Monday, January 20, 2014

MY DAD PASSED AWAY


As I write them, the words seem surreal.

Strange.  Puzzling.

Untrue.

But yes, they are true – so painfully true.

Last Thursday, in the wee hours of the morning, my dad passed away.

I was the first one to hear the news – an unexpected phone call that jolted me awake, followed by desperately trying to comprehend the words that didn't make sense through the fogginess of sleep.  Though it was difficult, I am grateful that I was the first to know.

I cry at the memory of the phone calls I had to make.  The people I had to jolt awake.  My brother and sister, my husband, my sons.  It was so hard to hear their reactions.  But oddly, I somehow felt privileged to be the one to tell them.

As time passed, my brother and sister came over.  And we waited together to tell Mom.   When she woke up and poked her head out of her bedroom, she was surprised to see all of us there.  I walked into her room to help her change out of her nightgown.  All of a sudden, I could tell that she understood.

She looked at me and said, "Everyone's here.  Did something happen?"

"Well…"

"Oh no!  Did Dad die?"

And that's when I wrapped my arms around her shoulders and had to say, "Yes, Mom, he did."

She did well hearing the news then, and she's done very well dealing with the news in these last few days.

The blessing lies in this – my dad died peacefully.  His injuries were serious – more serious than we originally thought – and he was in a great deal of pain. However, Thursday morning he just stopped breathing – no fuss, no fanfare.  One moment snoring, the next moment silent.

I have had a feeling that this was coming.

And so, my reaction is shock, but not surprise.

Because of the fact that a part of me somehow knew, I've been praying for him.  I've been praying that the Lord would be gracious and allow him to die quietly – not in pain, not afraid.

And the Lord answered my heart.

Since Thursday, we have had the arduous task of making arrangements. Again, the best word I can use to describe the whole process is surreal. Picking out his clothes was heart-breaking, picking out his casket was grim.

But, I'm so grateful for the last 10 days with my dad.  For the healing that came in some of the very kind things he said to me.  I heard my dad tell me he loved me.  Eye-to-eye, and fully aware.

I held his hand, and rubbed his arm.  I have never done anything like that in my life.  My dad wasn't a real demonstrative guy, so this physical, comforting contact was a gift.

My very last moment with my dad was when the rehab facility called me at 11 PM on Tuesday night.  They were unable to get my dad calmed down, and they thought perhaps a familiar face would help.

I was able to settle him down.  And just before I left, I rubbed his forehead and his eyebrows and put him to sleep.  These were my last moments with my dad, and I will treasure them forever.

My feelings are many, complex, confusing – sadness, relief, love, hurt. A weird discomfort that I am now in the world without a father.

I'm sure it will take me a long time to process it all.

But through it all, the firm and powerful Presence of the Lord has been there.

I've felt Him hold me up.  I've felt Him push me forward.  I've even felt Him pick me up and carry me a few times.

And, of course, I've had time to ponder His word for me this year – JOY.

He gave it to me because He knew.  He knew what was coming less than a week into the new year – He knew how quickly my dad was going to die after that.

So, He purposefully placed that word – HIS word – JOY, into my heart.

But I wonder, to WHAT purpose, Lord?

Someone asked me in a comment last week – How do you find joy in your sadness?  

Well, I guess I'm getting a first-hand chance to find out.

Two weeks ago, I would have been hard-pressed to answer that question in any positive way.  I would have probably told you that *joyful sadness* was an oxymoron like jumbo shrimp.

I would have told you that I didn't think it was possible.

But now, though I might still tell you it's impossible – I can tell you that it's HIM-possible.

I would tell you that sometimes you can't figure out how the joy is going to come.  That when you're not sad, you can't possibly anticipate feeling joy in sadness.  But, when the sadness actually comes, you can be surprised by the joy.

Happiness?  No, of course not.  But JOY?  Yes.

JOY as in a settled feeling that God was here in the difficult circumstances long before you arrived.  That God paved the way for His goodness to cover you, for His power to strengthen you, for His peace to fill you.

That in every single tear you shed, you will be reminded of Jesus, Only You.

My mom keeps apologizing for crying.  She says she feels that she should be strong.  I keep reminding her of the shortest verse in the King James Bible. John 11:35…

"Jesus wept."

