Thursday, April 16, 2009

Pain and Prayers

Dear Friends,
It's been a tough day over here.

I just miss my Dad.

There really have been times lately where I feel as if I have taken huge steps in the right direction. A couple days will go by with maybe only a tear or two shed, hours will go by where I don't notice the dull ache in my heart that has been there since he passed away, and I will even find that I have been smiling and laughing without the constant thought running through my mind of, "My Dad just died".

But then days like today come along, and I am thrown, hurled, catapulted right back to square one. Every part of my body hurts, from the inside out. My breath is caught in my chest as pictures of him when he was alive, and strong, and healthy run like a slideshow through my head. And then the tears, oh the tears, flow with abandon, until ironically my eyes seem to dry out while the tears still continue to pour onto my cheeks.

Dad, I miss you. I need you here. I can't do these days without you. I'm too young to not have a father, for my kids to not have you as their grandfather, for Mom to be reduced to one of the two that she was a part of for almost forty years. There just wasn't enough time, Dad. I didn't get the chance to learn everything I needed to know from you. I want you here, I want you healthy, I want you back. Living without you doesn't seem like life. This is just too hard...

Friends, can I tell you what one of the main things is that I am missing most about my Dad? One of the things that reminds me at every turn of the gravity his loss brings along with it? It's that beyond being a wise leader, beyond being a compassionate soul, beyond loving me and supporting me with everything he had, he prayed for me. Everyday. On his knees. Whether I asked him to or not. I knew every night as I crawled into my bed that I had been lifted up by him at some point during the day, and my name had been spoken before the Lord. Many times I didn't know exactly what was said, exactly what he saw in my life that day which he felt needed to be laid down at the foot of the Throne, but I was placed there with the unshakable faith that God would take care of me. Can our earthly love go any deeper than that? The constant, daily surrender of those we hold most dear to the God above, knowing that our power and protection have multiple limitations, but our God's does not. Recognizing that there are so many things that we simply cannot guarantee our loved ones, but then giving them the one thing we can... the habitual, daily offering up of their lives into the hands of Christ.

Oh, how I miss that. How I miss the security that comes with having my own, personal prayer warrior. Of having in my corner a man who felt called, who felt it was his duty, to bow down on my behalf every single day. And this also makes me grieve desperately for what this loss means for my children, and for their cousins, and for my husband, and for my mother, and for my siblings, and for their spouses, and for so, so many of you... because rest assured none of your names were far from mine on his list, and he prayed for all of us, without fail, every day of his life.

And it is this thought that is bringing me to my knees in despair today. To not have that daily prayer to rely on makes this gaping, heart-shaped hole he left behind seem to grow infinitely, endlessly bigger. I feel more vulnerable, more open to the attacks of this world, and subsequently, even more lost without him here.

But, as always, I can feel the Holy Spirit once again working through my pain. And right now he is telling me that this sadness, and this loss, need not be in vain. Prayers can still be offered up. Maybe not by my father on our behalf in the same capacity that they used to be, but prayers for God's children nonetheless. Today there is something that I can do, something that will help to fill that void, something that can bring glory to His name, and once again it involves you.

Over the last year or so, God has layed on my heart the responsibility of what it really means when I tell someone that I will be keeping them in my prayers. Oftentimes I would find myself saying this to someone almost as a way of letting them know that I cared about them. Flippantly throwing around the phrase "I'll pray for you", and then not following through by actually doing it. I would mean it wholeheartedly at the time, but then I would either just plain forget, or I would do it once or twice and feel as if I had fulfilled my promise. But this is far from the way God views this pledge I am making to His people. I was reminded in a Bible study yesterday that God never forces us into making a vow of any kind, but when we do make one, he expects us to keep it. And this truth very much hit home with me. And it also strengthened my resolve to become a prayer warrior myself, both in honor of my father, and because it is one more way I can show my Lord that I love Him, and in turn that I love and care for His hurting people.

So today I wanted to invite you, if you feel so moved, to share with me anything in your life that you would like to be lifted up in prayer. If you are hurting, if you are empty, if you just need some encouragement, I promise you, I vow to you, in front of my Maker, that you will find me on my knees on your behalf every single day until I am told otherwise. I know what a difference the knowledge of someone daily speaking to the Lord for you can make in a life, and I am willing, if you so desire, to do my part in yours. Whether you are someone who my father was praying for, and you, too, miss having that assurance in your life, or whether you did not know my Dad at all and just need someone to support you, let me bow down with you and help lift your requests up to the King. Please don't feel obligated to share specifics if it makes you uncomfortable, they are not necessary. God knows your story, and knows your needs before they ever leave our lips. You can find me at I've got my kneepads on, and I am ready to go.

Philippians 4:6-7 "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."

Dear Lord in heaven,

I pray this day trusting that you know my heart, and you know the hearts of all who are reading these words. You understand the depths of our suffering, our guilt, our doubts, and our fears. You feel our pain, you empathize with our sorrow, you've seen our tears, and you are longing for us to feel whole again. Lord, there are many of us hurting right now, for so many different reasons. And I know this is why You have given us the ability to commune with each other, and to commune with You. Please give me the strength and the endurance to come alongside Your people whom You so treasure. Help me learn to love them as You love them, and in my prayers, Lord, let us see Your power revealed. As I come before You today I ask that Your ears are open to our requests, that Your grace overwhelms us, that Your mercy is rained down upon us, that Your comfort is undeniably felt by us, and that Your peace becomes a part of our innermost being. We need You, Lord. We love You. We bow down before You. Hear the prayers of Your people.

In Your Holy Name,


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