My friends and I were ready for summer 2011, my 17th birthday was fast approaching, the sun was going to be blazing. Barbeque plans, water fights, outfits and hairstyles were sorted. My mum had loosened the reigns a little bit. Yes, summer 2011 was going to be superb. Little did I know that it was going to be far from it. Six days before my summer officially began, my dad died! The world stopped spinning, my mind went blank, my ears were ringing. I was in a state of pure confusion, I sat on my bed thinking:
My summer is over.
My dad passed away due to an acute left ventricular heart failure. In other words, his heart gave up on him. My dad lived in Nigeria and I had plans to spend more time with him when I ‘grew up’, to visit Nigeria and experience what a father was really like. It took me a long time to process this, summer came and I felt completely hopeless and alone, I just didn’t know how to function, I was absolutely heartbroken.
My mum and my sister found comfort in God, the God they had been serving faithfully. The God that I didn’t know and made no effort to know. I reasoned that if I knew Him, I would feel so disappointed, angry and betrayed. Little did I know that, God would find me in my grief and what a joyous occasion that would be! My journey to God was tumultuous to say the least, but once I arrived in His presence, He led me to this scripture:
A father to the fatherless,
A defender of widows,
Is God in his holy dwelling.
Psalm 68:5, NIV
This travelled to my heart, it thawed the ice on its way, and settled there. It resonated with every ounce of my being. This scripture stared right into my soul and made me know that, God cares.
In moments of grief, I hang onto Psalm 68:5, it forces me to remember who God is, to remember His promises. Grief is an overwhelming and consuming emotion, you can’t go under it, over it or around it. You have to go through it. It may be hard, but God is right there journeying with you. God found me in my grief, and I am grateful for that. It was a difficult process and I had to face some hard truths. I thought that knowing God would take all my sadness away, I was wrong. This may be the case for you, but it definitely wasn’t for me. I had to learn that God will provide me with comfort, He would give me a space to vent, cry, wallow but He always lifts me up.
Many of us may be fatherless today, for whatever reason. I have news for you – God wants to be your father. God is a father to the fatherless, He is everything and more. He fills gaps and restores lives. God’s Word is for you, his Word is your lighthouse. He is your heavenly Father.
Finally, to the 17 year old me, I love you, God loves you. Your summer may feel like it’s over but darling, your life is just beginning.