My dad was always a refuge for me. He was the most secure person in my life. I always knew, no matter what, my dad would be there for us (my mom too). When he passed away, the never-ending security I experienced with having him as my dad, was shaken to the core. And I’m not even referring to financial stability. He just always thought of all of us with every decision and prepared for the future. He even prepared for our kid’s future and their kids. So when we lost him, I felt out of sorts. But then I felt it spiritually.
My faith is the core of who I am. I wasn’t mad at God. I was confused. I was frustrated. I had this unsettling thing deep in my soul. I HATED feeling that way. I didn’t understand why he didn’t get the miracle we were all asking for. I didn’t understand why I saw miracles with Pierce but couldn’t with my dad. I didn’t understand why I felt this block between me and God. So this pillar of security in the physical realm, was gone and now this security I’ve always had with my faith, wasn’t necessarily gone, it was blocked. It felt lost and distant.
I wrestled for months. I didn’t sleep (still struggle with this). I struggled going to church or listening to certain worship music. My heart ached to understand. I felt such guilt for feeling the way I felt. I just wanted things to feel normal again. I soon realized that making peace with this loss might be the hardest part (so far) on my grief journey.
Then one day, during worship, I felt it. I felt a physical weight leave my body. I knew what had happened. I had made peace with the loss. Maybe my spirit finally accepted that I couldn’t change anything by feeling the way I felt, but surrendering to the arms of my Heavenly Father had to be my new norm. I truly believe I’ve had a healthy view of God because of the earthly example I was given. But in that, I didn’t ever get to know God as Father…because my dad did such a great job in the physical for me. Sure, I knew God and depended on Him in other ways but when it came to leaning on Him, as my Heavenly Father, I’m not sure I did.
I believe I also made peace that God isn’t in my life to give me what I want. If we really sit with that, I think a lot of us see God in that role, right? We lean into this life of Christ because of what we can get out of it, and if we truly approach it that way, I think we will be disappointed. It’s about relationship. He knows every bit about me, but my journey of faith is getting to know everything about Him. Learning from Him. Seeking out His wisdom. Gleaming from the example set before me. I am here on this earth to simply point people to Him. Not to get everything I ask for.
Don’t get me wrong, there is a beautiful, natural return when we lean into a faith that surrounds Him and His Word but getting something from Him is not the ultimate goal. Transformation through intimacy is the goal. How often do we turn our backs on “faith” because we didn’t get the result we wanted. He didn’t answer our prayer. He didn’t heal our family member. There’s crummy, terrible things happening in this world. So looking at it from that view, why would you stay clinging to a faith like that? It makes no sense. But when we cling to who He is, no matter what’s before us, that’s when true intimacy takes place. If He never gave me one more thing (which He will, 100% over and over and over) will I link arms with Him and say “You are good. I trust you. I know You’re here with me. I know You haven’t left…because I KNOW WHO YOU ARE”. Maybe I truly didn’t know who He was before this loss.
His sacrifice already gave me the ultimate – eternal life and a life of forgiveness and love. The rest is a bonus. And I don’t mean that like a Debbie Downer because the truth is, I am surrounded by blessing over blessing from Him. So, as much as I want to say the Christian life isn’t to “get”, we do “get” because of who He is. But if I never take the time to truly know Him, those moments of unbelief will rock me instead of pushing me closer to Him.
This journey has made me take a long, hard look at the foundation of my relationship with Him. I’ve been handed some hard things in my life. The reality is, so has everyone else. I can honestly say the constant thing I have seen, through every heartache and pain…He was there. He was there waiting patiently without force or disappointment. So often the last couple of months, I saw myself sitting on a bench, weeping and He was there with me. I had put the distance between us, not in an angry way…just in “I’m not sure I can trust You” way and there He sat…waiting. With no agenda but to simply embrace me. He’s just so sweet like that.
Maybe none of this made sense to any of you, but writing it out helps me work through it all and I finally felt like I could share this part of my journey. I still cry everyday. I still miss him throughout the day. I still don’t understand but there is a peace that wasn’t there before. I don’t think it’s anything I did on my own accord. I believe I am relearning who He is in this loss. I’m changing my heart towards Him. He’s not here to give me what I want. He’s here to change my heart through who He is. I’m thankful for His grace and patience and believe more is coming on this faith journey.
Sweet dad of mine, your girl is going through some hard and beautiful spiritual transformations, and knowing you, you would choose to leave this life if it meant I would be closer to Him. May your loss be honored in my findings in Christ. I love you forever.