Tuesday, October 19, 2010

God's Grace

What is GRACE? By definition it is a virtue from God, an exercise of love, kindness, mercy, favor; disposition to an act or instance of kindness, courtesy or privilege conferred.

I can testify to the fact that I have felt God's Grace. Now I am not talking about the day to day Grace of God. Not the I am healthy Grace of God. Not the I am blessed my family loves me Grace of God. Not the I have everything I need Grace of God. I am talking about specific times in my life when I believe God is speaking directly to my heart. Times when I am reminded that He is guiding me and I am not aware of it until the moment passes. Times when the only answer or explanation for what's happening in my life is to look UP and be thankful my God is loving.

Are you curious as to what I am referring to? Please, let me explain...

It's no secret that the passing of my Dad has my heart broken in two. I miss him so much and my eyes continue to bubble over like champagne. I comprehend the finality of death better than most. Goodbye is permanent. I will not see my Dad or talk to him ever again on this side of Heaven. The reality of this continues to drop me to my knees.

So I pray...

God, I do not understand why You numbered my Dad's days so few. He was good, loving, and kind. He gave of his heart ten fold. He was (and still is) your faithful servant. It is hard to understand why he could not stay a little while longer. Each time You call a loved one of mine home a part of me goes with them. Part of me is relieved Elise is no longer alone. I know my Dad has her giggling. He's bouncing her on his knee. He's singing, "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star." He's teaching her the words to Ava's lullaby. He's playing Peek-a-Boo and I'm gonna get ya'." He's dancing with her hand in hand while she stands on his feet. He's calling her his PRETTY! He's filling her belly with candy from his pockets. He's taking her fishing. He's telling her the greatest stories ever told. He's sharing his smile and great booming laugh with her. He's telling her about all of us who miss her so much. He's making it okay for her as he once did for all of us.

So, why God does my heart weep? Why is it not enough to make my heart sing for the two of them? Did you create me so selfish that I cannot let go? The world we live in is harsh and my Dad could make most anything better. I feel as though our family's been wrongly cheated of so many memories we still wish to have with him. I feel as though my Dad was cheated too. He was only given a sliver of time with his grandchildren, some of whom are not even thought of or born. He only watched me parent Ava for a year. There's so much more I still want to share with him. Forgive me God for questioning the wisdom of  Your love. At times I feel lost in this world so big. Since my earthly father is no longer here to ease life's unfairness will You? Will You guide me through my middle years, calm my fears, and fill my heart with peace? Can You mend my broken heart and help me to understand some of Your plan. In God's name I pray... Amen.

I think that it is also safe to say October is a hard month for my family, especially this year. Elise past away on the twelfth of October and my Dad's birthday falls on the twelfth. During the month of September I was in agony just thinking about the approaching month and the hard days that lie ahead. My Dad was one of my greatest supporters in my grief journey. I was feeling anxious about going through it this year without him. Without him here to talk to me about my feelings. Without him here to offer me his usual speech starting with, "Oh honey," followed by something profound and full of wisdom. I mentally prepared for this month by looking at some old pictures of Walk to Remember and Elise's birthday parties with my Dad present. I cried and gave myself time to mourn for him and the past. It was in allowing myself to walk through the valley of the shadow of death that I found God waiting for me. I felt His Grace!

Here are a few of the pictures I looked at from 2008.

(I also looked at 2009 pictures but since I recently posted a blurb on Walk to Remember and Elise's 2nd Birthday so I am not going to repost all of them again. However, I will refresh your memory by showing you one picture that I didn't post in that entry. Please try and keep all of the 2008 & 2009 pictures in your mind because they are significant to where I am going with all of this.)

Walk to Remember 2008... my Dad seemed to always stand in back of me. In fact he always had my back!

I will forever miss his radiant smile... I would do anything to hear him laugh again.

Elise's Resting Place 2008... On her 1st Birthday...

The view from the backside of her stone... I must say again how I love her new photo tile this year.

My dear nephew and niece, Jack & Emma, sending Elise balloons for the 1st time. It warms my heart each time they think of Elise and how connected they are to her despite how young they were when we lost her. Emma talks about Elise all the time and dreams about her still. They both agree Elise is very lucky to have Grandpa Barron with her in Heaven. We all do!

