“I love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” Psalm 18:1-2
A Dreaded Phone Call
Nearly 10 months ago, as I was pulling my bed sheets up for the night, my cell phone rang, around 10:30pm. Caller ID said it was my parent’s house, which would have meant that it was 11:30pm with an east coast time change. My heart sank. Why would anyone be calling me from that number so late at night? I could only imagine one reason, and I was right.
My Dad had battled Parkinson’s disease for several years. In the last year of his life he experienced a drastic decline at the age of 83. Everyday tasks that we take for granted were becoming nearly impossible for him. I had just seen him a few weeks prior to the phone call for Thanksgiving and while he was doing well, in so many ways I could see that he wasn’t.
Answering that phone call began a series of events. Dad had gone to the hospital, unresponsive. Best we could tell, it was time for me to quickly pack up and take a flight from Dallas to Atlanta.
The Most Difficult Experience
I don’t remember much about getting there, but once I was there it was hands down the most difficult experience of my adult life. After nearly a week on life support, once my family was convinced that it was time to let him go, we did.
We scheduled the actual day that we would release him to the Lord. There were moments when I absolutely believed that I was simply not strong enough to go through the ordeal. My husband was not able to be with me and I missed him terribly. The weight of sitting by my Dad, unable to talk to him, and understanding that I most likely would not be able to again this side of heaven, seemed unbearable.
Finding My Strength
I reached out to a dear friend in my helplessness. I cried out to God too, but God also used the prayers and encouraging words of my friends to sustain me. My friend had experienced the loss of 3 children and her husband. She confidently reminded me that the power of prayer had sustained her in ways she never felt possible. The same God was watching over me.
I will always remember waking on the day of my Dad’s death and feeling peace and my strength for the first time since I had come home. Somehow, as I entered the hospital, I didn’t feel sick to my stomach anymore. My feet were moving in the direction of incredible dread and sadness, and yet they moved with confidence. I truly experienced a peace that passed my understanding. It was not a magical day. It was not a happy day. However, there was a sense of comfort, strength and peace that ministered to my soul that day and continues to do so.
God, my strength, my rock, my refuge, my shield, my stronghold, I pray that you would bring strength today to the reader. Whatever challenge that lays before us, we want to cling to you and experience your strength. Would you sustain our weary hearts and minds and empower us with the boldness to face whatever challenge today holds. Amen.