Today’s post is short and sweet. The past two weeks – after losing my Dad so unexpectedly – have been some of the hardest days of my life, but also some of the sweetest. Why? Because in a time of great loss, God has shown Himself greater, stronger, and more loving than I have ever known Him. He has also shown us the value of friends – real friends – and taught me some valuable lessons on what it means to be a friend.
So, I will leave you with a few thoughts on which to reflect for this week.
- Love the man or woman God gives you with all your might. Our days are numbered. You will never regret loving someone well. (cf. Job 14:5)
- Leave each other on a positive note. When you leave the house for work, or leave your sweetheart from a date, part with a kind word and gentle show of affection. We never know how long we have, and we never know if the last words we speak will be the last words our loved ones hear. (cf. Ephesians 5:18-19)
- Everyone is indeed fighting a battle. Be kind. Your anger, frustration, and harsh words will never inspire anyone to change for the better, but you might succeed in putting out a candle which was already dim. (cf. Proverbs 18:21, James 3:9-10)
- You do not have to fear someone else’s pain. You will not be able to take away his or her pain, but you can offer a hug or a shoulder. Your friends’ tears will not hurt you, but your absence in their time of need will hurt them. (I’ve made this mistake in the past and I deeply regret it.) (cf. Isaiah 61:1)
- Grief is a process you don’t have to fear. You do not have to fear your emotions; it is okay to cry. It is okay to spend some time being sad. It is not okay to stay there forever, but give yourself grace and don’t rush. If the tears come, let them come. Then wash your face, take a deep breath, and keep moving. When God gives you the strength, it is even okay to laugh. (cf. Nehemiah 8:10)
- Please say what you need to say and reconcile with whom you need to reconcile. Whatever it is, work it out if possible. Pain is real and the desire to push people away is completely understandable; but, the day is coming when the opportunity to make peace is gone. Is that a regret worth risking? Prayerfully consider reaching out to the one(s) who came to mind when you read this. Even if he or she rejects you, you know you have done all you can. “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” (Romans 12:18, ESV)
- Stay in God’s Word. No matter how much someone loves you, or how much you adore a loved one, you cannot put your trust in any human. Only God can honestly say, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5, ESV). God gives us those we love and wants us to cultivate those relationships, but our trust should always be in Him and Him alone. “In you, O Lord, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame; in your righteousness deliver me! … But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, ‘You are my God.’” (Psalm 31:1 and 14, ESV)
The first chance you get, call your mother, text your sister, give your dad a bear hug, and send flowers to the one you love. Though my heart is heavy after losing my dad (and some moments feel too painful to bear), I am so thankful to God for no regrets. Though I cannot claim to have no regrets in every area of my life, when it came to my relationship with Dad, I was able to say goodbye knowing we had no ill will between us and that I was his baby girl always and forever.
Be blessed this week. Push aside and repent of those distractions which keep you from walking closely with Christ. Love on people. It is so worth it.
Love much while you can.