Last Sunday afternoon I woke up from a pretty good nap, FaceTimed with my mom and dad, and rushed off to Staples to pick up a new Erin Condren planner that I ordered Saturday night. I happily began using my sticky notes, sharpies, stickers, decorative tape, and planner supplies to map out the week ahead. I had clients lined up, a few errands to run for the kids, and an exciting tiny tot triathalon was scheduled for both of my youngest sons. Less than 12 hours later, instead of reviewing what I had written and thinking about the plans for the week, I simply turned the page to the next week. No matter how many plans you or I make, God is absolutely in control. His ways are not our ways so sometimes we yield to His plans knowing that what He has for us is best. Even in the midst of tough situations, I know that God loves me and His presence is with me.
In the middle of the night-early Monday morning (around 2 a.m. we got several phone calls from my mom) and my dad passed away. I didn't go back to sleep. I couldn't. The shocking news in combination with my already crazy sleep patterns due to pregnancy just kept me wide awake. I am still in shock. I am still not ready to do what must be done during the next few days. I am still a little bit scared, confused, mad, and overwhelmed all at the same time. Reflection time with God (most of all), writing, and praise and worship music have been my saving grace.
My heart breaks mostly for my mom and my grandmother. My heart breaks for my oldest son who loved to play checkers with my dad. How I wish they had played just one more game while dad was in the hospital. My heart breaks for my sweet baby girl who knows and recognizes her papa's picture right now, but will probably not have memories of the amazing grandfather that my dad was. When Mr. Perry explained the situation to my boys, my youngest son said, "That is a very sad kind of news. Does that mean papa is in heaven?" This brought sadness and joy to my heart all at once. What a precious revelation for a four year old to realize that someone he loved so dearly was now with Jesus.
I spent just over 34 years with my dad (34 years and 2 months-exactly). Praise God for that extra year and 2 months. They were a gift. That's a little more than the same amount of time that Jesus walked the earth and taught. I'm not saying that my dad was Jesus. Please don't think I'm making that statement. I will say that right about now I'm wishing he wasn't so great of a teacher. I wish he hadn't shared quite as much wisdom with me, my siblings, and others just yet. I wish there was just a little longer to learn, to observe, and to ask questions. My heart longs to have just one more conversation. To ask just one more question about design or business or parenthood. It would be worth all the money in the world.
So what have I learned? What am I learning? I'm not exactly sure right now. I think I'm learning to just sit, be still, and listen. I'm learning that I can't just write down whatever I want in my planner and expect it to happen. Planning is important (and highly necessary for a large family like mine), but I need to remember that God may have other plans sometimes. So while I'm sad and grieving the loss of the man who my heart belonged to before Mr. Perry, I have an incredible peace. I am thankful for many friends who are lifting me up in prayer, and those prayers are needed more now than ever before.
I am blessed to have so many wonderful memories from my childhood, teenage years, college years, and adulthood with my dad. There are many people who have never even met their dad, who had a dad who didn't want to develop a relationship, or had a negative relationship with them. My story is quite different. I had a dad who told me I was pretty, smart, and valuable. I had a dad who treated my mom with love and respect. I had a dad who was the best grandpa ever. I had a dad who could build anything. I had a dad who worked hard every single day. I had a dad who gave so much of himself and invested his life into living a life that reflects the beauty of Christ. While my heart aches tremendously right now, I know that with time, prayer, and God's love it will heal. I have joy and peace most of all because I know that today my dad's heart is completely healed, whole, and perfect.