He definitely allows grieving.  His tears prove that our tears can be a holy thing.  That our tears are sanctioned and blessed by His suffering.  That His tears reassure us that He understands, more than we will ever know, how much death hurts.

But joy is found in knowing the rest of the story.

Jesus did something BIG to fix the death problem that started in the Garden of Eden.  He did something BIG to remove its curse.

He Himself died.

(I like to think of it as the ultimate oxymoron – LIFE death!)

And so, as believers, we grieve – but WITH hope.

I can't remember who said it, but someone said that my father didn't die, he just got promoted.  And how true that is.  C. S. Lewis would say that my father has left the Shadowlands, and is now where everything is REAL.  He has experienced the end of the beginning, and is now at the beginning of forever.

I like the image of that.  My dad standing erect, with a clear mind, and a big smile on his face.  I think that image is the promise that we all have to look forward to.

My father is with the Lord.  And one day he will be reunited with his resurrection body.  And when I die, I will join him.  Or maybe, just maybe, I'll meet him in the sky when our precious Lord returns.


In it all, the JOY is found in Jesus, Only You.

Forever.




I will miss you, Dad...until we meet again.

And then, we'll have eternity.


"And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope.  For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died.  We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died.  For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God.  First, the Christians who have died will rise from their graves.  Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever.  So encourage each other with these words." 


(1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, NLT)


"For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands.  We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing.  For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies.  While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us.  Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life.  God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit.  So we are always confident, even though we know that as long as we live in these bodies we are not at home with the Lord.  For we live by believing and not by seeing.  Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord." 

(2 Corinthians 5:1-8, NLT)


"It is the same way with the resurrection of the dead.  Our earthly bodies are planted in the ground when we die, but they will be raised to live forever.  Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory.  They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength.  They are buried as natural human bodies, but they will be raised as spiritual bodies.  For just as there are natural bodies, there are also spiritual bodies...What I am saying, dear brothers and sisters, is that our physical bodies cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. These dying bodies cannot inherit what will last forever.

But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret.  We will not all die, but we will all be transformed!  It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown.  For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever.  And we who are living will also be transformed.  For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies.  Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled:

"Death is swallowed up in victory.
O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?"

...thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ." 

(1 Corinthians 15:42-44, 50-55, 57, NLT)



"...do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength." 

(Nehemiah 8:10, ESV)


How has God comforted you in a time of grief?



Linked today with:

Joan at SHARING HIS BEAUTY
Michelle at HEAR IT ON SUNDAY, USE IT ON MONDAY
Laura at PLAYDATES WITH GOD
Hazel at TELL ME A TRUE STORY
Darlene at TITUS 2SDAYS
Jen at UNITE
Tracy at WINSOME WEDNESDAY
Judith at WHOLEHEARTED WEDNESDAYS
Kasey at WALKING REDEEMED
Rachel at WHIMSICAL WEDNESDAYS
Rosilind at A LITTLE R & R WEDNESDAYS
Beth at THREE WORD WEDNESDAY
Jenifer at WORD FILLED WEDNESDAY
Lyli at THOUGHT-PROVOKING THURSDAY
Bonnie at FAITH BARISTA JAM
Laura at FAITH FILLED FRIDAY
Mel at ESSENTIAL FRIDAYS
Wanda at THE FRIDAY FIVE
Charlotte at SPIRITUAL SUNDAYS
Sandy at STILL SATURDAY
Barbie at WEEKEND BREW
Janis at SUNDAY STILLNESS


BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

57 comments:

  1. My heart is breaking with you. I am so sorry for your loss! This post is a wonderful way to share his memory with us. I hope you feel all of us lifting you up in prayer...

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  2. I am so sorry for your loss but I love where your heart is and how God prepared you for his passing. Keeping you and your family in my prayers. ((HUGS))

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  3. Dear Sharon, words seem inadequate during this time of great loss...and what you written is so very powerful:

    "JOY as in a settled feeling that God was here in the difficult circumstances long before you arrived. "

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family....let His strength continue to uphold you and be comforted in knowing your Dad is experiencing the ultimate joy...

