[Note: This was written Sunday night. I apologize for the delay in getting it posted.]
It’s 12:45 a.m., and I’m wide-awake. I was almost asleep when I suddenly realized if I’m going to mow tomorrow, I should charge the weed-eater’s battery. I argued with myself for a while, trying to figure out if I could plug it in when I got up, and have it ready in time to mow. But, since it requires an eight-hour charge, I was on the losing side of the argument. The trip through the dark house and out to the kitchen got my mind to racing. I plugged in the battery and made my way back to the bedroom. As I crawled into bed, I realized this was just one more aspect of life without Dad.
For several years, I have had a heavy burden for wives and children who lose their husbands and fathers suddenly. God has clearly expressed His desire for us to care for them in Scripture, but I have often wondered how many churches are equipped for the task. Life changes drastically when that man is suddenly gone. Each situation is different, for some only the wife is left behind. In other cases, the children are grown, or nearly so. In some instances, the children are very small. Whatever the situation, life will never be the same.
As I have walked through the past month, I have often looked at where we are and thought, “People need to know these things, so they can help those in need in their own congregations.” Tonight, as I lay in bed, I realized that moments such as the one I just had may provide exactly the tool all of us need for better understanding.
When I was in Russia, I used to include a section in my newsletters called “A Glimpse through the Window.” Usually, it contained a short story or cultural tidbit to give those praying for our ministry a tiny glimpse of daily life. I think perhaps it’s time for that now. I won’t share everything, of course. Some things are just too personal, may shine a bad light on an individual or individuals, or may just not be able to be translated from emotions into words at this time. But, the things that can be shared, I want to share with you.
I will post them on the FTN Facebook/Twitter accounts throughout the week using the hashtag #LifeWithoutDad Then, Lord willing, I will gather them together once a week, and post them here as a blog. My goals are threefold:
- To give a glimpse of what life is like in the household that has experienced sudden loss,
- To glorify God as He leads us through this time,
- To learn more about how to help others as they pass through similar situations,
- To learn from you.
Oh, wait…that’s fourfold, isn’t it! But, that last one is the most important one. I would like you to join me in this conversation. Share your experiences. Let’s help each other, learn from each other, equip each other to help others.
So, here are my first #LifewithoutDad moments:
The adult Sunday School room was nearly dark and far too quiet this morning. Everyone was meeting in a different room than usual. We’re going through the church covenant in preparation to start the process of finding a new pastor…That’s why the room was so quiet—because Dad is gone. He wasn’t busy setting up his PowerPoint presentation, or chatting with the couples we have known so long. He wasn’t making corny jokes, or laughing at them at the top of his lungs. He would always clap his enormous hands together when a joke especially tickled him. Then he’d fold his arms across his chest and say, “Oooh, my.” Sundays are hard. They are a powerful reminder that this is #LifewithoutDad
We sang favorites in the evening service. It was nice. Most of the songs were lively, or songs of peace, or of close fellowship with the Lord. As we were singing one song, I started flipping through the hymnal looking for another song to request. As I did, I came to “O Magnify the Lord” by Ron Hamilton. We sang this song at the last ROA revival at the local women’s prison. Dad, Yvonne, Mom, and I sang it together. Tears choked out the words of the song we were already singing. How I miss him. He loved that song. #LifewithoutDad #GoOnPraising #HeIsSingingInHeaven
The memory of the fist Sunday without Dad is still so sharp that the very mention of it drove me to tears and away from the lunch table. I think I managed to hide the tears among the dishes and regain my composure before it was too noticeable. The affects of injury upon injury do not disappear quickly, but the Holy Spirit is indeed the Comforter. And God is the Father of mercy and the God of all comfort. He heals the broken hearted. #LifewithoutDad
Please, feel free to share your experiences and especially your heart in the comments below. And join us in the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.