Finding God's Joy Again
Finding God's Joy Again — February 14th
Dr. Marr shares a blog post from a Southcliff Member
February 10th was the anniversary of my son's death 16 years ago. One of my sisters sent me a note on my phone that hit me pretty hard – but in a good way.
She reminded me that I had been through tragedy and had been on a long journey over those 16 years. And that is true. Besides dealing with his death I dealt with difficulties at work, a few moves, a couple of failed relationships and the death of my father.
Then, in 2011, my life took a dramatic change for the better. I found my wonderful wife, Arden, and made one final move – from Florida to Texas.
2011 was a big year in another way as well. I began going to church again after a long hiatus. Not that I had lost my faith. I never did. But I hadn't regularly attended church in a few decades.
Arden took me to her church for the Singing Christmas Tree performance in December of 2011 and introduced me to her pastor, Dr. Carroll Marr. I was impressed by both. (Being a preacher's kid myself I was rather picky about pastors after leaving home and my dad's church.)
Arden and I were married by Dr. Marr in 2012 and I officially joined the church in 2013. We have attended regularly since then. It's been a joy to finally be back in a church home – particularly one we both love.
In 2015, the same year we went with a group from our church to Israel, I volunteered my abilities with the Praise Band, playing acoustic guitar. I say “abilities” rather than “talent” because the people I play with are far more talented than me. But they let me be a part of it and it's something I truly enjoy. I have played in three of the Singing Christmas Tree performances to date.
Annette reminded me of something I already knew but it hit home when I read it, particularly in light of the February 10th anniversary. Over the years since my son's death, through all of the pain and difficulties, God brought me to this place in my life and has blessed me tremendously. I have a wonderful, loving wife, a son and daughter-in-law, a wonderful, beautiful, granddaughter, and a second granddaughter on the way.
When my son died, I never really believed I would one day be a grandfather. I was in various relationships with women who had children but they didn't work out and I never really saw it happening. Today I am a “Grampa” and couldn't be happier.
I have also been blessed with the opportunity to share my story with others, about how God brought me through that horrible time in my life, both in the church and online. I gave out or sold at least 12 copies of my book, “How Do You Say Good-bye?” in the last year. (Fellow club members get theirs for free.) My story, or parts of it, was told at the church three times last year and I had church members who are club members ask me for copies of my book.
It is apparent to me that God is using me and my life experiences to help others. I have had countless thank you's from people who have read the book and applied it to their own grief. One friend I met last year lost his son to a tragic accident. After reading the book he said “Thank you. You said in your book exactly what I was feeling but was unable to articulate."
God at work through me. What could be better than that?
My sister used the phrase “joy again.” And that's pretty accurate. After a long period of pain and feeling lost, I found my soulmate, returned to the church and began giving back to God, and things keep getting better and better. My life changed drastically in 2002. And in the last six years God has changed it drastically again. I have joy again. And all I can say is “Thank you, Lord.”