Women of Faith: Not What I IMAGINED (Caution: Vulnerability Ahead)


I’m hesitant to share this post with you, because it feels a little too vulnerable for me.  Really, I just wanted to write some generic post about my time at the Women of Faith conference.  But somehow, this is what poured out.  So, if vulnerable makes you uncomfortable, you might want to skip this one! 

Have you ever been in a place in your life where your soul just feels old?  Where the weight of the burdens you’re carrying are dragging you down so far, you can’t even remember what joy feels like?

I was in that place before I left for the Women of Faith:  Imagine Tour in Indiana on Thursday.  But I had been praying and asking that God would reveal Himself to me. 

The journey was long, but thankfully uneventful.  It was precious time with my friend Crystal and the chance to forge a deeper friendship.  I also had the opportunity to meet-up with Deborah from Teach Preschool on Thursday evening.  I was so blessed to meet her — and she was exactly the energetic, friendly, and passionate person I expected!

Friday morning was packed with exercise and blogging and heading to the conference.  And this is where I began to be submerged in a kaleidoscope of emotions.  That’s the best way I can describe it. 

I was listening to Sheila Walsh, and the worship team, and I felt 18 years old again.  Filled with the anticipation of what God was doing in my life.  Hopeful.  The world was a big place, but I served a big God.   And I was going somewhere.  Life was whatever I could imagine.  Limitless.  Without boundaries.

And on one hand, those feeling stayed with me throughout the conference.

But God was also working to reveal an area in my life I thought was healed, but it truly wasn’t isn’t.  Henry Cloud talked about necessary endings and the pruning that must occur in our lives for us to move on with God — getting rid of the good things we hold onto, because they are not the best things, and getting rid of the diseased parts we cling to and the dead parts we’ve never dealt with.   

I quickly realized I have my own areas that need pruning.

Later that evening, we heard from Lisa Harper.  And her story tore at me, and I cried my first tears of the day.  Because, you see, she shared about when her dad passed away last year and how she made it home before he died.  Though her dad was in a coma, he roused out of it when she arrived.  She spent sweet moments with him before he died. 

She said it was a gift.

(I’ll come back to that later.)

The music of the evening was shared by Erica Campbell of Mary, Mary.  She brought her daughter up to sing with her, and it was uh. may. zing.  (She is just six, but the girl can sing — complete with harmony!)  Afterwards, Erica sang Bruno Mars’ Just The Way You Are to her daughter.  What a wonderful affirmation for a young girl’s heart. 

What a wonderful affirmation for my heart! 

Saturday brought messages from Sheila Walsh — she touched on her own struggle with depression and the Shepherd who found her.  And then, Nicole Johnson shared about her broken life and how God is using the pieces to create something beautiful.  Angie Smith challenged us to step out in faith and cling to Kurios (Lord — the one to whom I belong) in the midst of our storms.

You guessed it.  I was in tears again!

After lunch, Natalie Grant sang.  (Oh, how I adore Natalie Grant!!  I don’t know how many times I listened to her song, Held, after my dad died, but it’s very dear to my heart.)  She shared about her struggle with the baby blues after her third daughter was born, and I was taken back to my own struggle with postpartum depression.  She also gave a moving tribute to those killed in the accident at the State Fair.

The whole concert just filled up my heart — and again the emotions were all jumbled together — the kaleidoscope, if you will.  After hearing her sing Your Great Name, I begged God to give me the voice of Natalie Grant! 

I don’t think it happened….but a women can dream can’t she?!! 

Crystal and I had to leave the conference a little bit early to make our flight, but I was ready to be home and to see my husband and girls (although I wasn’t quite ready to jump back into the housework — I hadn’t missed that)! 

It was on our final flight that I began to process what the conference meant to me.  I’m grateful to have a wise friend willing to ask questions and draw out my introverted self — otherwise it might have taken a lot longer for me to connect the dots!

