I was standing in my garage, helping my husband move boxes down from the attic. I found a shoe box full of some of my random stuff from before we were married. Mostly pictures. I quickly flipped through them holding my breath and then accidently said out loud.. “phew, thank goodness.” After realizing I said it out loud I looked up and saw Justin watching me and he said “none of your dad?”
You see we’ve made it through the week of him on life support. We spent his last days singing to him, holding him, praying over him. We honored all his wishes for burial. We planned the memorial, and did our best to honor him and God at the service. But now what?
What can I do when everything that has to get done has been done and I’m still left without a father? This week I’ve been doing something, I’ve been getting angry. While teaching my son to ride his bike, I get angry that my dad will never see him ride it. While packing to move to Florida, I get frustrated knowing I’m moving into my parents’ house… But now it’s “mom’s house.” While at the mall I see old couples in their 70’s & 80’s and I get mad cause the Lord chose to take my dad home and now my mom is left again to pick up the pieces. Friends, I’ve been battling.
I know God is good. I know he was gracious in how everything came about. I’m richly blessed to have the family I have. But knowing all that doesn’t suffice. I have to make a choice in how I’m going to act upon that. I need to choose to be thankful. I need to choose to remember all the good. When I stop running from the pain and memories and take a moment to pause and think, I can be thankful. The pain won’t subside but the anger will fade and the peace will start to overflow. I can’t keep running.
This is a song my church sings, it’s been one I’ve been trying to sing when I get angry and frustrated.
“My heart is filled with thankfulness
To him who bore my pain;
Who plumbed the depths of my disgrace,
And gave me life again;
Who crushed my curse of sinfulness
And clothed me with his light
And wrote His law of righteousness
With power upon my heart.
My heart is filled with thankfulness
To Him who walks beside;
Who floods my weaknesses with strength
And causes fears to fly;
Whose every promise is enough
For every step I take,
Sustaining me with arms of love
And crowning me with grace.
My heart is filled with thankfulness
To him who reigns above,
Whose wisdom if my perfect peace,
Whose every thought is love,
For every day I have on earth
Is given by the King
So I will give my life, my all,
To love and follow Him.”
Now I have to make the right choice. I need to not shy away from certain activities because it brings memories that are painful. I need to stop and breathe when I get frustrated and list things that I’m thankful for. It’s not easy, it won’t ever be. But God is gracious and will sustain. I’m reminded and challenged by Colossians 3:15. It says, “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called to one body. And be thankful.”
Today I choose to be thankful. I choose to lift up my hurting heart and praise.
**I’d like to add a special thanks to all of you who have encouraged me to keep writing. It’s not easy. It makes me challenge my innermost self and I usually don’t like what I find. But I want to be a vessel that God can use, however feeble my efforts might feel. If I only bless one person it is worth it. Thank you all again for your continued prayers for us as a family. They are felt and so appreciate.**
8 thoughts on “I have a choice. Today I choose…”
Stephanie, Glad to see you posting. I encourage yo to feel and express ALL your feelings to the Lord and close friends and family during this season. I love the transparency found in the Psalms. Prayers continuing…
❤ thank you so much!
Sweet Stephanie. Please understand that grieving is a process. We can’t just “get over it.” We must follow the process to the end. Your loss was sudden, Honey; which makes it first unreal, then unfair before the grieving even begins! You are doing everything you are supposed to do – feeling everything it is normal to feel. You are wise beyond your years to recognize the anger for what it is and where it stems from; and desiring to correct it.
If it will help in the least bit, may I suggest this to you? Your desire is to serve, praise and give glory to the Lord in all you do. You are a lovely soul. May I remind you of one thing? Your dad is exactly where your mom, you, and your whole family are longing to be in the end … with Jesus in your heavenly home. Your dad was just called before the rest of you. It was time.
God knows better than we what needs to happen. Isaiah 55:8 says, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways..” then goes on to say that his word will accomplish exactly what it was sent to accomplish! And will not return to him void. May I remind you that means every single promise in the precious word of God WILL come to pass. And that means you will be with your dad again; but that time, for eternity! Because God promised. And He can not lie.
I so enjoy your writings. Please don’t stop. You’re an inspiration to many many who follow your blog. God bless you and fill each of you with His comfort and Joy.
I am thankful to have gotten to “meet” Bill and Jenni’s grown children, though it was under difficult circumstance. You all have made them proud. Of that I am certain.
Thank you. I don’t expect to ever get over it. I just have a “move on” personality which obviously like any other has it flaws.
Thank you for the encouragement. I’ve been listening to a series on heaven which has been very encouraging. ❤
Thanks for sharing, Stephanie. Will pray you keep leaning on Him and His Word and choosing to be thankful. Takes a lot of energy to be that intentional, but your pain, frustration and anger just shows me how very much you loved your dad. Still having a hard time believing he’s with the Lord. I loved hearing him speak, chatting with him, and hearing his laugh. So wonderful to know the sufferings of this world are only temporary.
Thank you Mrs stebner. He was such a precious gift. Missing him lots. It is a comfort to know how temporary this world is.
Love you Stephi. You are blessing me through your writing.
Love you so much. Thanks for being there. And being such a great sister and friend to mom through this.