Everyone has a story to tell. When we make the connection between our story and God's great story, we come away with HIStory, which involves each and every one of us.
We are coming on 2 weeks since my Father-in-law passed away. For those of you that know me, when thoughts and emotions are rumbling about in me, I find peace in writing them and sharing them with all of you! The death of my Father-in-law was quick from the moment he was diagnosed. Less than a year. And then at the end his health declined rapidly. Watching my husband try and process the news was hard for the girls and me. We wanted to make his pain go away as he traveled back and forth to see him. It was excruciatingly painful.
The death of a father forces you right back into that childlike state as you remember your life from that very first memory you are able to recollect. And it takes you on this painful journey of all the good coupled with the bad. And when you reach the present on this timeline of memories, the realization that your time with your father is up, hits you like the hardest/baddest news you could ever receive.
How do you move forward from this? You don’t want to remain stuck here...
My father-in-law was a believer in Jesus. He was a seeker of God. He respected his children and he never imposed his beliefs on anyone. But as we all have seen, sometimes the last days are so very telling of all that has been stored in your heart. And we got to see this firsthand. His loving heart. His quest for forgiveness. His desire to make things right. The Spirit in him leading him through his final moments, his final words, his final conversations. And there he lay, a humbled and forgiven man. And is this not the very essence of the gospel of Jesus? His daughters and sons at his feet, cared for him, cried with him and loved him with the greatest love my eyes have ever seen. With arms spread wide open, there was an uninhibited exchange of hearts. Nothing being held back. God allowed these final days to be an example of His extravagant love toward His children.
With great sadness, yet peace and joy, my girls and I watched my husband and his loving family bring peace to their father as he transitioned from this world to his heavenly home. Our hearts can only have this peace that surpasses all understanding because we know he is in the presence of his heavenly Father. What inexplicable joy it gives us in knowing that because he believed in Jesus eternity in heaven has only begun for him. Though we miss him and wish we had more time with him to make more memories, we rejoice in knowing that our time together was only a glimpse of the beginning. We will see him soon!
And maybe that’s how you keep walking forward as you allow the past to catapult you into the future. By allowing God to transform you from the inside out you allow Him to continue the work he started in your father. You pay honor to your father’s life and death by allowing our heavenly Father to continue the work of the gospel in our family.
My eldest daughter, Arianne, had the honor of keeping my Father-in-Law’s Bible. It is perhaps the sweetest gift from him as we are able to read his handwritten notes on the pages of his Bible. As we turned the pages, God’s Spirit led us to a Psalm he had highlighted. This has become our year’s verse as we remember our dear Granpa Eric. So this is our prayer for this year and we hope it will be yours too…
Teach us to number our days,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
Enséñanos de tal modo a contar nuestros días,
Que traigamos al corazón sabiduría.
Damaris U. Avila lives with her loving husband and their two inquisitive and sweet girls. Through personal storytelling, she invites women to share and see themselves in God's story. She leads young girls through BeYOUtiful Girl Time, a sisterhood where girls are encouraged to become the women God designed them to be.
"And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people."