valleys of sorrow to rivers of joy

My dear beautiful readers, 

I'm sorry I have been MIA this last week. My day to day was full to the brim of the unexpected. The kind that falls on your house like a tornado, picks you up in a whirlwind and takes your breath away. Last Wednesday, my precious dad ended up at the ER with a heart issue. The last days are a blur of fear but I remember racing to the hospital. Walking down the bright hallway and hearing my boots click loudly on the linoleum floor. Seeing one of my best friends - the most important man in my life - wheeled to a room in a gurney. Hearing the news of what happened and feeling the room spin. Fear. Fear overtaking me in a way I've never known. And concern, worry... for Dad. The next days unfolded in a cloud of exhaustion, anxiety, and concern. Throwing on a sweatshirt the next morning. Feeling the cold of early morning, the volunteer's cheerful "Goodmorning!" at the welcome desk as I signed into the hospital and my lurching heart responding silently It is NOT a good morning. Placing the "Visitor Pass" sticker on my sweater. Seeing Dad in pain and discomfort and just feeling so helpless. 
Dad underwent a procedure for a blockage to his heart. And friends, the waiting, the fear, the pain, the panic - through it all, my family and I saw the Lord's hand so clearly over the situation. My dad is like a character outta "Braveheart" (he's totally of Scottish/British decent too :) such a strong man in every way, and he fearlessly faced the uncertainty and pain. The Lord spared him so obviously and performed miracles. During the second day, I had a speaking engagement and was blown away by the precious women students who asked to pray for my dad. Our family was showered in prayer and love from family and friends. Two dear friends in Australia even called the hospital. We found out that God spared my dad significantly. Had the timing been off, it could have been much worse. My mom urged him to go to the ER and had she not, he may not be with us today. The thought makes me shudder, and is a harsh but important reminder.... life is so short. Life is so precious. Life is a gift. And God has a plan. I share this with you because on this little blog, I feel called to share my story with you. I am blown away by the Lord's hand on my family, His grace, and His faithfulness. His timing is perfect. Even when things don't work out as wonderfully as they have for my dad. He is healing now and resting. I appreciate your prayers for complete restoration of health. But he is OK - making jokes and charming everybody - back to his old self. The past days of basically living in the hospital taught me so much.... 

In moments of fear, I snuck away a few times to the maternity/NICU ward that was right by my dad's room. Because, seeing adorable little babies makes this girl feel better! Sweet tiny babies, dads holding them... such a reminder of how precious life is, how valuable family is. And meeting a few people whose stories rocked my heart. I encountered a mother who told me her 24 year old daughter was diagnosed with cancer that morning. I saw suffering in every corner. Yet, in my daily life, I don't encounter much suffering. I push it aside, honestly - and distract myself with the joys of life... Starbucks lattes, family... the sweet things. But there is so much suffering in the world, and I was reminded this week - oh how we need Jesus. 

Early last week, before anything occurred, an old song from one of my favorite bands played in my mind. For no reason. How thankful I was when the trial hit us that these words of truth rang in my mind.

Friend - if you are walking through some type of fear, loss, or tribulation today - may you be reminded through this post that He is with you, He has a plan (Jeremiah 29:11) and His hand is on your situation. You are loved. He is with you in the valley. He will carry you from valleys of sorrow... to rivers of joy. In this world and life we will have many troubles, Scripture says - but someday, we will find rivers of joy - eternally with Him. Hallelujah. 

When death - like a gypsy - comes to steal what I love
I will still look to the heavens.
I will still seek Your face.

Love you all so so much and thank you from me and my family
for your MANY prayers, emails and love. Means the world.
Embrace your life today and your loved ones. 
Life is short. And beautiful.