Celebrating birthdays one moment. Saying goodbye to a loved one, the next.
My sweet, wonderful sister-in-law lost her father last week.
I've tried several times to write about this in the last few days. Each time, I've stopped and deleted it. I just don't have the right words. The thing is, I didn't know Lisa's dad very well. I could probably count on one hand the times I've met him. And, yet, his daughter has become so much a part of our family... Naturally, when you see someone you love hurting... you hurt FOR them.
Jacob and Lisa are only in their twenties, but they've been together for what seems like forever. :) (...in a good way, mind you!) They were highschool sweethearts, so we've basically watched them grow up together! I have pictures of them all dressed up in formal attire for their highschool banquets... Later, in their caps and gowns, at graduation. :) My little boy was the ringbearer in their wedding. :) We've watched them move into their first home. We were all elated when they announced that they were expecting their first baby last fall! And this summer, we celebrated as their gorgeous, healthy, little boy entered our world... the 6th grandchild on our side. On Lisa's side, this little one is the first.
Although I've not been with Lisa's parents throughout each event, it goes without saying that they've shared their daughter with us all these years. An affection grows, in having that connection with family. No, I didn't know Lisa's dad all too well, but I know his daughter. I've watched her grow from a cute, young, insecure teenage girl... into a beautiful, loving, nurturing wife and mother. She has woven her way into the hearts of all of us... not just that of her husband (my brother)... but all four of his siblings, as well as our mom and dad. And that's not always the easiest thing to do, I'll admit. We so love her. (I don't even think we girls mind so much that Lisa's our dad's favorite anymore! Haha!) :)
The last several weeks, I've watched her support her parents unwaiveringly. My mom watched little Benjamin, while Lisa went to every doctor's appointment, stayed for every test, and often stayed with her mother to help her care for her dad. My brother supported her every step of the way.
Then, this week, I watched her say goodbye to her daddy. She maintained strength, beauty, and grace. She stayed by her mother's side... and leaned on my sweet, baby brother.
My pastor is preaching an entire series on Psalm 23. I've never given these verses so much thought, until now.
The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
This morning, my pastor made a comment about how hard we work to keep our physical bodies healthy and strong... but we spend so little time and attention on the state of our souls... the part of our beings that are actually eternal.
I am reminded of how temporary life is.
I am reminded to treasure the people I love.
I am reminded to say "I love you."
I am reminded to slow down.
To place more value on my soul than on my body.
To spend time alone with God.
And I want to remember not to forget...
He leadeth me, he leadeth me,
by his own hand he leadeth me;
his faithful follower I would be,
for by his hand he leadeth me.
And when my task on earth is done,
when by thy grace the victory's won,
e'en death's cold wave I will not flee,
since God through Jordan leadeth me.
Image by Laura Ketteman
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