As January came to a close, I decided to write a “Because of Grace List” where I shared some of my accomplishments from the past month. Because sometimes it’s easy to get so discouraged in what I didn’t do that I don’t celebrate all that God allowed me to do because of His overabundant grace.
This month’s post is much different, however, because my family’s life was forever changed on February 11, 2014 with the sudden passing of my wonderful father-in-law. The days that have sped by since then have been nothing less than a chaotic form of survival mode. Honestly, listing the things that I have had to do alongside my family are far too painful to write out, and they would only make you sad as well, which goes against my primary objectives in writing on this blog.
I was going to skip writing this post altogether, but God reminded me of one story I could share that could be encouragement to others, for it has been an incredible source of comfort and encouragement to me in recent days.
My greatest accomplishment of the month was on February 10th when I unknowingly listened to God’s voice.
My husband was working his 24-hour shift, so the kids and I were in our normal routine of being home all day without Daddy. Those nights are always louder, harder, and more trying than the ones where he is home…especially in the closing weeks of the longest, harshest winter of recent years.
That afternoon, the kids received their Valentine’s package from Grandma and Grandpa. Work has had them living 1,000 miles away since before the kids were born, so frequent packages have always been a special way that my husband’s parents have kept a special connection with the kids. They live and breathe making all of us feel loved and spoiled.
We always call to let them know we got the package and to say thanks, but that night I almost postponed making the call until the following night. I’d sent a thank you text earlier in the day, and it was fast-approaching Daisy’s bedtime, I had a monstrous pile of laundry on the couch, Dash was using the Hulk hands and mask he had received in said package to wreak havoc on what small portion of the house wasn’t already wrecked from a day with me alone with two small kids, and my patience was paper-thin.
“I’ll just wait until tomorrow to call. That way, Tanner can be home to talk to them, too, and the kids and I will be in better form.”
I didn’t realize in that moment Whose voice said it, but the answer was clear.
“Call them now.”
“Okay. But I’ll at least put Daisy down for the night first. She’s fussy and will make it near impossible to have a conversation over FaceTime.”
“They won’t care if she’s a little fussy. Let them see her.”
So, we made the call to Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Their home phone was acting up, so it was hard to hear them, but I persisted with a request to have a quick FaceTime session on our cell phones before they headed off to bed for the night. Of course, they happily obliged, and we had the most wonderful 10 minutes of communion.
Daisy blew kisses to Grandpa and Grandma, and Dash showed off his new Hulk look between “I love yous.”
We hung up, Grandma and Grandpa went to bed, and I got the kids tucked in as well. Twenty-two hours later, the same Grandpa who had laughed and smiled with us just like always was in the presence of Jesus. He woke up early that morning with difficulty breathing, so after a trip to the ER, they discovered he was having complications from pneumonia. He was sedated, put on a ventilator, and passed away from a massive heart attack that afternoon.
I almost didn’t do the one thing that has brought me the most comfort in the last few weeks. My reasons for putting off making that phone call were valid, but God knew I would regret that decision for the rest of my life, so He whispered into my heart to not wait for the perfect moment to have the best possible phone conversation.
What a gift that grace-filled nudging is to my heart of mourning! One of that adoring Grandpa’s last memories on this earth is seeing the two little people he loved more than anything. And in return, we all have the gift of a sweet memory of him being his normal silly, sweet self.
I’m overwhelmed with this blessing, and I hope you are inspired to remember that God does speak to us, even when we don’t realize it’s Him. He wants nothing more than to bless us when we heed His voice.