God used the weekend to reignite my passion for Him — but He also used it to show me a place I had pushed away — and pretended was healed.

(And now for the vulnerable part…)

You see, when my dad died, I didn’t get to say goodbye.  He was already in a coma, and he didn’t wake up or show any recognition that I was there. 

I did not receive the gift from God that Lisa spoke about and was given.  And although I haven’t wanted to admit it, I’ve felt anger.  I’ve felt jealousy.  And the question has remained:

Why do some people get that gift?  Why not me?

I remember I was teaching at the time, so I had a whole week of spring break to spend with him — I knew he was sick, but the doctors said we still had a few months.  We were going to celebrate his 50th birthday, and I even had a list of things I wanted to tell him and ask him.  I believed we would have a sweet, memory-making time together.

Instead, it was the first day of spring break and he was gone.  I spent the whole week involved with funeral plans and picking out a casket and crying a million tears, all the while feeling my daughter kick and move inside my womb with life. 

But my soul felt dead.

Seven years later, I still feel the sting — the incompleteness of the ending.  I wanted to hear my dad say he loved me.  I wanted to hear my dad say he was proud of me.  

I wanted to say goodbye.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

I look back at the conference and stand amazed at how each speaker’s words felt like they were just for me.  Because, truly, God was using them to speak — to challenge and encourage me to begin the healing — and not hide the pain away anymore.

I wish I could wrap-up this post with a tidy little ending, but I just don’t have one!  Instead, I’ll leave you with a precious promise from the Word of God:

And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.  And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.   — Revelation 21:3-4


About Stacie Nelson

is the creator of MotherhoodOnADime.com. She is passionate about encouraging moms and giving them creative, yet simple, activities to do with their children. A bargain-hunter by nature, she enjoys sharing deals and freebies.

She also loves extra dark chocolate, jogging, writing, cooking dairy and gluten-free, and attempting to declutter her book-filled rooms. Faith and family are her top priorities, and she seeks to encourage others to live life on purpose.

Comments

  1. Sometimes God brings people into your life for a purpose. For awhile, they just hang out there. Maybe they make you laugh, maybe they make you think or maybe they just sit there and inspire you. I’m glad I know you and I’m glad I didn’t miss this post.

    I didn’t realize what we had in common (other then money saving blogs and young children, LOL)but reading your experience about your father gives me chills. Sub in Mom for Dad and make me 12 years old (and thankfully NOT pregnant at that age) and you have my story exactly. I also did not get to say goodbye. I’m not going to lie either. I feel totally robbed.

    I remember when my uncle passed away, all of his children were with him in those last moments. They said it was so peaceful and they felt God’s presence. I don’t understand why I was denied that?

    I’ve had a longer time to process it though (16 years now)and I’m just now coming to peace with it. Maybe if I had had that closure, I wouldn’t be who I am today. The Lord works in mysterious ways and I can’t pretend that I understand His decision making in taking a mother away from her 3 young daughters and thrusting them into the life we ended up in (well that 2 of us ended up in, as my sister passed 5 months after my mother).

    I wish I could say I have the answers, but I don’t. Time has softened my anger though, and prayer has strengthened my relationship with the Lord. If anything, my loss has taught me to treasure the moments I have with those I love and to never leave anything unsaid (almost to a fault!).

    There’s a country song out right now that I heard for the first time the other day. I don’t remember all the words, but it said something like “I’m not crying because I feel so sorry for you, I’m crying for me.” You know your dad is in a beautiful place right now held in the arms of the Lord. It’s those left behind that need comfort and healing. Don’t be ashamed to ask for it.

    Big hugs ((Hugs)). I wish I could hug you right now and have a good cry. I am glad that you were so inspired and that you had a great time. I love that song by Natalie Grant btw. I immediately stopped reading and turned it on real quick when I read that she sang there, LOL.