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  4. OH how I feel your anguish.... my dad passed away December 13th.... I am still processing.... it is difficult to realize that the one person on this earth who truly loved me unconditionally is now in heaven.... gone from my earthly grasp....
    and I know that someday we will be reunited... but the vaccum is intense sometimes.. My prayers are with you.

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  5. Sharon,

    Thank you for sharing your heart today in your writing. I am so sorry for the loss of your father and the pain and sadness that comes in grieving. It is interesting how the Lord works, isn't it? Joy... your word for this year. I think God is reminding you that you will have joy and that joy is rooted in Him. I am praying for you and for your mom and family. I know it is a difficult, and as you said, surreal time. Even now, for me, 18 months after my dad's passing, it doesn't quite feel real. But God will comfort - and what a blessing it was to have those last moments with your dad! God did, indeed, give you a gift.

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  6. Dear Sharon ... I am hearing your heart, as we just said good-bye to my husband's mom last week after she entered heaven's doors after a decade struggle with dementia. I trust that putting pen to your grief will be of great comfort to you, even as it's been for me.

    My condolances to you, to yours.

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  7. Praying for you and your family. Yes, we grieve with hope...and that is where we find the joy in death. Joy is knowing that death does not have the final report....eternal life awaits our last breath. So many blessings from this that you are able to see and share with us. Thank you for that. God bless you and yours during this difficult time.

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  8. First let me add to the condolences offered by others here. What a huge loss is a parent. It is obvious you have a great Source of comfort, so I pray in the days to come you will be blessed in large measure by His companionship.

    Also, I want to thank you for dropping by my blog. I suspect we are kindred cowgirls.

    Blessings upon you & yours,
    Kathleen

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  9. I'm so sorry for your loss, Sharon. :( I lost my dad in Feb 2010, then my mother in Sept 2010. It is difficult to be joyful in grief, but there were some amazing pockets of grace sent by God that did bring me joy. I know he will do (has done, and is doing) the same with you. Praying for your mom as well.

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  10. Sharon, I am so sorry for your loss and you have my deepest sympathy. I am reading your post through tear-filled eyes as I reminded of that day back in 2002 when I watch my daddy take his last breath in tha hospice home....and then the early morning phone call when I was able to tell my sweet mom goodbye over speaker phone, hearing her last few breaths. These moments have been gifts to me since I have lived about 8 hours away from them. Sadness, yes...pain, most definitely...knowing they are with Jesus brings the JOY. Oh yes, Sharon, I truly believe God gave you that word for these very moments. What a beautiful, touching post. Praying for continued strengh and comfort.

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  11. (((Sharon and family)) I gasped when I read the headline and now with tears, I type this comment. I am so sorry for the loss of your father, but I am so grateful that he did peacefully and I am so grateful you had that time with him that you did and that he knew who you were when he told you that he loved you.

    I too had prayed when for years that when my mom died that it would be peaceful and it too was when she passed and for that I was grateful.

    What a journey you are entering now with this new season of your life. Allow yourself to grieve and to take all the time you will need to grieve.

    you all are in my prayers, again I am so sorry

    betty

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  12. Sharon I am so very very sorry for the loss of your dad. Even though you suspected it is still hard. I am glad he died peacefully (I hope I die that way). I will be praying for you and your family! sandie♥

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  13. My dearest Sharon and family, I hesitate as I contemplate how to share my deepest sympathies and condolences with you in this loss of your earthly dad (husband, etc.) yet my heart and tears echo yours and I pray for Our Holy Comforter to continue to meet your every need ... I am so sorry (does not seem like enough to help carry the pain or the loss) not even that I'm praying
    (which I am and have been) ... there just are not human expressions that cover this, however your precious final moments and touch and words from your dad ... they do (peace, love and tenderness) and as I looked at your precious dad's photo, his face, I saw Sharon reflected ... and glance to the right hand sidebar and read the words you penned there since 2014 began... and these are the words that will express what I'd like to say with a real HUG as I read these surreal words knowing God had you and this in mind when you heard:Jesus Only You (the words above these too and my apologies for taking up so much space like I do but this time it's necessary): "Dear sister in Christ Sharon, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for JOY. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow." (James 1:2-3, NLT) you have that JOY, faith, endurance, strength ... and are meeting these troubles head on
    Sharon (mom and family members) remember (it's true what you wrote that Jesus wept, He did and does) that's an expression we need:
    "Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of JOY."
    (Psalm 126:5, NIV)

