This is one of the hardest devotional columns I have ever written. Not because the subject matter is hard (although it is), but because it is the most personally revealing and reflects a hard time in my life. Not complaining, just stating a fact.
I tend to get a little emotional this time of year. There are always so many activities, with many of them being endings, but inherently, also leading to new beginnings: graduations and promotions, weddings, families moving, empty-nesting, etc. Yes, June always brings a season of change.
This year, in particular, is especially poignant for me. My husband and I will be celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary in a few days (and, yes, I was a child bride!). Consequently, I have been doing a lot of reflecting on the chapters in my life. In other words, “Where have all the years gone?!”
Speaking of reflecting, if you were a fly on my bathroom wall, you might hear the following exchange between me and my mirror:
Me: “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?”
Mirror: “I beg your pardon, and I’ll be bold; it isn’t you, you’re too old!”
Ugh! You see, I do feel old, and not just because of my age. The biggest contributing factor is my aging parents, and all that goes along with that. As many of you know, my parents live with my husband and me. (I always feel the need to quantify that statement by saying “elderly” but considering the fact that they are my parents, I can assume that’s a given.)
We’ve all heard the saying “Getting old isn’t for sissies.” Well, neither is being their caregiver. Taking care of my parents has been the hardest thing I have ever done, but it also has been one of the most rewarding. I feel honored to be able to do so, and I wouldn’t change it for anything. I know that I have been incredibly blessed to still have my parents with me, when most of my friends and peers have lost one, if not both, of theirs. But it’s still hard. It’s not the physical aspect of taking care of them, but the emotional and mental stress that gets to me. You can’t “make believe” that their demise isn’t coming and there is no magic potion to change the inevitable. Seeing your parents drastically decline mentally and physically takes its toll, and I feel as though I have aged ten years in the last four.
So I was thinking…
That YOU’RE probably thinking, “Why on earth am I reading this grim tale?!” But just wait! The last page has not been turned, and this story does have a happy ending!
With Father’s Day upon us, I’ve been reflecting on my almost-92-year-old dad, and I remember that as a little girl, he was my Knight in Shining Armor. A few years later, I married my next Knight (Roy, to be precise), and rode off into the sunset. But there’s an everlasting bond between a daughter and her dad.
Although I know that I’ll never see Snow White again when I look in the mirror, I also know that in the reflection of my dad’s eyes, I will always be his princess. And as special as that is, even more important, in the eyes of my Heavenly Father, I know that I really am “snow white” because of His Son who died for my sins and washed them white as snow. Jesus is the ultimate Knight in Shining Armor. He has conquered death, and through Him, I know that this life is not all there is, and that, when the time comes, I will see my parents again, and we will all live happily ever after in a place that, in comparison, dwarfs even a Magic Kingdom. And that’s no fairy tale.
Happy Father’s Day.
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,
A time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,
A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
A time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away,
A time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,
A time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.
What do workers gain from their toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart. Ecclesiastes 3:1-11a (NIV)
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Revelation 21:1-5a (NASB)