    • Stacie says:

      Wow, Heather, I had no idea. I am so sorry — there are no words for what you’ve had to walk through — losing your mom and a sister at such a formational time in life. I am so thankful that you’ve been able to find some peace and healing, and I’m so glad your relationship with God has been strengthened.

      Thank you so much for sharing — I feel even more connected to you! Someday we have to meet in real life!!

  2. Sometimes God brings people into your life for a purpose. For awhile, they just hang out there. Maybe they make you laugh, maybe they make you think or maybe they just sit there and inspire you. I’m glad I know you and I’m glad I didn’t miss this post.

    I didn’t realize what we had in common (other then money saving blogs and young children, LOL)but reading your experience about your father gives me chills. Sub in Mom for Dad and make me 12 years old (and thankfully NOT pregnant at that age) and you have my story exactly. I also did not get to say goodbye. I’m not going to lie either. I feel totally robbed.

    I remember when my uncle passed away, all of his children were with him in those last moments. They said it was so peaceful and they felt God’s presence. I don’t understand why I was denied that?

    I’ve had a longer time to process it though (16 years now)and I’m just now coming to peace with it. Maybe if I had had that closure, I wouldn’t be who I am today. The Lord works in mysterious ways and I can’t pretend that I understand His decision making in taking a mother away from her 3 young daughters and thrusting them into the life we ended up in (well that 2 of us ended up in, as my sister passed 5 months after my mother).

    I wish I could say I have the answers, but I don’t. Time has softened my anger though, and prayer has strengthened my relationship with the Lord. If anything, my loss has taught me to treasure the moments I have with those I love and to never leave anything unsaid (almost to a fault!).

    There’s a country song out right now that I heard for the first time the other day. I don’t remember all the words, but it said something like “I’m not crying because I feel so sorry for you, I’m crying for me.” You know your dad is in a beautiful place right now held in the arms of the Lord. It’s those left behind that need comfort and healing. Don’t be ashamed to ask for it.

    Big hugs ((Hugs)). I wish I could hug you right now and have a good cry. I am glad that you were so inspired and that you had a great time. I love that song by Natalie Grant btw. I immediately stopped reading and turned it on real quick when I read that she sang there, LOL.

    • Stacie says:

      Wow, Heather, I had no idea. I am so sorry — there are no words for what you’ve had to walk through — losing your mom and a sister at such a formational time in life. I am so thankful that you’ve been able to find some peace and healing, and I’m so glad your relationship with God has been strengthened.

      Thank you so much for sharing — I feel even more connected to you! Someday we have to meet in real life!!

  3. Thank you for such a beautifully written post. Like Heather said, I wish I could give you a big hug and cry with you (but I already cried reading this).

    This really hit me hard too which is why I’m crying. My Dad was really sick my whole life, lots of operations, hospital stays, etc. When I was 19 years old, I received a phone call to to come to the hospital. My Dad had suffered kidney failure, 3 heart attacks and was in a coma. I didn’t get to say good-bye to him and was only able to be with him for an hour before he passed away.

    7 years later and I still have those fits and cries of “Why” and “What if” and a whole lot of “It’s not fair”. I wish I had been able to say good-bye, I wish he would have met my husband and I wish he would have met his beautiful grandson.

    My Mom always tells me “Everything Happens for a Reason” and while that really frustrates me, I HAVE to hold on to that face that it’s true. The fact that we didn’t get to say goodbye made us stronger, made us who we are today, the parents we are, the way we treasure our love ones, that shaped who we are.

    Hugs, prayers, thoughts and love to you!

    • Stacie says:

      Melissa,
      I would love to get together and cry with you someday! I feel so blessed to have found you through the group!

      I am so sorry you also walked the same road — and it sounds like it was right around the same time. I, too, wish so much my dad could’ve met my girls. He would’ve loved them and they would have adored him. There’s just this incompleteness because of it. I know God has used it to change me — but sometimes I’d rather not be changed! I just hold onto the hope that God is taking the broken pieces and making something beautiful from them!

