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Grief is a Funny Beast

Grief is a funny beast. One minute you’re driving to Costco and the next silent tears are streaming down your face. It’s the little things that trigger it-- tufts of alyssum like the ones from your father’s garden, sunlight glinting off your baby’s hair, the dancing mirth in your third-born’s eyes, flecked with green and gold. Dallas was a middle child, too. His eyes were also hazel. But 2017 robbed us of this great hulk of a man. In one shocking moment, father and Grandpa slipped into eternity, an untimely death that left our throats choked with unspoken goodbyes.

What could console us when this dark night came?

We needed the Heavenly Father's presence like a balm.

What could make the glory of the Lord descend on our shattered hearts?

We found it was the faith of the next generation.

“On the eighth day Moses called Aaron and his sons and the elders of Israel… And Moses said, “This is the thing that the Lord commanded you to do, that the glory of the Lord may appear to you.” Leviticus 9

When grief choked my mother’s prayers, it was her daughter who stood beside her and reminded her that God was still good. When that same daughter couldn’t see through her own angry tears, it was her four small sons who brought their unfaltering faith. They consoled with chubby-armed hugs, unexpected wisdom and an unshakable understanding that God was still for us. Apparently, we’d each managed to pass the baton of our beliefs. When the day of fiery trial came, we found that our faith could stand. And our children’s faith. And our children’s children’s faith. They stood beside us in the bright spots of ministry life, but they were there in the shadows, too. They linked arms with us and said, I will sit with you. I will grieve with you. I will wait on the healing presence of the Lord with you. My faith will be strong when yours is weak because YOU taught me well.

In this lenten season, how are you investing in your own family's legacy of faith?

Have you taken time for the daily and unglamorous discipleship of your own children or spiritual children?

When difficult days descend, will they stand with you and lift up your flagging arms?

Do you have peace that when you leave this broken world behind, their faith will persist for a thousand generations, just like Aaron and his sons whose priestly blessing has become the anthem of our day?

My sweet middle child ever reminds me-- “It’s not like Heaven’s that far away, Mommy.” And I think, yah, my precious boy- It’s right next door. Let’s pack up a basket of his favorites-- half a cantaloupe, two poached eggs and a stack of burnt toast. We’ll ring the doorbell and chat awhile. He’ll tell you funny stories and the sparkle in his amber eyes will be reflected in your own. He’ll give you a giant bear hug and remind you to read your Bible and I’ll have peace that his faith lives on-- in me and in you and in countless generations to come.

For additional reading on the subjects of grief and faith, I highly recommend Prayer in Night by Tish Harrison Warren. Get your copy here.

Originally submitted to Traces of Faith Blog for a series of Lenten Devotionals

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