    "May the God of hope fill you with all JOY and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope." (Romans 15:13, ESV)

    "'I have told you this so that my JOY may be in you and that your JOY may be complete.'" (John 15:11, NIV)

    "'Therefore you too have grief now; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one will take your JOY away from you.'"
    (John 16:22, NASB)

    "This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don't be dejected and sad, for the JOY of the LORD is your strength!" (Nehemiah 8:10, NLT) NO more sorrow, pain, tears, etc. and one day, we will know this too and be reunited. For JOY comes in the morning (MOURNING) ...

    I love your beautiful real heart that I read in between each line, the precious photo of your dad, the verses of Hope in eternity you ended with, the tears and tribute, even a bit of humor, and a beautiful image of your dad with you and in eternity, resting in peace. I'm deeply moved.

    I'm sure that you seek some answers in your last question to us: but your own words of Jesus Only You, all you penned and shared ... brings the comfort from God in times of grief (which I've shared a whole lot about at my place, not that I really wanted to ... but it is what it is). I needed GriefShare ( their 365 daily emails, since I did not have a support group, and doing their "help for the journey" from mourning to JOY (I'll let you know when I arrive, cuz for me it's a process with highs and lows) ... being immersed in God's Word as it washes over me and soaking in music, memories and photos/images of good times, is my main way. And praying ... talking it through with God, all my emotions ... as I will continue to do as I lift you and yours in these days ahead ... believing in God's Promises with you ...

    Sending love, hugs, prayers and God's blessings, comfort, strength, peace and JOY,
    Peggy

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  14. Sharon, I don't have many words at the moment, in are in my thoughts and prayers, if you were here with me, I would hug you. Sending you that as a cyber hug and hoping you will feel it. It means a lot to me that you encouraged and wrote words of comfort to me on my post, before telling me your dad had passed on. Sending you love and praying many blessings for you.

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  15. Dear Sharon
    I am so sorry, my dear friend, but also so very thankful that you can mourn not like those without hope, knowing that you will be with him again one day. It is so very special the last moments you spent with your dad and I am sure that you will always treasure those moments.
    Much love and many hugs XX
    Mia

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  16. I am so very sorry Sharon. The words you wrote here were so beautiful, and such a testimony to the God who knew the exact minute your dad would be born, and the exact minute he would meet Jesus face to face.

    I am so glad for the time you were able to spend with him in the last weeks, and for the way God gave both of you something new and special in those days. Sometimes it takes a whole lifetime to get to that point.

    He is free, from pain and sickness, and one day it will be a JOYful reunion.

    My prayers are with you today and in the days ahead, and for your mom and family.

    Hugs!

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  17. Tears are running down my face as I read your words--sorrow for what you are going through, grief remembering all the big and small deaths in my own life, and JOY at hearing how the Lord gave you those few precious memories and moments with your father at the end. The answer to the prayer of your heart for so long--to have your father recognize you, tell you that he loved you, to be able to share the physical touch. Those will be the memories that bring you JOY in the days to come even as the tears will trickle down your cheeks.

    Sharon, I can't believe you could be so clear-minded this soon to even be able to write.That, in itself, is a gift.

    You are in our prayers.

    Love, Janis

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  18. My eyes well with tears as I read your experience - saying farewell to your father. Holding your mom as she guesses the worst. Walking, as in a fog, through the blur of the physical requirements of the passing of a beloved one. I am taken back ten years to my last moments with my mom . . . and those days that followed. And, considering what could lie ahead for my 86 year old dad, and 80 something aunts and uncles. I'm the oldest, and the caretaker, when care taking is needed. Just now - not so much. But, with the elderly - anything can happen in a moment. Just like you found out.

    But - I love how the Lord always prepares us - JOY, my friend. And, PEACE - my word for the year.

    And, this from you in your grief: "But now, though I might still tell you it's impossible – I can tell you that it's HIM-possible."