      Thanks so much for your encouragement and sharing your heart!

  4. Thank you for such a beautifully written post. Like Heather said, I wish I could give you a big hug and cry with you (but I already cried reading this).

    This really hit me hard too which is why I’m crying. My Dad was really sick my whole life, lots of operations, hospital stays, etc. When I was 19 years old, I received a phone call to to come to the hospital. My Dad had suffered kidney failure, 3 heart attacks and was in a coma. I didn’t get to say good-bye to him and was only able to be with him for an hour before he passed away.

    7 years later and I still have those fits and cries of “Why” and “What if” and a whole lot of “It’s not fair”. I wish I had been able to say good-bye, I wish he would have met my husband and I wish he would have met his beautiful grandson.

    My Mom always tells me “Everything Happens for a Reason” and while that really frustrates me, I HAVE to hold on to that face that it’s true. The fact that we didn’t get to say goodbye made us stronger, made us who we are today, the parents we are, the way we treasure our love ones, that shaped who we are.

    Hugs, prayers, thoughts and love to you!

    • Stacie says:

      Melissa,
      I would love to get together and cry with you someday! I feel so blessed to have found you through the group!

      I am so sorry you also walked the same road — and it sounds like it was right around the same time. I, too, wish so much my dad could’ve met my girls. He would’ve loved them and they would have adored him. There’s just this incompleteness because of it. I know God has used it to change me — but sometimes I’d rather not be changed! I just hold onto the hope that God is taking the broken pieces and making something beautiful from them!

      Thanks so much for your encouragement and sharing your heart!

  5. ” The fact that we didn’t get to say goodbye made us stronger, made us who we are today, the parents we are, the way we treasure our love ones, that shaped who we are.”

    So true. I don’t think I’d be the same parent at all if I hadn’t gone through that experience.

  6. ” The fact that we didn’t get to say goodbye made us stronger, made us who we are today, the parents we are, the way we treasure our love ones, that shaped who we are.”

    So true. I don’t think I’d be the same parent at all if I hadn’t gone through that experience.

  7. Thank you so much for sharing! Refreshing. Truly, refreshing.

  8. Thank you so much for sharing! Refreshing. Truly, refreshing.

  9. Thank you for opening your heart up to us. I very much needed this.

    • Stacie says:

      Thank you for your encouragement…and I’m so grateful if it spoke to you in some way.

  10. Thank you for opening your heart up to us. I very much needed this.

    • Stacie says:

      Thank you for your encouragement…and I’m so grateful if it spoke to you in some way.

  11. My dad and I aren’t close and he’s still young but family history tells us the sicknesses should start about now. I’ve never thought about what it will be like when I lose him. Reading this…I bawled. Thanks you so much for sharing. It hit me. Why should I spend time now being angry? God wants me to let go of all that. Thank you again.

    • Stacie says:

      Thanks so much for your encouragement! We just never know how much time we have with the ones we love, so I hope you can get your relationship with your dad where you want it to be. Blessings to you!

  12. My dad and I aren’t close and he’s still young but family history tells us the sicknesses should start about now. I’ve never thought about what it will be like when I lose him. Reading this…I bawled. Thanks you so much for sharing. It hit me. Why should I spend time now being angry? God wants me to let go of all that. Thank you again.

    • Stacie says:

      Thanks so much for your encouragement! We just never know how much time we have with the ones we love, so I hope you can get your relationship with your dad where you want it to be. Blessings to you!

  13. Michele says:

    Thank you for your thoughts and vulnerabilities. I too share some similarities. I was a special education teacher, walked out of my dads hospital room 15 minutes only to have to run back to his room running while holding my 32 week pregnant belly to have had him die moments before I got back. I had major ppd and anger and then lost my mother only 19 mths later to a horrible death. It’s only been 2/3 yrs to not be anyone’s here on Earths daughter. It hurts everyday. I feel less alone and feel that there is hope when other women share their support through their stories. My philosophy now is to love them while you have them!
    I am went to WOF- Imagine last November for the first time and found myself bawling as well but feeling more peace and calmness that I have had in a long time.
    I’m headed back this November 2011, as a group leader in KC, MO. There are still tickets! Don’t wait!!! Start living again!!! Thank you so much! Michele Wilt – KC momma!

