Dare I say the past two years have been hard on everyone. Evil lurks in every corner. All you hear about is Covid, what politicians are doing or not doing, and how bad the world is screwed up. It really is a broken world and the times we’re living in are ones I would’ve imagined in a “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome” futuristic movie plot.
Faith, especially mine, has been tested. I find that ironic to write here considering the name of this blog; Nurturing My Faith. It’s true though and I’ve truly been in the valley.
In March of 2020, my husband was diagnosed with Covid. This was just as it was hitting the news and all you heard of was death. It was a scary time for us. Thankfully, my husband recovered and we spent the rest of the year taking precautions not to give it to our parents and other family members. We kept from large gatherings, masked, kept our distance when visiting, and did all we were supposed to do.
It was time wasted; time that could’ve been spent with them.
Despite it all, my Dad contracted Covid last December and passed from complications on January 3, 2021. As we approach the year anniversary of the events they all replay in my mind. All the things I should’ve done, the regrets, and the questions flow through me. The grief has consumed me for the past year. My Dad was one of my best friends. He was my child’s best friend. He was the best Daddy, husband, and grandfather and he was loved by many.
To say my faith was solid during the past year would be a lie. I was angry at God and I questioned everything that had happened. Before my Dad passed on, my husband, two friends, and I all marched around the hospital campus seven times in prayer expecting a miracle much like the walls of Jericho. My husband had been led by God to do this and I just knew God would heal my Daddy and he’d come home. I prayed desperately for my Daddy to be healed during his sickness. He was healed, just not like I had hoped. My husband maintains that our prayers were not in vain and that God did work throughout the hospital that night because of them.
When I began to question the whys, I’ll admit that unbelief tried to step in. I couldn’t fathom why God, whom I begged to heal my father, would’ve let everything play out the way it did. I reluctantly continued to attend church and sing and most didn’t know of the spiritual battle I was engaged in. It was truly a war within my spirit and some days still is. When I say that I’ve been in the valley, I’ve been in. the. valley.
I’ve spent the past year depressed and it’s been the saddest year of my life. I feel trauma from the way events unfolded – some I’ve never even spoken. I feel hurt that because of hospital restrictions my Dad passed without his family surrounding him. I feel jipped on moments for my daughter and cheated out of time with my Dad. I’m still angry, but it’s not so much toward God anymore, it’s more toward the evil responsible for Covid. I still don’t understand the whys but inside I know that God took him because he would’ve never been the same after all he had endured. I’ve just recently accepted that the complete healing my Daddy received was in order for him not to suffer here for the remainder of his life.
Can I say that today I’m back at 100% where my faith should be? No, but I feel at least that there’s some sort of an ember of hope again in me. This year of grief has been a rollercoaster, one I wouldn’t wish on anyone. I’m starting to see God in the small things again and I’ve asked forgiveness for the doubting. My Daddy always said “life goes on” when someone passed away. I never understood that until now – almost a year after his passing. Even though there’ve been days of physical, gut-wrenching sorrow this past year, life has still gone on. There have been good times had, even in the midst of all the sorrow.
Me and God have had some rounds this year but I’m trying now to focus on the things he’s been faithful on and see where His hand was upon us through the years. For all of you who’ve stayed firm in your faith after a loss, I salute you. I think grief affects everyone differently and it’s all our own journey to walk.
My Dad was a Pastor and a collector of Bibles. I have several of them and when everything began to unfold I went searching his Bibles because I knew he’d always write notes in them. I guess I was looking for something to give me peace in my anguish. I found one of his sermons about the potter and Jeremiah 18. In the words the Lord gave my Daddy he described a vase being formed and likened it to the “trials, calamities, hurt, sorrow, and pains we encounter in life” and one of the next few lines he said was “never forget that God is still in control, regardless of what we face.”
In another of his Bibles, I found a note that said “God be with you.” And yet in another Bible, I found these verses, highlighted. “The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.” My Daddy probably never knew his notes and Bible highlights would continue to affect me and remind me of things…but then again…maybe he did, and that’s why he had them still bookmarked and highlighted after all these years.
May God give all of us grieving, peace. May our faith be strengthened and may we never fail to see the ember of hope found in Him. May I always hold my Daddy’s words close to my heart: “never forget that God is still in control, regardless of what we face.”
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.