    While you were walking through your valley this past week with your dad - my dear friend - all 34 years old of her - was hospitalized with mini-stroke symptoms that they are now calling Lupus. Yet, she clings non-stop to the HIM-possible - and this week, God is healing, renewing, and making a way where there seemed to be no way.

    He is worthy of JOY - no matter what. Tough to walk it, though, sometimes.

    Praying for you and yours, dear lady . . .
    Joy!
    Kathy

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  19. Dear Sharon, words don't come easy at a time such as this, but please know that I am so sorry for your great loss and that you will remain in my prayers. May you be comforted by the Lord and warmed by the special memories of your father.

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  20. Bless your dear heart! I SO know and understand how you feel. I lost my precious father 12 years ago, then my dear mother almost 2 years ago. Losing a parent is truly one of life's greatest sorrows. Losing the last parent is near-unbearably sad. Knowing they are both gone, along with such a huge part of your history. Oh, may God bless and comfort your dear heart at this time! My heart goes out to you in a thousand ways.

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  21. Oh Sharon I'm sending you hugs my friend. Such tender moments you have to treasure of the last moments together. Praying that God would comfort you and the rest of your family as you walk through this stage in your journey.

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  22. I am so sorry for your loss. What a blessing to have the moments that you shared with your dad to treasure. I pray that God would bring you & your family His comfort, His peace, His strength & yes, in time, His joy. I so appreciate that you shared about your dad with us all. Blessings.

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  23. Sharon, I am so sorry about your loss. Praying the God wrap His comfort around you family and carry each of you until you find your balance.
    Maryleigh

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  24. My heart hurts for you as you travel through this season of loss. I am blessed beyond measure to call you friend, to see God's light shine through you, as you honor Him with your faith in the trial. I know He will bring you comfort and irrational peace in the days ahead, drawing close to you as you draw close to Him. Your joy in the midst of pain is a testimony of His spirit in you. You are such a blessing, friend. Love you much and praying for you and yours.

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  25. It is difficult being the oldest (or the one in charge) for such a time as this. I know your grief with the loss of your earthly father, and the precious memories of your special time spent with him will give you strength for the coming days. We do not have joy because of a passing of a loved one, because he will be missed, but there are all kinds of joy. We rejoice because he is with Jesus, and our joy is inward knowing Jesus is close by and giveing us his strength. We have joy and peace as we go through a trial what ever that trial is. Thank you for sharing your pain and your honor for your father, and for your family and for being there and allowing us to grieve with you here at "Tell Me a Story." Joy cometh in the morning!

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  26. Beautiful, Sharon...my prayers continue for you and your family.

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  27. I understand your words. Death is a celebration for the Christian. Not easy to understand when you are are grieving. I relate to your last days with your dad. My mom was not demonstrative either (their generation?) and she spoke such loving things to me that I always ponder. So much healing! I'm so glad your dad did not continue suffering and thank God for the ultimate healing. I'm praying for you, dear sister, and asking God to keep you joyful at this time. My sincere condolences to you, your mom, and family.
    Loving hugs,
    Mary

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  28. Oh Sharon....I am just speechless. Please accept my condolences on the death of your father. It doesn't matter if you expected it, prayed for it or knew it was coming, death is always a shock. So final.
    It sounds like God gave you such joyful moments with your Dad before his passing. The image of you calming him down in the rehab facility was such a beautiful one. Even the staff knew that you were capable of bringing peace with you, the peace that your Dad needed so much.
    I agree with Hazel, it does fall to the oldest or the girl of the family to help with the arrangements...what a gift you are to your Mom and sibs. (And to me too.) I will be praying for your bruised heart. And don't you worry about your Joy for this year. I have a feeling that your newly risen Father will make sure you receive. Just like he did from you.
    Blessings of peace my friend,
    Ceil

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  29. I am very saddened to hear of your dear father's death, Sharon. However, he has not died, he has passed quietly from this realm to the realm of the Spirit. He is with the Lord and so joyfully happy, beyond anything we can fathom here on earth. I pray for the Holy Spirit to comfort and strengthen and give you His peace that passes all understanding, especially your precious mother. You will miss him but I know you already feel joy in knowing where he is. I still miss both of my parents but I take comfort when I think of where they are and how blessed and happy they are.
    Love,
    Sandy

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  30. Sharing in this grief, Sharon. Sharing in your joy as well. Peace and prayers~elaine

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  31. Thank you for sharing. And thank you for taking care of your Dad and your family. Touching many hearts. And, when thinking of my parents, and other family and friends, I just become so excited that we'll be together in heaven, serving the Lord, rejoicing, set aside from any sinfulness, ever again. You've obviously been a blessing. And, again, as I said, thank you for sharing.

