10:13 AM

I've never walked such a hard road in the (almost) 6 years I've been saved than I have in these last 6 months. Death can really take a toll on you and your faith. My grandmother, my miscarriage, and then my dad. It's all too much heartache at one time to even bare most days. In my quest of "why" I've found that I just wanted to walk away from this whole thing. Salvation, Jesus, God, church, Christianity....all of it. I just wanted out. If this was what was going to happen, God would take people from me...then I wanted out. That's what I've thought these last two weeks more than ever. I just. Want. Out. I could scream it to the top of my lungs and probably still not believe it though. I don't walk this road with the Lord because it's easy or comfortable. It's the exact opposite. C.S. Lewis said "I didn't go to religion to make me 'happy'. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don't recommend Christianity." Nothing ever really shook my faith before this. I've honestly stood on solid ground through the entirety of these last 6 years. Even with minor hurt and questions and seasons, I've just stood on solid ground. So, when the ground started breaking beneath me I thought about running. It would feel better to run than it would to stand here while it shakes.

But I can't walk away. I never could and I never will. That doesn't speak on what an amazing Christian I am or how big my faith is. It speaks on how amazing my God is and how He is ALWAYS faithful even when I'm faithless. There was a time when I lived without God and it was the worst time of my life. And still while I ignored Him and turned my back on His face, He relentlessly pursued me. He didn't stop because I made it hard. He kept on pushing and whispering and loving me. He didn't give up and I can't give up now. Because even while this whole ordeal hurts like hell I've still never known peace like this. A peace that flows in and out of my soul even in the midst of pain. I still have hope. I still have a Kingdom I'll be in one day where I will have the most beautiful reunion with my dad and we will hold hands while we worship the Father who so selflessly gave His son for us so that we could be right there in that moment together. And that son who could have walked away just as easily as I could, shed his blood to make a way for me, for my dad, for my husband, and for my children.

Grief and mourning aren't necessarily new to me but losing a parent takes on a whole new form. It's weird and tricky. Even after you're married and start a family of your own, you still lost someone who you saw day in and day out for so many years. Majority of those years were spent in attitude and teen angst; disliking all of the times he said no and begging him to say yes. Never understanding that he was trying to protect me. And without God we wouldn't have been able to restore our relationship. I wouldn't have been able to experience a father/daughter relationship the way it was meant to be if He hadn't wrecked me and gave me new life. While I will never understand why that exact moment was the time the Lord chose to call my dad Home, I am so thankful that He called him to a Home that I will one day share with him. I am thankful for 5 years of restoration. I am thankful he walked me down the aisle and gave me away to another man who now protects me. I am thankful he spent 2 years loving his first grand baby. I am thankful he loved my mom and gave me Charlotte as a sister when she was just 4 years old. I am thankful he always helped me move to a new apartment even though he was tired and his body was weak. I am thankful for small moments spent out in the garage together just talking about nothing and everything. I am thankful for the time and space he allowed me to have when I went away to college. I am thankful for the countless years he loved me even when I was rebellious and wild. I am thankful he never gave up on me.

He spent more years wrapped in addiction than he did walking with the Lord but the biggest picture I see is the VICTORY his story tells. His testimony colors the picture of perseverance so perfectly. It shows that he struggled and sinned but that God can change any life, at any age, and at any season.  His story reminds me why I can't give up and walk away. My dad's life will be a reminder always of the purpose the pain has. The Lord loves my dad so much that He saw his broken body and chose to take him to a place where his body is whole and his pain is completely wiped away. He gives and takes away and while he takes away He still remains good and He still remains God.

It's the first of September which means football season is well under way. I laid on Kaleb's chest the other night and soaked his shirt with my tears as I thought out loud about how hard these months will be. My dad would have texted me the day OU had their first game. He would have given me an updated score at half time and the final score (in which I don't doubt they will win) before wrapping up the night with what day and time the next game would be. He did this even though he knew I wasn't the biggest football fan. I think he was always secretly determined to try and make me one and so this year I'll be a fan for him. He purchased tickets for him and Kaleb to go see the Baylor vs. OU game in November and while I hate that they don't get to go watch it together, Kaleb and I will go. We'll stand there and cheer because that's what my dad would have done. And it'll be a small reminder that we can make all of the plans we want to in life but the Lord orders our steps. 

Take this mountain weight, take these ocean tears
Hold me through the trial. Come like hope again.
Even when my strength is lost I'll praise you
Even when I have no song I'll praise you
Even when it's hard to find the words
Louder then I'll sing your praise

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