Recently, I received an emotional call from my sister that shook me to the core. She told me that our father was not doing well, and that the doctors didn’t think he’d make it through the night. I was broken. It was like my heart shattered into a million pieces. I frantically roamed around the house packing and looking for flights. Did I mention he lived in another state? Las Vegas, Nevada. He had made the move 6 years ago to live with my sister and her family. On and off the phone all night I was shaking, and I couldn’t stop the tears. The whole night, I felt God’s presence. His Holy Spirit was by my side. Helping me with flights. Helping me tell my babies that their Papa would soon meet Jesus. First let’s back up several years…
My Mom was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. It was a long three year battle. When her cancer was found it was a stage 1 triple negative breast cancer cell. It was in the early stages, however, a triple negative cancer cell is very aggressive. It had metastasized, it went from her breast, to her lungs, and then her brain. During her battle she was transformed. She got a new wardrobe with all bright colors. She didn’t let this slow her down. She was a fighter and the Holy Spirit was her helper. Honestly, it was one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen unfold. I saw my mom get to know and understand the Lord in the most amazing way. Then one day, the Doctor said there is nothing else we can do for her. And that we should look at hospice. I had to grieve before she was even gone. I had to let go of one of my best friends. God had been preparing my mom to meet Him. I wasn’t sure I was ready for that reality. But, here I was standing in the middle of grieving a person who wasn’t gone yet. The remarkable part about this time was the way The Holy Spirit picked me and my family up and carried us through the grief.
Around the same time my dad became sick. It was a mystery. No one really knew what was going on with him. One day he woke up and he could barely speak, walk or hear. His body had shut down. It was one of the most horrifying months of our lives. My mom was dying and my dad was…well we weren’t really sure. My parents missed each other throughout the month, when one was home the other was in the hospital. Then one day they were both home at the same time. My dad went into the room and sat with my mom. Later that night she passed away. My sister and I were there and watched her take her last breath. I praise God for that moment. If anything could have solidified my faith it was that moment and physically feeling my mother’s spirit leave her body. Knowing that The Holy Spirit was right there with her ushering her into the most amazing presence of God.
8 ½ years later, I found myself in my room being picked up by The Holy Spirit and being carried through the fear, pain and uncertainty of life. In the middle of a pandemic, I got on a plane heading to Las Vegas to say goodbye to the strongest man I know. The best part…I was not alone…Holy Spirit was there, grieving with me. Isaiah 43:2 says “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you.” I hold tightly to this scripture that as I grieve I can grieve in the presence of God.
I made it to Las Vegas and my dad decided he wasn’t ready yet because the “He won’t make it through the night” turned into five days. For five days he slept. He never opened his eyes. You know the verse that talks about how God gives us a peace that surpasses all understanding? I truly and fully understand that verse now. I’ve had snippets of peace like that before but nothing like this. In a time where normally you sit and cry and you have your regrets and fears. All of that was absent. None of it was there. Just peace. Only peace. The Philippians 4:7 kind of peace. My heart was still and my daddy slept peacefully.
On July 11th, my dad went to be with Jesus. My heart was broken but the pieces were in God’s hands. Not one piece fell by the wayside and He is slowly putting it back together as I grieve my dad’s absence. If I leave you with anything it’s this… grief looks different on each person but God is the same. He promised us a Helper and the Holy Spirit does the job well. As I grieve, I grieve in the presence of God because I could not grieve well without Him. I listen to His voice in this time because my choices are not always made with a sound mind. I look for signs of leading because I can not lead on my own, I would much rather sulk. But The Holy Spirit has my best interest at heart and He leads me well.
Remember, it’s okay to grieve out loud. It’s okay to come before the throne room and call on the Helper to help you grieve. Don’t forget that Jesus grieved. When Lazurus died He wept.
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