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  32. Oh Sharon, I am so very sorry, friend. I'm so glad you were able to spend that time comforting your dad on Tuesday night - what a gift that was for him and for you. My prayers are with you as you walk this journey of grief with your family.

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  33. I am so sorry about your dad. It's hard to lose our daddy, isn't it? But we have that comfort that we will see them again.

    I still treasure my last memory of my dad. What a precious gift God gave you, allowing you to be there to calm your dad down, and just be a comfort to him.

    I know this won't be an easy time for you or your mom or family, but you shared so beautifully how the Lord is walking through it with you. He will be your sustenance and your joy! God bless and I will pray for you!

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  34. Of all the times to be at the end of the line...a little online issue got in the way but I'm here now. I continue to pray for that peace that passes understanding, and when I read this I could see that those prayers are being answered every minute of every day for you. I heard it said years ago that the greatest gift a father can give his children is to love their mother. It's a sweet thought, but I happen to believe differently. I believe the best gift a father can give his children is the assurance of his salvation. Your father left you with that precious gift. My heart is heavy with understanding for you right now. I miss my father every day in a hundred different ways, but to know that he lives and is waiting for me gives me an inexplicable joy.

    All my love to you, Sharon.

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  35. Okay, my dear - here it is . . . you are one of the inspirations for this post. I hope you are blessed - and don't mind that I jumped right on your "HIM-possible"! Joy to you in the mourning . . . http://www.thewritersreverie.com/2014/01/valley-daze.html

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  36. I am so blessed by your words today. My mom just passed away also. The emotions you describe, the sense of loss, the privilege of telling your family members all resonate with me because I did the same thing. I'm praying that as we both learn this new normal God's presence wraps around us and comforts us. Blessings, Mary!

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  37. Blessings and Peace for your family.

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  38. Hi Sharon, I am so sorry for your loss. My dad passed away exactly 2 years ago today. I miss him, and unfortunately he was not saved. So good to hear your dad was. I'm praying for you and your family. God bless
    Tracy

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  39. So sorry for your loss. What a beautiful post & how precious to share with us during such a difficult time; thank you! Such a beautiful reminder of the difference between joy & happiness! Hugs & prayers for the Holy Spirit to comfort you & your family. ♥

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  40. I am ashamed to have missed this post. You have been in my prayers since your last comment on my blog, and I was shocked to read your words yesterday about your dad. I will continue to pray, especially now that I know how, for comfort during your grief. Keep your heart and mind on things eternal. He leaves behind a beautiful legacy - YOU! Sending you the biggest hug and lots of love from Georgia. It's totally okay to cry. (My mom and Jesus taught me that.) God Bless *you* and your sweet family.

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  41. (I just read it again and it was even more beautiful the second time. Love you, Shammie!)

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  42. I am so sorry and so sorry I haven't gotten here sooner. I have been praying for you and will continue to do so. Blessings

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  43. Sharon, I am so sorry for the loss of your father. Saying extra prayers for you and your family tonight!

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  44. Sharon,

    Often times the most difficult thing for anyone to say is what do I say to someone experiencing such a loss as yours. Nothing seems adequate and perhaps that is the reason why the Bible speaks of times where we don't know what to pray so it is with our groanings and mutterings that God can even make sense of things like this. I am truly sorry for the loss you have experienced even as a believer, we can still miss their presence in our lives despite where we know they are, in heaven with God. I know that nothing can fix how it feels right now expect that I pray that God gives you that strength when you're weak, comfort when you feel sad, and love to know this is not the end for believers in Christ. May God use your post as others struggle with the answers of "Why?" when things like this happen. My thoughts and prayers are truly with you today.

    Love and Hugs ~ Kat

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  45. Sharon, may God shelter you and your family and comfort you. I have a close friend who is in his last days -- losing his fight against cancer. Lots of tears here this week as well.

