This week has been full of so many emotions, I can hardly keep track of how I feel. On the 8th, my mother received news that my father had passed away shortly after he was discharged from the hospital. I have a post planned in memory of him, but as of now, I feel like the sadness is too fresh for me to be capable of writing it. To make a very long story short, my father had been addicted to drugs for years. All of my life. He had several health issues, and I pray that he was able to be rid of that addiction and was brought into the arms of Jesus on the morning of June the 8th. He said that he had been saved, and I can only hope and pray that he indeed found the Lord and allowed Him to enter into his life before he passed. It seems quite surreal to me that he’s gone, and I’ve found myself missing him, having the urge to text him to see how he is doing, having the desire to hear his voice again, hear him joke with me. Have him call me and ask how his “Baby K” is. I won’t ever see him again in this life, but I have hope that I will see him in eternity, finally free from his addiction, his pain, his depression. I know this, I am thankful for the father that I had. Even though he wasn’t the ideal father, and I could never be close to him because of the lifestyle he chose to live, I loved him dearly. I loved him more than any other daughter could’ve ever loved her father. I am thankful for him. Thankful for the impact he had on me. Because of his addiction, because of the struggles he put me through, I leaned on God. Because of these trials, I was brought closer to the Lord. I have felt cast down, I have felt depressed, I have felt sad, but I know this. I was never defeated, never destroyed. Where my earthly father failed me, where he hurt me, the Lord was there, and He healed me.
“But God is the God of the waves and the billows, and they are still His when they come over us; and again and again we have proved that the overwhelming thing does not overwhelm. Once more by His interposition deliverance came. We were cast down, but not destroyed.”
― Amy Carmichael
The week before he passed away, and continuing into that very day, and even to now, the song Farther Along had been stuck in my head. I had found it on Youtube after it had been in my head for two or three days and ironically enough, found a video of Clarence Sexton of Temple Baptist Church singing it with his congregation. I listened to that video nearly nonstop the day before his passing, and that morning before. The first part of the song he sang went like this,
Often when death has taken our loved ones,
Leaving our home so lone and so drear,
Then do we wonder why others prosper,
Living so wicked year after year.
“Faithful till death,” saith our loving Master;
Short is our time to labor and wait;
Then will our toiling seem to be nothing,
When we shall pass the heavenly gate.
Soon we will see our dear, loving Savior,
Hear the last trumpet sound through the sky;
Then we will meet those gone on before us,
Then we shall know and understand why.
The Lord had been preparing me in a way with that song, and it brought me so much comfort. Knowing that one day, I will understand why. Why he had to battle with addiction. Why he had to be my father. Why he had to die so young. I will know the story behind him, and God will continue comforting me until that day.
Needless to say, my week has been emotional, and I’ve felt nearly every emotion that is possible. Happiness has been reached but only for a short time until I found myself down in the dumps again; remembering, missing my father, feeling guilty, wondering if I did enough, or too much. Thinking too many thoughts, focusing too much on negatives. Thinking about memorial services. Funerals. How he would’ve wanted things to be. But we know from God that these bad times are only temporary, and He is stronger than those waves of emotions that we feel. And after the evening service at Temple tonight, I went up to talk to Pastor Sexton, and he said something to me. He said, “Our best times with God should always be ahead of us.” We should always be striving to walk closer to the Lord, should always be focusing on doing better for God. To be doing more for God. Not for our own glory, to say that we are always improving, but for God’s glory. To truly be walking with Him. Our prayer life should always be improving. We should always be focused on doing better for the Lord. And this struck me, because this entire month has been so hard on me, so emotionally draining, and I had slid backwards in my walk with Christ. Goodness, I’ve been backsliding for the last few months. Not doing anything particularly sinful other than just not being close to Him, but I could feel it. I wasn’t focused on God like I should’ve been, not following Him like I should’ve been. I had let my best be in the past, and I was content with that. And I’ve been gradually doing better, until God weighed on me so heavily tonight that it is time for me to draw to Him completely again and remember…the best times are ahead. If I’m following God, my best times are always yet to come. He will bring me blessings, He will lead me through trials, He will protect me. Regardless of how things go, how my life ends up, where I end up, what I end up going through in life, regardless of how long I live…even if I die in the next week…the best is yet to come. Eternity is yet to come. Knowing Jesus more and more is yet to come.
Tonight at church was possibly the biggest blessing I’ve had in years. I feel far more at peace with things, excited about my walk with God. I can’t wait to see what the Lord has in store, and I want to do everything I can, walk as close to God as possible, so that my labor is not in vain, so my best is always in the future. The bad times tend to cloud our vision, but we know that God has plans for those who love Him, and those bad times are nothing compared to the amazing times God wants us to enjoy. And I’m not talking about fun things like vacations, fun church services, etc…I’m talking things that God considers to be great. Seeing others come to Him. Meeting other believers. Having doors open for us to witness, to go out and work for Him, to go on mission trips, to do what He is calling us to do. And I want to give my best to God, and I can’t do that unless I let go of my self-love, my self-life, my worries about this life, and give it all to Him.
I went to the alter, and I gave my worries to God. I’m done with the backsliding. I want to be constantly achieving more for God, to be following after Him more so I can truly say, my best is in the future.