Irreconcilable differences. Unfaithfulness. Tragedy. Broken hearts.
There are places and spaces that seem they could never live again.
In yesterday’s post I spoke of an “emotionally ripping divorce” after 25 years of marriage.
If it’s up to God, this is His way … “The end of a thing is better than its beginning” Ecclesiastes 7:8 NKJ
The following is a wonderful story of how God can make “dead bones live again”. God is totally into making the end of a thing better than the beginning.
The years spanning the events I described yesterday were bitter years. It was a quick divorce, but hostility and vengeance saturated the years following as we battled for custody of the kids, and over the separation of property and debts. I fought to walk in the love of God, but everything was so hurtful … I didn’t do well.
Our oldest daughter loved and married the same year as our divorce. 2 beautiful grandsons were born just a few years apart. They became the only solid family unit of the original 6 (me, former husband and 4 kids). Eventually they bought their own home. With that, they really wanted to begin celebrating holidays and birthdays and kids’ sports events with their extended families. Former husband and I knew this. Individually, we were in the process of putting our lives back together, forgiving and letting go. Though awkward at first, we began to maneuver through family gatherings with the intent of making peace. It became easier and more pleasant as the years progressed. Even when he began bringing the new woman in his life, God helped us and we grew into a graciousness and kindness towards one another. The times were harmonious and good. The compassion of God that had once worked in our lives began to manifest.
Our divorce was 17 years ago. This past year he left for heaven. But just before, during a very sudden and quick bout with cancer, a series of only-God-can-do-it restorations took place.
The 4 kids, all living their separate lives with differing life-styles and priorities and some light bickering, suddenly threw everything else out the window. They locked their hearts together in support and faith for their papa, “pop”, with a dynamic that only God could create. They supernaturally functioned among themselves absolutely putting aside all differences and personal opinions, allowing God to direct their decisions concerning his medical treatment and his life in general as he became less and less capable of handling or making decisions on his own. They purposely listened to each others thoughts and gave precedence to one another, shutting out negative and contentious feedback from the people surrounding them. They knew that ultimately it was their pop’s decision to fight for life or leave for heaven, but, they also knew that their being of one heart and mind, their faith in God, their walking in the love of God, walking in forgiveness, could make all the difference in his fight for life. They staunchly and determinedly walked together as a solid unit.
It was all so fast. One day their pop is having normal tests for some lingering pain. Suddenly he’s in the hospital with a new prognosis being hurled every few hours. I was immediately picked up by one of the kids and brought to the hospital. We camped in vigil, taking up residence in a visitor lounge over several days. That’s when I got to see this awesome thing happening in and with the 4 of our kids, and the love they were pouring out on their pop. From that point on, except for very brief periods, one of them was with him till he left. I got to be a part of it all, pouring into their pop everything I knew to do … praying, playing board games, just loving on him.
Though he had not followed after the things of God like he’d done in years past, he was a believer and he knew he was headed to heaven. He let the kids know he was ready. It was hard. There was still a sadness even though we knew his resolve, and that where he was going was much better.
What took place next was a straight-from-heaven gift to me. In just the few brief hours before he passed, all that was bitter, all the bad in our relationship was not only wiped out, but replaced with only an overwhelming sweetness and goodness that only comes from God.
The kids had brought him from the hospital to his own home late in the afternoon. They were taking turns by his bed, holding his hand and talking to him. At an appropriate moment I took a turn holding his hand and loving on him. Spontaneously, I began to sing a song that we both had sung together in church years ago. Like a river it was followed with one song after another … certain ones repeated over and over. Later I was told it went for hours. I had no idea. They said there was a peace that settled down and drenched that room. Even those who were not necessarily believers were aware and blessed by the presence of God. I literally got to sing him into heaven. It still lingers as one of the most unfathomable, rich gifts I’ve ever received; as a precious time and a space that can never be replaced.
I’m saying, “Only You, my wonderful Father God! Only You, Jesus, could orchestrate something so outrageously good. Only You know, and only You knew what it would do for me, for him, for our family, for everyone who was there. Thank You. Thank You. Thank You. I love You, and I choose to forgive and love as You’ve forgiven and love me … so Mercifully. All in Jesus name.”