Seven days before my dad’s surgery this summer, I wrote a story about my daughter and daddy’s surgery on Facebook. Three days before his surgery I shared it here.
Yesterday, September 19, my dad posted the following Church Sign quote on his church’s Facebook page: “Don’t dig up in doubt what you planted in faith.”
Before reading the devotion that followed, I immediately raced back in time to July 23…
The day before my dad’s surgery I left Richmond to drive to Norfolk.
I was petrified. I hadn’t felt that until that very moment.
You see, I woke up that morning with the plan to go out to camp for “church” camp style. Jonathan Thayer was bringing the Word to our staff and teens that morning and I love the messages he lays on us.
As I was getting ready I felt such a weight… I knew I wanted to be at my church home, Fairmount, and hear our minister, Rick, preach. I knew I wanted to worship with my church family before heading to Norfolk to spend days with my blood family.
Leaving home, Oh My Soul by Casting Crowns came on the radio. I didn’t really hear the first verse, but as I turned left from Ellerbee onto Royerton the chorus of the song started.
The chorus says:
“Oh my soul you are not alone.
There’s a place where fear has to face the God you know.
One more day; He will make a way.
Let Him show you how, you can lay this down.”
THERE’S A PLACE WHERE FEAR HAS TO FACE THE GOD YOU KNOW.
That line hit me like a ton of bricks.
My daddy’s surgery was going to be the moment where My Fear had to face My God.
I want to interject here that while I was late to 9:30, I made it before communion and got to hear Scott Mullins sing Rich Mullins’ Hold Me Jesus. You want to have God step down into your mess and speak right to you? Be at the end of your faith and pray for a miracle.
Here are the lyrics for the first verse and chorus:
Well, sometimes my life just don’t make sense at all
When the mountains look so big,
And my faith just seems so small
So hold me Jesus,
Cause I’m shaking like a leaf
You have been King of my glory
Won’t You be my Prince of Peace
Friends, I have never been so scared in my entire life.
Not in Haiti when our tiny plane took off from the Port-au-Paix dirt runway airport and the pilot turned around (yes, TINY plane) and told us someone had ciphoned off the gas and that we’d have to make an unplanned landing in Cap Haitian to refuel.
Knowing that the surgeon, who is RENOWN for heart surgery, would be cutting 1/4 of my father’s heart out and rebuilding it was terrifying.
I left Fairmount and went to have lunch with my camp crew. Then I said my goodbyes, taking a picture with everyone so that I’d have a camp picture even though I was not officially part of my own week this summer, and hit the road to Norfolk.
I willed “Oh My Soul” and “Thy Will Be Done” to play as I traveled throughout that day. I am ministered to and I love to minister through music. It’s been years since I sang on a stage, but it burns in my soul to share God’s Word through music.
I was gifted hearing both of them more than once as I switch stations near Williamsburg.
I was okay on Sunday. I really was. We hung in the room with Mama and Daddy until after 10:00, then headed for a “family” room that Warren had rented for the two of us. I could barely sleep and was up again around 4 AM when Warren got up to go help daddy with his last wipe down. I couldn’t get back to sleep, so I packed up and headed to daddy’s hospital room. Around 5 AM it was just the four of us. I pulled up the Rich Mullins song and did my best to read the words through my sobs.
Mama asked that we each pray as we held hands. I. Couldn’t. Say. A. Word.
Oh, I was praying I just couldn’t vocalize anything but sobs. It was awful…
Then we were supposed to sing the Doxology – something my mom, brother, and I can sing in beautiful harmony. I couldn’t make a sound besides something that sounded like a whine.
I just have never been so scared in my entire life.
The Episcopal Priest that had been sent to us weeks before by one of daddy’s high school friends came and anointed daddy (me, still sobbing) and prayed with us.
Then friends from Richmond and beyond started showing up.
Then friends from Richmond and beyond started showing up.
They took daddy to the prep area, allowing us to go with him.
Warren and Sharon Grubbs showed up there to hold our hands and pray with us.
The very new middle school youth minister from Northside showed up to pray with us. We really liked him. He could’ve been so uncomfortable in the face of our fear – we were total strangers to him – but he rock that visit out. I need to tell someone at Northside about that…
Then, they said it was time and we got to walk with him to a set of doors. I stayed on one side of his bed down the hall, in the elevator and to those doors where I did my best to say “See you later” with a smile that likely looked more like a grimace.
Then we walked through the doors and I fell completely apart in my brother’s arms.
**Sidenote – I don’t know what possessed me to write this right now – I’m sitting at my computer sobbing hysterically and have to leave for work in 10 minutes. But daddy’s sign quote has stuck with me for 24 hours so I guess I needed to address it.**
Friends, there is a place where our fear has to face our God.
In the Bible there are 365 instances of “Do not fear” in some form of wording… One for every day of the year. But that mattered not one iota to me that day.
It was me, holding the fear of losing my daddy, facing my all powerful, all loving, all knowing God. He knew I was full of fear. He know I was full of doubt that he had a miracle for me.
And while I got my miracle that day, we don’t always, do we?
One more song before I sign off… This one is SO POPULAR right now, but do we really mean the words? I pray that I do because I sing it with all my heart and as loud as I can when it comes on. Even If by MercyMe
EVEN IF my miracle didn’t come – MY HOPE IS IN JESUS.
Where is yours?
If you don’t have a place to focus your hope, let’s talk.
Because God can meet you right where you are – in darkness, in heartache, in FEAR.
He can take our sorrow and our hurt when we’re willing to hand it over.
Sometimes He allows us to wear it and suffer through the unthinkable, but He’s still right there… holding us up.
I needed my daddy’s surgery this summer to KNOW that my faith was in God.
To know that if my worst fear came to pass, I’d be okay.
I’d have My God to hold me. He’s faithful. He’s good.
Even when our fear looms so very large.
God loves you, friend.