When I heard my dad’s voice on the other side of the phone, I knew something was terribly wrong. A fatal disease I knew nothing about was about to change everything. The world where my dad was invincible shattered with three simple letters — ALS.
It had been nine short weeks since God had held out His hand and asked me for my time.
My small group was in the middle of a Bible study called Living Beyond Yourself. God had prepared my heart with His Word using 5 straight days of personal study on His faithfulness. Under “How does God want you to respond to what He showed you today?” I wrote: “Faith is necessary to follow God and it must be based on the faithfulness of His character and who He is, not what He does.”
From a DVD in my living room the day after that fateful phone call, Beth Moore taught us this:
“Always associate ‘through’ with ‘faith.’
Faith always goes through.”
As the news settled, the storm still raged. I remember waking up many mornings thinking I’d had the most awful dream, only to realize it was in fact an awful reality — my dad was not only dying, but he would physically deteriorate. Questions silently spilled out of my soul while a blanket of sadness sat heavy on my heart.
It didn’t take long to realize self-sufficiency would take me where I didn’t want to go — either to complete despair, or desperately grasping for control. This water was deeper than I could swim in. As life got harder, I found myself getting up earlier to be with God in His Word. I had no desire to tackle life on my own. God had my time.
I've often heard to regularly put yourself in places where God's Spirit is moving. So, after such a life-changing weekend in Vancouver earlier in the year, a few from our small group decided to go down to Living Proof Live in Billings Montana that fall.
After an adventurous experience on the drive from Lethbridge involving being pulled over and mistaken for a convicted criminal (a story for another day), God spoke again. Between songs, a woman on the Living Proof Live worship team shared about losing both parents in a short time period and then said, “I decided I want my life to be characterized by obedience to God, not tragedy.”
I bawled my eyes out and decided that I wanted the same.
When what once felt permanent was suddenly passing away, God's promises became everything.
In that season, I felt a shift from reading the Word to meeting the Word. For those 15 months of my dad's illness, obedience looked like knowing and believing God's promises, choosing to bless HIs name and bringing Him everything — fears, questions, and so many emotions.
Time with God was no longer a spiritual snack; it was complete sustenance. God spoke to me, guided me, strengthened me, sustained me and protected me in a special way through the storm season that could have and should have beat me up.
And little did I know, He was also preparing me.