In 1960, Truett Cathy’s (founder of Chick-fil-A) restaurant, the Dwarf House in Forest Park, GA, burned to the ground overnight.
Truett was quoted later saying, “You never pick a time for a fire, but fires will come.”
And isn’t that incredibly true of life? Fires will come and go. And come again. And rarely, or never, are we prepared for it.
These fire experiences are purifying and will reveal our greater character, if we let it. God will ultimately use the purifying flames for His greater good and towards His ultimate plan.
And in truth, I have just passed through one of life’s greatest fires. The loss of a close loved one.
I have been slow in writing and slow in returning to this blog because, quite honestly, I haven’t been compelled to write. At least not for anyone but myself. In truth, I have had my heart broken and the words just simply wouldn’t come.Only recently I have felt compelled to put words to page. Or I guess in my case, fingers to the keyboard.
My sweet DatDat went to be with Jesus on May 4th.
It was sudden, and in so many ways, so completely unexpected.
He was my namesake, my person, my friend, and a confidante. I believe even if he wasn’t my granddad, the Lord would have let me meet him anyways as we were such a pair who didn’t even have to speak fully in order to be understood by the other.
And while our hearts have been broken, we have chosen not to be sad, but instead to be truly grateful. That he was ours, and we were his. And that He sought fit to bring Him home and now He is whole and healed in the presence of His Savior. And when you remind yourself of those truths, you cannot be sad. For He is good in all seasons.
And so, I wanted to share my heart with you, as I always have. And this season is no exception.
What I can tell you is that this season has been extraordinary. I have never felt the presence of the Lord more keenly than in these last 6 weeks.
I can tell you that His grace is totally and completely sufficient. WOW! I can’t get over his lavish abundance of grace- it gets heaped back on top of my head with each new day.
I can tell you that instead of crying, we sang praise and worship the entire morning that we readied for his celebration of life service. In truth, it was the ONE things that kept us all sane, focused, and aided us in putting on makeup and not losing the mascara before it was even applied.
I can tell you that nights are hard, but joy comes in the morning. Each day is new and fresh.
I can tell you that people will come out of the wood-works to love on you, to serve you and your family during this time. And you will let them, and you will feel blessed and cared for like never before. You just have to let them. I saw Jesus in the hands and feet of those around me here at home, at work, via emails and texts and phone calls, and in the words of my Pastor at the service.
I can tell you that I have a greater sense of urgency. To live. To do. To be. To go. To call. Don’t put things off if you can help it.
I can tell you that the smallest things are the most meaningful. Hang on to small tokens from those you love. I found an old birthday card he gave me last year with Cinderella on the front. Even though it was my 30th, I love the fact that he still gave me a Disney card, more than likely meant for an 8 or 9 year old, but it suits me just perfectly. I open it up sometimes when I want to hold something he held and see his handwriting.
I can tell you that tears will come, and frequently. And when they do? Let them. They are incredibly healing, restorative in a strange way, and I have stopped apologizing for them. Even when they come at inopportune times. And they’ll do that too. I can remember always apologizing a few years ago after my Nana and Pa passed away within 6 months of each other, and now almost 3 years later, I don’t want to apologize for them anymore. We love them hard, and we miss them hard. And that’s just the way that it is.
I can tell you that I now close every single conversation with friends and family with “I love you”, because who wouldn’t want those to be the last words you heard from someone, or that they heard from you? And I am glad to say that that is the last phrase Mom or I heard exit his lips before he entered eternity. And I can tell you, that is an incredible gift to give someone.
I can tell you that He is the giver of all good and perfect things! And those gifts are everywhere and in everything. Just pay a bit more attention and you will find them. And when you do, laugh a little!
I can tell you that yes, fires do come, there is certainly no prevention for it. But when they do, let them refine you, allow yourself to learn from them, and then, be sure to share those learnings, that wisdom, and those experiences with those around you… I can tell you, you won’t regret it if you do.
So, for those going through a fire, in the midst of a fire, or about to go into one, I can tell you that He is sufficient. He walks through it with you and ensures you come out the other side, maybe a tad singed, but refined by His grace and glory.
I’ll be praying for you, and I continue to ask for your prayers as well…