    • Stacie says:

      Michele — I am so sorry. Your comment brought tears — what a painful experience to lose both of your parents so closely together. I remember the day of my dad’s funeral realizing that I didn’t have a dad anymore. I had memories of a dad, but I didn’t have an earthly dad here with me. It’s so hard — and I’ve found some comfort in the fact that I have a heavenly Father — but somedays, I’d just like to talk to my dad and introduce him to my girls. They would absolutely adore him.

      I, too, struggled with PPD, and my daughter was very colicky — and I believe a lot of it was the stress hormones and all of that.

      I am so thankful you were able to have such a peaceful experience at the WOF conference, too! I’ll be praying that God would continue to heal you. Hugs to you!

  14. Michele says:

    Thank you for your thoughts and vulnerabilities. I too share some similarities. I was a special education teacher, walked out of my dads hospital room 15 minutes only to have to run back to his room running while holding my 32 week pregnant belly to have had him die moments before I got back. I had major ppd and anger and then lost my mother only 19 mths later to a horrible death. It’s only been 2/3 yrs to not be anyone’s here on Earths daughter. It hurts everyday. I feel less alone and feel that there is hope when other women share their support through their stories. My philosophy now is to love them while you have them!
    I am went to WOF- Imagine last November for the first time and found myself bawling as well but feeling more peace and calmness that I have had in a long time.
    I’m headed back this November 2011, as a group leader in KC, MO. There are still tickets! Don’t wait!!! Start living again!!! Thank you so much! Michele Wilt – KC momma!

    • Stacie says:

      Michele — I am so sorry. Your comment brought tears — what a painful experience to lose both of your parents so closely together. I remember the day of my dad’s funeral realizing that I didn’t have a dad anymore. I had memories of a dad, but I didn’t have an earthly dad here with me. It’s so hard — and I’ve found some comfort in the fact that I have a heavenly Father — but somedays, I’d just like to talk to my dad and introduce him to my girls. They would absolutely adore him.

      I, too, struggled with PPD, and my daughter was very colicky — and I believe a lot of it was the stress hormones and all of that.

      I am so thankful you were able to have such a peaceful experience at the WOF conference, too! I’ll be praying that God would continue to heal you. Hugs to you!

  15. A beautiful post! I’m glad you shared. I have a lot of things from my past I’ve been holding on to. I need to do pruning in my own life. I was supposed to be at that WoF in Indy this past weekend, but was unable to. I can see I missed a great event! I’ll be praying for you. And one day you’ll be reunited with your dad again, and there will be no more tears!!

    • Stacie says:

      Oh, I’m so sorry you didn’t get to go….it was really an amazing experience!

      I am so thankful that someday I will see him again!

  16. A beautiful post! I’m glad you shared. I have a lot of things from my past I’ve been holding on to. I need to do pruning in my own life. I was supposed to be at that WoF in Indy this past weekend, but was unable to. I can see I missed a great event! I’ll be praying for you. And one day you’ll be reunited with your dad again, and there will be no more tears!!

    • Stacie says:

      Oh, I’m so sorry you didn’t get to go….it was really an amazing experience!

      I am so thankful that someday I will see him again!

  17. I lost my Dad five years ago, and I was fortunate to be there when he took his last breath. God blessed me with the opportunity to deal with his impending death. The night before he died, I was planning on leaving. I thought I saw someone moving in his room and I got up from the couch to check. His last words to me were, “Tomorrow will be the last day.” I believe what I saw was an angel coming to let my Dad know it was soon time to go. My point is not to brag, but rather to remind you that God knows what we need in each situation and we don’t always understand it. I don’t know why I was allowed to have that time, and you were not, but what I do know is that God has a plan for all of us, and while we don’t understand His reasoning, we can be assured that everything is for His glory….perhaps this is how God saw an opportunity to mold you and for your situation to reach others.