My family & friends gathering for Elise's first memorial celebration 2008...

This was of me reading the "We Remember Her" prayer...

Our 1st balloon release 2008...

One photo to refresh your memory from Elise's memorial 2009...

Did you notice what I did? The first time I looked at all of these pictures from both 2008 to 2009 it jumped out at me. My Dad is standing in the exact place he is buried both years. Is it the work of God or merely a coincidence? I have a hard time believing it is by random chance that he is standing in the exact same place both years as he is now resting. I believe this because my parents didn't have any burial places selected until after my Dad past away. It wasn't until mid May of this year when I personally picked his resting place from our plot in Rusk Cemetery. I can assure you that I wasn't thinking about Elise's previous celebrations and or where he was standing to pick out where he would be buried.

I thought about this for a while. In fact, I had started to write about this just before the Walk to Remember 2010 but I ran out of time. I wasn't done digesting it and I wasn't sure how to word it and have it make sense enough for those of you reading. I hope you are following me and see where I am going in all my rambles. I will do my best to explain something I believe to be bigger than me and more profound than I can truly interpret.

I believe God speaks to us in abstract ways. I believe He is all around us if we are willing to open our eyes and see. I believe He has a plan and nothing is by chance. I believe my Dad was meant to be standing in life in the exact place he is resting now to bring me comfort and peace of mind. I believe this is God's way of answering a small prayer of a faithful servant. He is guiding me, comforting me, and helping ease my anxious heart. He's allowing me to make sense of something that makes no sense at all. He's bringing me peace just like I prayed for. Our God is loving, kind, and GRACIOUS... Just like my earthly Father!

Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the throne of God's unmerited favor to us sinners), that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in good time for every need [coming just when we need it]. Hebrews 4: 16

As hard of a month as this has been I have felt the GRACE of GOD. This thought process could not have come at a better time. It brings me comfort knowing my Dad is right where he has been and will always be. No he's not standing on the Earth's surface where I want him to be but he is quietly resting just below. He will always be with us at our family gatherings in the cemetery. My Dad will live on forever in our hearts. Now it is his job to help Elise catch all of our balloons from the greatest seat in the house, Heaven! Due to the fact I know where I am going to be buried someday (right in front of my Dad and next to Elise) I know he will continue to have my back until the end of time.

God,Thanks for showing me Your Grace and for answering one small prayer with such perfect timing. Sincerely, Your forever faithful servant.


  1. This so moving having lost my husband in 2007 this just speaks so strongly to my heart. God directed me here... He has been speaking so strongly to me about his grace and love.. God bless you!!

  2. I was just reading through 1 Timothy and turned the page to start 2 Timothy and read verse 2, which says "May God our Father and Christ Jesus out Lord give you grace, mercy, and peace." So I decided, since I often pray for those same 3 things, I wanted to find pictures. When I typed "God's grace" into the search bar, your picture poem "God's Grace Enables Me" showed up and I HAD to find where it came from.

    I'm only 19 years old, but I lost my father when I was 9. God directed me to the line in your post about feeling cheated. How true that feeling can be... What is even truer, though, is that God's grace beams down on us in so many ways. It's impossible to ignore! Your father sounds like an amazing and wonderful person, and I wish it wasn't God's plan to bring him home so soon. I remember someone saying to me after my dad's funeral, "God likes to bring the good ones home as soon as he can." It made me feel blessed and loved by GOD to know that He let my dad stay for as long as he did. God's patience is incredible.

    My prayers are with you and your father and Elise and your whole family. Ava is beautiful.

  3. Gods Grace is amazing ... After just sending a motivational message to a friend who has just lost his dad I typed in Gods grace and your testimony came up. I lost my dad in 2010 just before my 21st birthday and through all the pain and questions I too couldnt avoid feeling Gods love. He is able to touch us in the simplest ways just to remind us that he will never leave nor forsake us. I think those pictures were your dads way of showing you that his where he belongs with God and Elise. May your story touch many hearts and may Gods love continue to overflow in both you and your families lives