Friday, August 21, 2009

A New "Normal"

Last night I was finalizing the program for Monday's funeral service with our neighbor friend and on my way out he said, "So, we'll see you tomorrow at the viewing?" I had to pause for a moment as I thought, already? At the beginning of the week, Saturday seemed so far away. It's been hectic. Plus, when you're busy, you don't have a lot of time to think about how you feel. I don't want it to be Saturday yet. Once it comes, it will just as soon be over. And once it's over, it'll be time to find a new normal. I don't know if we're ready for a normal that doesn't include my dad.

Dad's new normal is fabulous. The obvious truth is that he is much better off. He is now completely healed of ALS and probably loving eternal life in his brand new body. He is living the life he was created for. But the fact is, the rest of us- the ones still passing through this life- don't feel better off without him. We miss him. What do we do in the meantime?

God has really broadened my perspective of contentment during this journey. I used to think that it had to do with just money. Be happy with a little. Not so much. I have learned that contentment is "satisfaction in God's sufficient provision." Now more than ever, I realize that God's provisions extend beyond just finances. He promises to provide everything that I need. That means comfort, assurance, people, discernment, relationships, guidance, healing... you name it. If I need it, God has promised to provide it through Jesus (Philippians 4:19). The promises stand. Yet, on a few occasions, I have felt the overwhelming feeling of despair creep up on me, especially when I begin to worry about the future. In the meantime, God is always extending the invitation to trust in Him to meet all of my needs.

This is very challenging to me when I think about life without my dad. How many times have I gone to him for much needed dad stuff: godly wisdom, where in the Bible is... [insert verse here], a comforting word or help with an automotive disaster- all things I thought I really needed. What it keeps coming down to for me is, "Will I consciously choose to believe the promises of God?" I want with everything in me to trust God. I'm waiting to see how healthy grief and faith in God's promises weave together. Faith doesn't nullify grief and grief doesn't nullify faith. I will choose to trust God as I let him heal what needs to be healed in me and my family.

In the meantime, our new "normal" has the same foundation. The new structure, whatever it is, will look different but whatever is it, it will still be built on the solid rock.


Natalie said...

wow thanks Steph. I really needed this today. Please keep writing! love you guys and I am so proud of you all. I can see how you have inherited your dad's ability to be used by God in all things!

Anonymous said...

Stephanie, I haven't seen you and your family since moving to the States in 1990, but your mom was thoughtful enough to email me of your dad's passing. I just read your whole blog and want to share with you and your sisters something about your mom. It's best copied from the email I just sent her:

"Oh Kathy, I wish I were there to give you a big hug. Your email was sent to my junk mail and I only just now came across it. I have read Stephanie’s entire blog, cried, laughed and thanked God for being there with all of you throughout Jesse’s courageous battle with ALS. His life speaks wonders for the powerful presence of Jesus in our lives.
Kathy, your prayer power is awesome, as it was at about the same time as you were praying for Jesse to know Jesus that you were also rallying prayer for me too. Your prayers succeeded in changing my life which is so much better WITH Jesus than without!!! God has used you mightily – look at the ripple effect through Jesse, your kids, my family and only you and God know who else you brought to the Lord. Thank you, and thanks be to God. Now you and your family will be in MY prayers as He comforts you all and fills the hole left by Jesse’s passing."

In His unwavering love and compassion,
Sally Rolling

Ellen said...

Praying for all of you as you adjust to the "new normal"...