. While these are mom’s words and mom’s songs, it’s also my dad’s words and songs. Because everything they did, every day they lived, they lived it together.

{As I typed Mom’s testimony again for this post, I was just blown away at how God is now using her words to bring healing and that a copy of what she shared was her in purse. Thank you Mom. Thank you Jesus.}

Eleven and 1/2 years ago I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and post traumatic stress discover. I had struggled with severe depression and anxiety for years and it was only getting worse. The doctors said I could manage my condition with medications and counseling. But it wasn’t working so well in the late 1990’s.  I just wanted the pain to end. I actually wanted to die.

In April 1999 I ended up in a Pastor’s office – Pastor Bill from Linwood Wesleyan in Sioux Falls. Through his counsel and a simple prayer I made the decision to become a follower of Christ. I was born again that day.

I have been extremely blessed in that God has healed me of the emotional baggage. And then with no musical background, God has given me the desire to write music. Four years ago I bought a guitar and learned a few chords, and over the next three years the Lord gave me over 60 songs.

This week as I was contemplating on what to share today, I realized how impossible it is to put into words what God has done in my life. All I know, my heart was a stone, but now it’s alive. All I know is, just like Jesus said, life is hard and problems and heartaches and disappointments still come, but there’s something deep within you that carries you through it. Is it the peace of Christ that He talked about? I think so.

For over a year, I didn’t receive any new songs. I just assumed that time of my life was over. But three months ago, when I was going through a very difficult time, God suddenly gave me a new song. The words just pop in my head and I pick up my guitar and somehow just know what chords to play.

I know none of us will completely understand all the events of our lives and why some things happen – at least not in this life anyway. But we can always rely on and depend on the great love of our God. That unchanging, unfailing, incredible, personal love for each and every one of us. The song I’m going to share with you is called The Love of God.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Let me tell you something. I’m angry at God. I’m pissed that He took them in the manner that He did. I’m angry that we didn’t get to say goodbye. I’m so tired of crying. I’m so tired of the overwhelming grief.

But when I read the words above that Mom wrote over two years ago, God quietly whispers to me, like He has a thousand times this past year,

“I am near. I have not forsaken you child. I grieve with you. I love you. I am your strength when you are weak. I am here.”

And I know without a shadow of doubt, that tomorrow when we celebrate Father’s Day without our dad, and however many overwhelming days of grief we have ahead of us before going home to Jesus, that God is a God of love.

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