    • Stacie says:

      I’m so glad you had that experience, Mary. That really is a special gift!

      I just never really realized how I had buried those feelings — and I do hope that my struggle can help someone else. Thanks for your encouragement!

  18. I lost my Dad five years ago, and I was fortunate to be there when he took his last breath. God blessed me with the opportunity to deal with his impending death. The night before he died, I was planning on leaving. I thought I saw someone moving in his room and I got up from the couch to check. His last words to me were, “Tomorrow will be the last day.” I believe what I saw was an angel coming to let my Dad know it was soon time to go. My point is not to brag, but rather to remind you that God knows what we need in each situation and we don’t always understand it. I don’t know why I was allowed to have that time, and you were not, but what I do know is that God has a plan for all of us, and while we don’t understand His reasoning, we can be assured that everything is for His glory….perhaps this is how God saw an opportunity to mold you and for your situation to reach others.

    • Stacie says:

      I’m so glad you had that experience, Mary. That really is a special gift!

      I just never really realized how I had buried those feelings — and I do hope that my struggle can help someone else. Thanks for your encouragement!

  19. Such a great post. Your willingness to be vulnerable has and will be such an encouragement to others who have walked a similar road. Thank you for sharing!

  20. Such a great post. Your willingness to be vulnerable has and will be such an encouragement to others who have walked a similar road. Thank you for sharing!

  21. Thank you for sharing. I had tears reading this while stuck in traffic.

  22. Thank you for sharing. I had tears reading this while stuck in traffic.

  23. Becky Thomas says:

    Stacie,

    I know where you’re coming from. I was 8 months pregnant with my first son when I heard the news that my father was gone. No coma, no goodbyes, and the last words we spoke were not good ones. It’s been 3 years now, and I still have regrets over things not said. It has been an experience that has changed my life. But I thank God that I was pregnant. I was too busy with my new baby and too thrilled with my first pregnancy to grieve for as long as I would have. It was very hard, but I now realize that what I thought at the time was a curse, was actually God’s blessing. He was working in my life the whole time, making things easier for me. He also taught me so much! Life lessons about anger, letting things go, and how the fight is never worth it.

    You’ll come out of this. This unbelievable cloud of sadness and loss. You, too, will realize that God is still here. That He still loves you, and that He is even now working in your life, helping you and blessing you. I promise. And I CAN promise because it happened to me.

    • Stacie says:

      Thanks, Becky! I’m so glad you’ve found healing!

      I thought I had too — but the conference made me realize some things I had pushed down and not really dealt with, but I’m so thankful that God holds me in His hand!! My grief process has been somewhat of a cycle, I guess. The one good thing is that I still feel the pain and I think God has used it to keep my heart soft — and hopefully, prayerfully, I can share His love with others through it.

      Blessings to you!

  24. Becky Thomas says:

    Stacie,

    I know where you’re coming from. I was 8 months pregnant with my first son when I heard the news that my father was gone. No coma, no goodbyes, and the last words we spoke were not good ones. It’s been 3 years now, and I still have regrets over things not said. It has been an experience that has changed my life. But I thank God that I was pregnant. I was too busy with my new baby and too thrilled with my first pregnancy to grieve for as long as I would have. It was very hard, but I now realize that what I thought at the time was a curse, was actually God’s blessing. He was working in my life the whole time, making things easier for me. He also taught me so much! Life lessons about anger, letting things go, and how the fight is never worth it.

    You’ll come out of this. This unbelievable cloud of sadness and loss. You, too, will realize that God is still here. That He still loves you, and that He is even now working in your life, helping you and blessing you. I promise. And I CAN promise because it happened to me.

