[This is a hard post to write. Â I have always sought to be real and transparent with you, and I’m just not sure how to blog authentically in this time without giving you some visibility into my life. Â So here you are. This is personal and raw, and my prayer is that it will somehow be an encouragement for you today.]
Happy Father’s Day.
Two of my friends have just lost their dads and I’m thinking of them as I write this. Â I know it’s gonna be a bumpy day for them.
They must feel sad for themselves, andÂ awkwardÂ around all the other people who they know are feeling sad for them. Â They know it’s just another day, but it can’t help but feel like someone picking at a scab that isn’t quite healed.
At least, that’s what it feels like for me a little bit. Â It’s just bumpy.
This is a bumpy season.
This father’s day, more than any other, my mind is filled with all the gifts I have received from my dad.
I’m so grateful for all the ways he has stewarded me so well: teaching me to think and articulate and be passionate for what I believed. Â I’m so grateful for all the ways he has fallen short: pointing me, unknowingly, to an eternal father who won’t ever fail.
These things are all fresh in my soul because IÂ just got back from spending two weeks saying goodbye to him.
This time last week I wrapped my arms around my dad for the very last time in this life.
What a gift it is to have time to say goodbye. Â That’s the blessing of a slow death I guess.
They were a precious two weeks, but it will take a little time before theÂ deceitfulÂ veil of nostalgia can fall over my life and convince me that those days were nothing but joyful and magical; filled with faith and joy and hope.
They weren’t that way.
They were hard in ways I’m notÂ familiarÂ with; I needed strength in muscles I didn’t even know I had.
My soul felt stretched there.Â It wasn’t being tugged on so hard that it produced sharp pain. It was just being stretched; slowly and softly; almost tenderly. Â I’m left here now wondering if it wasÂ stretchedÂ too far.
I am not sure what produced the soul stretching.Â I am not sure if it is the unnatural pain of a daughter watching her father fight to conceal the deep pain snatching him from us.
I am not sure if it watching a man you respect with everything in you become frail and weak.
I am not sure if it was and still is the exhaustion of fanning the smoldering wick of my faith â€“ desperately trying to maintain the flicker of faith that he can yet be claimed by the God of Abraham, Issac, Jacob and Fabs.
That wick of faith feels doused constantly with the cynicism of circumstance, and it is taking all I have to fervently cling to the Spirit of truth whispering stories of faith and hope into my heart.
I donâ€™t have to wonder what would happen if my doctrine was shakier. I am watching that unfold in those around me. I am watching them twist the precious grace of our God into a safety net so that they can fall asleep less afraid.
And that is part of the soul stretching as well.
And then there is the constant chore of managing the little girl inside of me, eager to embarrass me with her desperate need for approval; eager to hijack the love and time we have left with insecurity.
I felt her in those two weeks, holding me back.Â I felt her tiptoeing around opportunities, nervous of the damage that could be wrought at this stage in the game if every moment of every day wasn’t filled with perfect joy and smiles.
I tried to tell her not to be afraid. I reminded her that we can speak freely – words in love â€“without fear. Â We are found, after all, in another Fatherâ€™s arms.Â And that safety has freed us up to shower love on this one, to pursue him without fear of rejection.
But she was with me those two weeks and she is here still.
And she’s stretching my soul even further still. Â As I start to move forward she is there – desperate and needy for one more day with her daddy.
My heart longs for some sort of closure. Â But before that thought has room to breathe I have sucked the oxygen out of it â€“ knowing that to give it weight would lead to guilt I cannot handle.Â I cannot long for this to be over without longing for death to claim victory over a life that still has grace even now.
What will it be like if death overtakes that grace?
What will it be like if his life is one designed for my good, rather than his own?
So, I just go to work. Â Because I’m supposed to. Â And I go to Church. Â Because that’s what I do.
And in two weeks I’ll run to the nations to flood them with news of this great and glorious gospel even though in the deepest parts of my heart I am terrified it won’t end up being good news for my own father.
May I just be yours. May you just make it so that I am in you and with you and known by you.Â May I just curl up and sleep in the warmth of your Word, wrapped in the comfort of your promises.
What will it be like if hopelessness cannibalizes faith?
May it never be.
May the angels worship Him because of His manifest promises; through them He is sustaining and keeping me even now.
I know it because in my deepest areas of unbelief I am still given faith enough to know that He will finish the work He began in me. Â I know it because in my most fearful and lonely places I am still aware that I have the only perfect Father acting on my behalf and holding me tenderly in His love.