I often struggle with the tension. I can have a day where something really positive takes place (i.e. I get to have coffee with a friend) and then something negative comes my way (i.e. something stressful at work). My time, effort and energy are easily diverted to the “crisis” in front of me rather than finding a place of peace.
Why is it that the negative things can steal the spotlight and drain our energy even when we have 100 other little things to be grateful for?
My dad is an amazing example of someone who understands balance. I want to share him with you this week because he really is an extraordinary human who leads our family in incredible ways.
Several years ago, my dad came to the rescue of a family member who was about to lose one of her properties to foreclosure. He swooped in at the last minute with the cash needed to bail her out and several years later, claiming she wasn’t happy with the progress he had made on the property improvements, she sued him. She requested a jury trial (very rare for this kind of thing) and I was there with my dad for several days as a jury was picked and a case was built against him. I was absolutely shocked at the crazy accusations from someone whom I had always liked and respected. I ran into her in the bathroom at the courthouse and when I said hi, she responded with a dismissive grunt as she walked away.
My dad wasn’t moved by her agenda, and he didn’t fall into a depression after the jury ruling. In fact, he immediately got on with his life. He took care of business and then he started moving in a positive direction. He didn’t let his circumstances dictate or change how he saw the world.
I don’t know many people or maybe anyone who moves through things like my dad. It’s been so precious to watch him adjust to life without his wife of 51 years. He is sad but not broken, he is lonely but not alone. He makes sure that he eats healthy every day and stays committed to what God has for him because he understands that there is still much to do. He is a true gift and rock to our family and is determined to carry out the rest of his years with purpose and focus. Yes, he has lost an incredible partner who linked arms with him to really make an impact, but I see him reflect on those incredible years as a gift, and not on my mom’s death as a forced forfeiture of his dreams and purpose. He understands that one of them was going to go first and he recognizes the extraordinary life they had together.
My dad gets up every morning and has his quiet time where he takes time to reflect on the loss of my mom. He gives his grief space and allows his heart to miss her like crazy. And then he sets out to have a good day.
He inspires me to find balance in the tension. Life can be so rich and so heavy at the same time. God gives us so much wisdom in this arena and I wanted to share a few scriptures as an encouragement:
Psalm 9:9 “The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you.”
Psalm 28:6-7 “Praise be to the LORD for He has heard my cry for mercy. The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.”
Psalm 37:23-24 “The LORD makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand.”
Psalm 62:5-8 “Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I shall not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.”
John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Hebrews 12:1-3 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him, he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
These scriptures encourage us to find the gifts and blessings in the midst of hard circumstances. Our hope in Jesus gives us a sacred space where we can place the difficult things on a scale alongside the hope and promises we have in our faith. They carry weight together, not independently. Dad, thank you for living your life this way and for being an example of this to your children and to all who know you. You have truly discovered how to find a baseline of peace in the midst of the tension.
If you know someone who could benefit from this post, please share. God carved out a path of intense healing for me and I would like to share it with as many people who need or want to hear.