My daughter prays every night that God will protect her from bad dreams. I'm quick to remind her that should she have a bad dream, her dad and I are here for her and maybe God might use a bad dream to teach her how to trust Him. I tell her these things hoping she will outgrow her fear. What I purposely have not told her is that sometimes nightmares can be real. Sometimes nightmares have to be lived out during the day. No matter how much we might wish them away, or try to ignore them, at some point there could be a nightmare that is darker than any dream. I wish this were a foreign concept for me, but it's not. Unfortunately I am living it right now. You see, my dad is sick.
I can't dress it up or make it sound nice. It is a paralyzing fact of life right now. Because my parents live in another state it can be too easy for me to purposely forget the facts. I think that's called denial, which is one of the stages of grief.
To be truthful I have always had somewhat of a fractured relationship with my dad. Yet since my daughter was born seven years ago I had seen the fractures begin to heal. Tension gave way to the common ground of shared laughter over his new role as Grandpa. But not too long ago I heard God whisper that I was being haphazard about getting to know my dad. I brushed God off, telling Him to leave me alone. Stubborn and brazen, I knew full well there were walls built around my heart, but out of self-preservation, I refused to tear them down.
During that time it was easy for me to live as though there would always be "later" to fix deeper issues. I used words like "busy" to excuse lack of motivation to tend the relationship. I built an altar out of making sure I wasn't too uncomfortable. Then crisis hit. BAM! I saw all my missed moments fly right past me. The tailwind nearly snapped my neck. Everything I put off concerning my relationship with my dad - conversations about his childhood, dating my mom, you know, the puzzle pieces to his story - crumbled around me. The walls I built couldn't protect me at all.
Suddenly my time was spent wondering how he'd make it to the next day. Casual conversations with my mom and sister were replaced with daily summaries of symptoms. Forget about questions between my dad and I that are unanswered, move that to the back of the line. Life has taken on a new urgency. Anything that resembles what used to be "normal" has faded. It's quite possible my questions may never be answered.
I handle the circumstances as best I can. God is with me, which is no small thing, considering that I told Him to leave me alone. It is a walking testament to the faithfulness of Christ in spite of me trying to squeeze Him out. His love baffles me at every turn.
Unfortunately, there are times when grief washes over me and it just plain hurts. It's my dad - what daughter would want to see her parent suffer? The bottom line is that I wish I would have listened to God in the first place. Isn't that always the way? Hopefully next time I won't wait for the screaming circumstances to drown out His whisper. I've lost too many minutes already.
Next week I am going with my parents to hear my dad's full diagnosis. The hurdle has been knowing that once I hear what his doctor has to say I can't hide any more. The statement "My dad is sick" will be changed to "My dad has ________." And though he isn't confined to a label or a diagnosis, there's the reality of uncharted waters ahead. My heart swells at the thought. But at least I will be there, with them. No matter what happens, I can pick up from here and move forward for the duration. And that is exactly what I plan to do.
I don't know where you are in your life. You may read my story and move on. Or maybe you're tinkering with wasting your time, ignoring your family, or being resistant to God. Take it from someone who has walked a similar path: Nightmares can happen to anyone. Anything less than fully investing yourself into those around you is a waste of time. Don't wait until someone you love is in trouble - sick or even walking a prodigal's path - before you get to know them. I mean really know them. Let God show you the way. Trust me, regret tastes nasty. Spit it out while you still can.
- Bible College - Be Afraid (7)
- Bible Study/Women's Ministry (2)
- cats (2)
- children (3)
- Contests and Give Aways (15)
- cooties (1)
- crazy people (1)
- DC Talk (1)
- Easter (2)
- Good God/Bad Church (3)
- Halloween (5)
- Jesus Voice Over Vintage 21 (1)
- Marriage (3)
- May I Suggest/New to SFL (1)
- My Family (8)
- Poop (1)
- Pranks (2)
- Secular Songs With Christian Lyrics - oh please (4)
- Stacy's Story (5)
- Wet Your Pants Funny Stuff (3)
- Why "Stacy From Louisville" (1)