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  46. Sharon, I'm speechless. I'm so very sorry for your loss. Your heart here friend brings tears to my eyes. I can't even begin to express how much you have touched my heart as you share about your word JOY. As you said at my place, I'm so grateful we both share this word. How do we find joy in sadness? It's only possible in HIM. I'm wishing I could jump through this blogesphere and hug you right now. Praying for His peace and comfort upon your family.
    Much love to you friend.
    Beth

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  47. "desperately trying to comprehend" and then "joyful sorrow". You've let us into your heart and your soul -- and because you've engaged all of yourself with us through your words -- in your journey of loss -- you are someone we can trust and share in your moment. I'm so sorry for your loss. And I pray God continues to comfort and whisper His heart to you, as you remember, grieve, and celebrate your father and all he was and is to you today. Thank you for sharing this tender moment with us in the faith jam. (hugs)

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  48. Yes, He knew when He gave you he word joy. He knows each and every breath. I pray that you continue to feel His arms holding you, and yes, even carrying you when you need the lift. His love will flow, to you, in you and from you, now and in the time of grieving yet to come. Thank you for allowing us to walk beside you.

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  49. I am crying reading your post. Oh sweet sister in Christ, how I WISH you and your family were not on this journey. It is hard. Hard. hard. hard...and hard. I lost three parents within a year. There are days that take my breath away. But now, just a wee bit into this process I can promise your memories of happier days will replace the final. Please read Max Lucado's You'll Get Through This. Oh, his words are like salve to my soul. I will pray for you and your family. I promise. I do understand your joy too. The blessing that is knowing the second half of your relationship with be in God's kingdom and for eternity! Can you imagine? And also the joy of being loved so well by a man who was clearly a great father and husband. Blessings to you!

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  50. I'm visiting from the Missional Women, Faith Filled Fridays blog hop. This was a beautiful post. Thanks for sharing!

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  51. For you and your mother: Psalm 56:8 "You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?" God sees each tear.

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  52. Carrying you in my heart right now, Sharon. Grateful for those sweet moments with your dad, that you can be there for your mom. But it's hard. So hard. Let the tears fall... they are not a sign of weakness. They are healing. Love to you, my friend.

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  53. I'm so sorry to hear this sad news and yet so blessed to know that this is just a temporary separation and that he is safely in heaven with my dad and husband. And what a blessing to hear how God prepared you, as He did me, before this leave taking. A sweet gift. And a wonderful legacy from him and from you. Please know I'm praying for you and your family.

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  54. I am so sorry for your loss, Sharon. Thanks so much for finding the strength to share this through these beautiful words here. So grateful for the amazing hope we have in Jesus!
    Thanks for sharing at Essential Fridays.
    Blessings
    Mel from Essential Thing Devotions

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  55. I am so sorry, Sharon for your Dad's passing. What a beautiful story, though. Isn't it strange how because we know the Lord, we can see the beauty in something so sad?! I loved how you shared that you have found joy in all of this. I think we misconstrue being happy with joy. Maybe often being joyful has that element but is'n't it amazing how we can find joy when things aren't the way we'd prefer? I will pray for you that you will have continued strength and peace in the coming days and months and for your mother too.

    Thanks so much for sharing this for WholeHearted Wednesdays. I'm so thankful that you did. We often hold back from sharing about the harder things in life on our blog, when we encourage others going through deep waters when we do.

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  56. Sharon, I'm so sorry for your loss. What a wonderful gift God gave to you before he passed - time spent with your father. Thinking of you and praying...

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  57. Kerrie, Leigh & JaidenFebruary 3, 2014 at 4:08 PM

    Dear Sharon, We are deeply sorry to hear about the death of your dad. We pray the love of God enfolds you during your journey through grief. We wish for you peace to bring comfort, courage to face the days ahead and loving memories to forever hold in your heart. Sent with love, Kerrie, Leigh & Jaiden xOx

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"So [I] have been greatly encouraged in the midst of [my] troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives [me] new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How [I] thank God for you!" (1 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

Thanks for your comments - it is such a joy to be sharing my journey with friends like YOU!

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