April 1, 1991...25 years ago this morning, I got the call no child wants to get. My dad had died. Even though I was no longer a child, I was still HIS child and now he was gone. I was in my mid 30's, yet I felt like a little girl again. My first thought (selfishly) was, "Wow!, I will NEVER have a dad."
Let me explain, growing up, I was not around my dad very much. My parents separated when I was 3 years old and divorced when I was 5 years old and then my mom and two of my siblings and myself moved away from the city where my dad lived a short time later. There were probably one or two brief visits a year with my dad after that for the next number of years. I was suddenly thrown back into that time...only THIS time NO visits. NONE.
After taking all of that in, a Scripture came to my mind (Philippians 1:21) which states; "For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain." It was as if the Lord was using Scripture to tell me my daddy was alright now, he was no longer in pain, his body and mind was no longer restrained by Parkinson's Disease and mental illness and all the complications that come with them and any other illnesses he may have been experiencing...and better than that he was healed and he was with his Savior!
In the following days, weeks, months and yes even years that verse comes to me and it comforts me and gives me assurance that even though daddy is not here, he is in a better place, he is with his Savior and I WILL see him again, for one more visit and that will last for an eternity this time. That is the hope that is in me and in every believer. Eternal life in Him. Amen.
Fast forward 15 years to February 12, 2006. This time it was a call that my mom had died. She had been hospitalized and we knew that her passing was imminent, yet somehow it still seemed a shock. She had been with us for so long...she would have been 87 years old had she lived to reach her June birthday.
Again, my thoughts at first were selfish, and once again I felt like a little girl. This time though, there was another added dimension. This time I felt completely orphaned. It may seem strange, being that by this time I was in my late 40's by then, that I would feel this way. It just seems DIFFERENT though (at least to me) when we lose a parent. It is as if a part of us dies with them. Maybe because we are a part of them, seeing as how we came from them.
Anyway, that was my initial feeling and it wasn't until the Sunday after her passing while at church during worship time that we sang a song that I had never heard before, and have rarely heard since that day. It was Orphans of God by Avalon. Although, the lyrics rightly state "there are NO strangers, there are no outcasts there are no orphans of God".
That is when it hit me...I was NOT an orphan, I was a child of God! He is my Father and He is eternal. He will never leave me nor forsake me (Hebrews 13:5). I KNEW that, I had heard it over & over through the years...but I guess my soul never really felt that truth UNTIL that Sunday morning. Praise Him, amen.
Here I was, standing in the midst of a congregation, yet feeling all alone and abandoned. ONCE AGAIN, the God of the universe made Himself known to me in a way I had never experienced. He met a need I had, that up until that time, I did not know I needed, and He filled it with His grace and mercy and love. Amen.
I miss my mom (mama), I have had many regrets over our relationship in past years...it was not an easy one. BUT, I loved her and I know that she loved me and once she passed, any differences that we may have shared on this earth seemed truthfully, irrelevant. They just did not matter any more. What mattered was that I loved her and that she loved me. February 12th of this year marked 10 years of her passing, another milestone, another reminder of God's eternal faithfulness. Again, amen.
Why am I telling you all of this, dear Songbirds? A deep desire of mine is to convey to YOU that HE is there for you to experience in the same way! Because underneath all the pain, all the disappointments, all the feelings of abandonment and hopelessness, underneath all of that (and more) is a God who is BIGGER than any of it! Had I not experienced all of those things, I would not have experienced HIM and HIS GREATNESS.
This is my song today, dear Songbirds! If you are in the midst of what seems like a hopeless situation, HE IS THERE and HE is YOUR HOPE (Colossians 1:27). If you are in the midst of what seems like a hard situation, HE IS THERE and HE DOES NOT KNOW HARD (Jeremiah 32:27).
"And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful." Revelation 22:4-5 (NIV)
Whatever your need may be today, HE IS THERE. HE IS THERE. HE IS THERE. And HE IS ENOUGH. Amen and Selah.