Day 3: Friday, March 8th, 2019

Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

Isaiah 43:2: “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”

 

March 8th 2014. It was a Saturday. A day I purposefully tried to prepare for every waking moment for almost 3-weeks. I prayed, I cried, I read the books, I got angry, I was regretful, I talked to people, and then I prayed and prayed and prayed some more…for peace in my heart to not fall into the despair I felt so many years ago and for so many years after the saddest day of my life. Yet, I was so completely unprepared for the day, or any day thereafter. I was blindsided by a feeling that words couldn’t describe as my daddy went home to be with my sister, Vicki, and his mom, dad, sister, and brother in Heaven. It was not despair. It was not anger. It was, as best as I can describe it in words…peace in my heart and a feeling of absolute faith in God’s promise.

About 14 years prior to Daddy’s passing, my best friend in the universe, my sister, Vicki, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly just a few weeks after rallying back from a 14-hour surgery to fix some of the ravages that cancer had left behind. Friday, October 20, 2000, about 4:00 a.m., I got the call…and I thought, “That’s it. No more ‘believer’ in this gal. I’m done. Thanks be NOT to GOD. What God? What God would leave me here to LIVE in this heartache? To watch my parents LIVE in the greatest sadness a parent could experience?” (I say ‘live IN the sadness because, for me, it has never ceased to be any less sad than the moment it happened. Not one ounce of sadness has ever left my heart.)

Somewhere along my walks and talks (okay, ‘talks’ might be putting it mildly…I screamed, cried, begged, and beat my fists on the ground as I fell to my knees in the middle of the trail) with Jesus and God over that 14-year span, I began saying, “I HAVE to believe that there IS a God, that there IS a Heaven. Because I cannot live this life without BELIEVING that I will be reunited with Vicki with all the love and joy that we had every moment of her existence on Earth! I HAVE to believe in that…otherwise, what’s the point of living at all?”

Through repeated efforts of everyone around me and just an overwhelming feeling of having a pointless existence in this world, I made the journey back to ‘believing’ in that which I cannot understand, but that which I cannot live without–hope and faith that it’s all true. And when my daddy passed away, there was no anger in me for God, despite the immense sadness. All I’ve felt since that moment through today is…at peace and ready to join Daddy and Vicki in the joy of His kingdom whenever He calls me home.

Prayer: Dear Lord, I pray that You continue to fill my heart with peace throughout the most unimaginable sadness as my family and friends are called home to You in the coming days of my life. I pray that through my tears and even my anger, that You know that I am Your faithful servant on this Earth today, tomorrow and every day until You bless me with the gift of all gifts–everlasting life with those I love in the house of the Lord. Amen.

 

Contributed by Nessa Austin