“It’s not the news that any of us hoped that we would hear
It’s not the road we would have chosen, no
The only thing that we can see is darkness up ahead
But You’re asking us to lay our worry down and sing a song instead.” – Ellie Holcomb, “Find you Here.”
When a parent leaves, the impact they left behind is significant.
My dad left when my parents divorced when I was 9 years old. We continued to see him through the years, and made memories, both good and bad. I can remember events he missed, times he didn’t pick us up, or embarrass us with a stunt he pulled. I even recall when he came to ask to live with my husband and I, but we couldn’t take the risk because of his addictions.
All of those hurts, fears, and disappointments I placed deep inside my heart.
My whole life I have been the quintessential first born child. High strung, always wanting to be overly kind, appearing confident, joyful, and “together.” I tried not to let anyone see that under the surface life wasn’t perfect. I overcompensated for not having an involved father by depending on my own merit and strength.
Finding Jesus as a teenager, helped this greatly. I have a heavenly father, more complete than any on Earth.
Even as an adult with an amazing husband, career, great family, and wonderful friends, the impact of losing a father is significant.
“And I didn’t know I’d find You here
In the middle of my deepest fear, but
You are drawing near
You are overwhelming me, with peace.” Ellie Holcomb- “Find you Here,”
Now I am faced with a new reality. My earthly father is now gone. I am finding that in that revelation that all that remains is LOVE.
I now focus on being 3 years old and fishing. Eating out every night for a week in Kindergarten because my mom was gone and my dad burned everything. I remember the good years of him showing up at my wedding, family holidays at my Poppy’s and camping. I remember him visiting us in our first married home, bringing smoked turkey, and fixing my car several times.
My dad was flawed, there is now doubt about that. Then again, aren’t we all? He owned his own company at a young age. He was married to my mom, who is probably the most awesome lady that ever lived. He let his addiction to pride become an addiction to alcohol and drugs. Several times he would recover, only to fail again
You see, my father had addictions. Addictions that threw away a marriage, a successful business, and years with his children. Addictions he could recover from, only to relapse again. As his family we had to toe the line between being supportive, and not getting caught up in the mess.
By the grace of God, we were blessed with amazing grandparents on both sides, aunts, uncles, cousins, family friends, and of course our amazing mother. My mother kept us strong our whole lives. She continued to support my father. She knew that as soon as she learned of my father’s addictions, she had to remove her children from the situation. She made a new life for us and continues to bless us more than we deserve.
As she explained to me what happened she said, ” We can only hope he is with God now. I prayed every night he would be that dad you needed him to be.” She helped us greatly with the arrangements and has shown more grace to my father in this time than anyone could have imagined.
In my heart, I always hoped for the redemption story.
You know the one where he finally kicked his demons for good. I always hoped when Jordan or I had our own children, that they would get the BEST of him. I hoped he’d get another shot.
It’s not quite the ending we’d hoped for but, instead I have relief, thankfulness, and joy.
Relief that he passed away without suffering. Relief that the police were able to notify us quickly. Relief that he was in a better place, as he had made a profession of faith years earlier.
“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Cor. 4:17-18
Joy that he was no longer suffering. Joy that my family and friends were surrounding us. Joy that we only had to remember the good memories now. That the disappointment was over. The worry was over. All that remained was joy.
“Count it all joy, my brothers,[a] when you meet trials of various kinds,3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” -James 1:2-4
Thankfulness. We are thankful that so many people care about us and want to come beside us and support us. Thankful that I have a heavenly Father that loves me best. Thankful for the best family in the world. Thankful for my amazing husband who has been my rock, my comfort, and my guide in processing all these emotions.
“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, 4 always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. “- Phil. 1:3-5
If you are struggling with loss, or with a family member that suffers from addiction, I know my story may not look like yours. Even so, I am here for you. I feel like God led me through this valley to help others and to bring comfort and joy to them. Please let me know how I can minister to you.
My desire is to use my pain for a purpose. I want to put God right smack dab in the spotlight of this story. My prayer is that he is glorified in this time of my life.
“You say that You’ll turn my weeping into dancing
Remove my sadness & cover me with joy
You say your scars are the evidence of healing
That You can make the broken beautiful.” – Ellie Holcomb, “The Broken Beautiful”
Here are some verses/songs that have encouraged me this week.
- “The Broken Beautiful,” Ellie Holcomb
- “Be Still,” Hillary Scott
- “Find you Here,” Ellie Holcomb
- Psalm 62:2
- Psalm 18:30
- James 1:2-4
Now all that remain is LOVE. Love for a father that did the best he could. Love for a family that has shown more kindness and grace than one can imagine. Love for a risen Savior that sustains me, draws me near, helps me be still, and Loves me the best.