On December 10th, 1984 my world was rocked. I was 11 years old at the time. I still remember that day very clearly. I remember being woken up in the middle of the night by my mom and grandma to tell me the horrific news.
My dad worked at a lumber mill as a plainer and he was involved in a freak accident that took his life. I remember sitting in my bed in shock and crying. I remember all the family and friends that showed up that day to encourage and support us.
Christmas that year was very difficult. It was hard to celebrate and be joyful when our loss was still so fresh. I remember that I desperately wanted a Foosball table that year for Christmas. I got it, but I found it extremely difficult to enjoy it.
From that year on Christmas took on a whole new meaning for me. It began to become a reminder of the loss of my dad. For many years Christmas would bring back a flood of painful memories as I was reminded that I would be facing the rest of my life without my dad.
How would my life have been different if my dad hadn’t died?
Even though it has been just over 28 years now I still experienced some of these feelings this past Christmas. I found myself wondering how my life would have been different if my dad hadn’t died.
Would I still have chosen to be a pastor?
Would I still have married my wife?
Would I be a different dad to my children?
While I was pondering these questions I was gently reminded (by the Holy Spirit) that I can’t focus on what could have been. I was reminded that I need to focus on what is – the reality of the circumstances that I find myself in because of my dad’s death.
Accepting the reality of my situation
My dad’s death began a chain of events that led me to go to Bible School and become a pastor.
If I hadn’t gone to Bible School I never would have met my wife Lauren (I can’t imagine doing life without her).
Not having a dad for those formative years of my life definitely impacted my ability to be a dad but I can’t allow that to stop me from being the best dad that I can be.
Even though it was a horrific and painful situation I can look back now with thankfulness for how God used my dad’s death for His glory and for His purposes.
Accepting the reality of your situation.
I don’t know what you are experiencing right now but if you focusing on “what could have been if (fill in the blank) hadn’t happened”, I would encourage you to focus on what is. Focus on the reality of your situation and learn to accept it.
I would also encourage you to look for God’s hand at work in your life despite whatever it is that you went through.
You might be surprised at the hidden blessings that you find.
Do you struggle with accepting the reality of your situation? How have you seen God’s hand at work through a painful or difficult situation?