    • Stacie says:

      Thanks, Becky! I’m so glad you’ve found healing!

      I thought I had too — but the conference made me realize some things I had pushed down and not really dealt with, but I’m so thankful that God holds me in His hand!! My grief process has been somewhat of a cycle, I guess. The one good thing is that I still feel the pain and I think God has used it to keep my heart soft — and hopefully, prayerfully, I can share His love with others through it.

      Blessings to you!

  25. Stacie, thank you for sharing your journey! What a blessing you are to so many.

  26. Stacie, thank you for sharing your journey! What a blessing you are to so many.

  27. Thank you soo much for sharing. I was very touched and encouraged by your post, and able to relate with your story. I also lost my mom to cancer, almost exactly one year ago. she fought a hard 5 yr battle, and the ending , which i will spare you most of the messy details of, was also very tragic. My husband and I gave birth to our first son around the time when her health really took a decline. that was the hardest period of my life — trying to figure out how to take care of our crazy newborn, and figure out how to be there for my mom, who was a 7 hr drive away. It always saddened me that my mom didn’t get a chance to spend much time with her 1st grandson. Like you , we all knew my mom was sick, but didn’t expect her to go so quickly. We were even planning for a longer stay in the coming month near my mom so I could spend more time with her. But events quickly snowballed. We heard she was in a coma. We discussed our options and booked the quickest flight we could. Everyone told me I missed my mom literally by a couple hours. The events still sit so raw with me as I think about it now. I’ve also felt much anger and sadness over the whole experience, and massive amounts of guilt (for not being able to care for my mom). God has been at work in the last year healing wounds, and the days are not as dark as they once were, but i am still early in the grieving process. It took me a while to even figure out WHAT grief was — i was overcome by so many sorts of emotions in the beginning months (much of it being guilt, sadness, anger, jealousy) and I didn’t know anyone who’d been through anything similar, so I didn’t realize a lot of it was part of grief. It’s just been so helpful just to read other people’s stories and journeys and see how God’s been at work in their lives. I don’t know what i would have done without blogs like yours!!

  28. Thank you soo much for sharing. I was very touched and encouraged by your post, and able to relate with your story. I also lost my mom to cancer, almost exactly one year ago. she fought a hard 5 yr battle, and the ending , which i will spare you most of the messy details of, was also very tragic. My husband and I gave birth to our first son around the time when her health really took a decline. that was the hardest period of my life — trying to figure out how to take care of our crazy newborn, and figure out how to be there for my mom, who was a 7 hr drive away. It always saddened me that my mom didn’t get a chance to spend much time with her 1st grandson. Like you , we all knew my mom was sick, but didn’t expect her to go so quickly. We were even planning for a longer stay in the coming month near my mom so I could spend more time with her. But events quickly snowballed. We heard she was in a coma. We discussed our options and booked the quickest flight we could. Everyone told me I missed my mom literally by a couple hours. The events still sit so raw with me as I think about it now. I’ve also felt much anger and sadness over the whole experience, and massive amounts of guilt (for not being able to care for my mom). God has been at work in the last year healing wounds, and the days are not as dark as they once were, but i am still early in the grieving process. It took me a while to even figure out WHAT grief was — i was overcome by so many sorts of emotions in the beginning months (much of it being guilt, sadness, anger, jealousy) and I didn’t know anyone who’d been through anything similar, so I didn’t realize a lot of it was part of grief. It’s just been so helpful just to read other people’s stories and journeys and see how God’s been at work in their lives. I don’t know what i would have done without blogs like yours!!

  29. Connie says:

    I wasn’t there when either of my parents died. The hardest part for me was being 32 when I lost my Mom, and 44 when I lost my Dad. Suddenly, at 44, I was no longer ANY one’s daughter. Still breaks my heart some days.

    (((hugs)))

    Thanks for posting this.

