Remembering God’s gift of peace

He hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. Psalm 34:17

In June of 1995 my father died rather unexpectedly. I can remember it like it was yesterday getting the call at work from my husband saying “Come home. We have to go now.”

My parents were four hours away. The drive was excruciating.

I called everyone I knew – family, friends, co-workers and just said “Pray.” pray

I called my brother and said I’m sorry. I was the one who told him that he didn’t need to make the trip from Texas because Dad was fine. But, I also told him to hurry. Get here as fast as he could.

And, I thought about my mom. Alone, scared, not well herself.  And I blamed myself.

I shouldn’t have come home. I should have stayed with her. Yes, I had planned to return to their home the next day, but now that obviously  wasn’t good enough.

If only…

When we arrived at the hospital, in the middle of the night, my husband dropped me off and took our boys to my mom’s to put them back to bed. I promised they could see their grandfather the next day.

I didn’t keep that promise.

When I walked into ICU, he was hooked up to all kinds of tubes and there was a doctor standing at the foot of his bed waiting for me.

A heart attack followed by a stroke caused by the medicine they gave him to treat the heart attack.

He was brain dead. I couldn’t let my boys see him this way. Not their grandfather who they both adored.

My mom didn’t want to hear it. The aunts and uncles, my brother, my grandmother, they were all on their way. We would get him through.

That was the most stressful week of my entire life.

But, on the night before he died, I got on my knees and I asked my Heavenly Father to comfort me. To hold me. To tell me everything was going to be okay because I didn’t know if I could survive without my dad. See he was the person I went to for everything, the one I depended on, the one who made everything in my world okay.

As God the Father wrapped his arms around me, I realized that I had allowed earthly things to replace the role of Abba in my life. And He means it when He says He will do whatever He has to do to bring His children back to Him.

He took my dad

But He gave me His peace instead.20130327-081215

A peace I never knew could exist before that night.

A love I had never before experienced.

And I lived that peace for the next ten years without question.

Through the weeks of burying my father, closing up their house, moving my mom, who was ill with Parkinson’s closer to my family, dealing with her illness. I had peace through all of that.

But, in May of 2010, my mom passed away.

And my peace left me.

In its place has been stress.

What did I do wrong? How could I have saved her?

If only I had been a better daughter.

If only I had been a better caregiver.

If only I had tried harder.

See, my peace was replaced by “if onlys” and I’m ready to  give them back!

I want that peace again. The kind that only God can give.

That’s why I’m doing the Stressed-Less Living Bible study and that’s the gift of Christmas I’m reaching out for right now.

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