  30. Connie says:

    I wasn’t there when either of my parents died. The hardest part for me was being 32 when I lost my Mom, and 44 when I lost my Dad. Suddenly, at 44, I was no longer ANY one’s daughter. Still breaks my heart some days.

    (((hugs)))

    Thanks for posting this.

  31. Tears are streaming down my face. My grandpa was in a coma when I arrived at the hospital and he never came out of it. I always try for my last words to be “I love you” when I leave a family member. I remember leaving his bedside in the hospital a few weeks earlier and saying “I love you.” I’ll never forget that his last words to me were “I love you too, Dollbaby.” It wasn’t the goodbye I wanted but God was there to comfort me…He still is! I praise God that he saved my grandpa and that he’s now at home with Him. There’s no comfort like that!

  32. Tears are streaming down my face. My grandpa was in a coma when I arrived at the hospital and he never came out of it. I always try for my last words to be “I love you” when I leave a family member. I remember leaving his bedside in the hospital a few weeks earlier and saying “I love you.” I’ll never forget that his last words to me were “I love you too, Dollbaby.” It wasn’t the goodbye I wanted but God was there to comfort me…He still is! I praise God that he saved my grandpa and that he’s now at home with Him. There’s no comfort like that!

  33. Thank you so much for sharing, Stacie! I’m going to the conference in OKC in Nov and I can’t wait.

  34. Thank you so much for sharing, Stacie! I’m going to the conference in OKC in Nov and I can’t wait.

  35. Hey, Stacie!

    I just discovered your blog for the first time today, and I wanted to thank you for sharing so genuinely. I love that you felt vulnerable, took a deep breath, and leaned into your discomfort. Look at all the people you touched!!

    I’m looking forward to learning more about/from you as I prepare to embark on the journey of homeschooling mom. :)

    Thanks for all the freebies! SOOOOOO exciting and helpful.

    Thanks again!!

  36. So my kids are watching Scooby Doo and I decided to browse your blog to look for things I’d missed in times past and I found this post–over a year late! I am so glad that you were able to go to the conference and reconnect and feel like you were 18 w/God again! Yea for conferences with extended times to hear from other followers of Christ and to be able to have time and focus to worship and pray. In the summer of 2010, I was able to go to a women’s conference, and was rebroken there. I had hardened my heart so that I wouldn’t be feeling all of the tough times I’d been having in the previous few years–to the point that I rarely cried. Thanks be to God and the women who prayed for the conference in the months leading up to it–within 1 minute of the worship music beginning, I was crying and back in the place where I was allowing God to comfort me and touch those hard spots. Apparently, I had been holding back, fearing that if I abandoned myself to Him again, then He would ask me to give up even more. Fallacious thinking! Instead, He began healing those hurts. Ah. Scooby Doo is over–thanks for your blog!

  37. Stacie –

    Trying to type through the tears but I think you and my fellow readers were meant to write to me…. My Dad live over 1000 miles away from me. In the past year he has struggled through 3 or 4 strokes, which has left him legally blind. I got to see him in January of this year, but I felt that my time there was just way too short. I have asked GOD several times to let me see him one more time for one more hug, but I am not sure that will end up the case. (At least not hear on earth anyway.) After reading all of the stories here my eyes have been opened to a side of things that I have not been looking at. Not only have you all given me an insight as to what I will more than likely be going through but you have also taught me to make sure that I make time at least every other day to call with a simple “I love you” to him. I don’t know what I will do when my heavenly Father calls my earthly father home I guess that will have to face those days one day at a time.

    Thank you, Stacie, for sharing your very personal experiences here with your readers.

    • Stacie Nelson says:

      Thank you so much, Jen! It is always amazing how God can use words written several years ago to encourage someone today. That just blesses my heart so much.

      I’m so glad you’ve been able to talk to your dad regularly, and I pray you’ve been able to share with him how much he has meant to you. I was just reminded of this the other day when my best friend’s mom died. Life is short–and we don’t always have the opportunity to say what we want to say–so be sure to take it while you can.

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