I took a few deep breaths, said a quick prayer, and put some gum in my mouth to try to calm my stomach. Then I slowly got out of the car and made my way into the funeral home. Time went a million miles a minute and in slow motion all at the same time. Grief is strange like that sometimes.
As I walked inside, holding tightly to my husband’s arm, I scanned the quiet crowd of familiar faces. Of all of the people that were there, I needed to find my grandma. I needed to know how she was doing. I needed her hug. I needed to hold her hand, not for her sake, but for my own. I can only imagine how hard it is for her to say goodbye to her husband after 60 years of marriage. That thought is one of the hardest parts for me.
As we gathered into the chapel to start the funeral services, my uncle lead our family and friends in a prayer. I can honestly say, I have never heard a more true and beautiful prayer in all my life.
“Father God, this is really hard. We’re hurting. We’re brokenhearted. We don’t know how to do this. We don’t know how to make this better…”
His humble prayer reached deep places in my soul, and it’s stirred my heart ever since.
A few days after the funeral services, my grandfather received a full military service and burial at the Fort Richardson National Cemetery. For me personally, that day was harder than the funeral. I’ve never been a part of a funeral procession before. It was one of the most incredible and honoring things I have ever experienced. As the hearse made its way through the military base carrying my grandfathers flag draped casket inside, vehicles pulled to the side of the road. Men stopped what they were doing, got out of their vehicles in the snow, and stood at attention as they waited for the procession. It was beautiful, and left me speechless.
Our family arrived at the cemetery along with my grandfathers body, and we were escorted to the small chapel outdoors. Death knows no season, not even in the winter in Alaska. Off in the distance, waiting under the covering of the outdoor chapel, stood a marine in dress blues. Her eyes were fixed, and her body was steady as she stood at attention, even in the cold. There my sister waited, the most beautiful marine I have ever seen, paying honor and tribute to the first man she truly loved. He was her reason for serving in the marines, Peepaw.
His funeral service began, and her attention was unwavering. The flag that was draping his casket was meticulously folded into a triangle and handed to a gentleman for the remainder of the service.
Rifles were raised and shots were fired into the air but the moment that stood out to me the most was when the gentleman handed the flag to my sister. It was she, who would have the privilege of presenting the flag representing his faithful service to this country, to my grandma.
In that moment, as my grandma kissed the flag while her tears fell upon it, my uncles humble prayer rang through my heart again. “Father God, this is really hard!”
Sometimes life is REALLY hard. Sometimes life leaves us hurting, and brokenhearted in ways we don’t know how to handle. Sometimes there’s just no way to make things better…but God can.
“God this is REALLY hard!”
How often are we faced with really hard things in life?
How often do we cry out to God and ask for His help?
How often do we as Him to fix it, in His ways and not our own?
I know that I often struggle with what to pray, when life gets hard. I feel like in order to pray, I need to know what to say, what to ask for, but that’s not true. I don’t need to tell God how to fix it, God knows. God knows when we have no words at all. God knows.
“Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”
Romans 8:26-27 NKJV
Although life is often very good, sometimes it is also very hard! I challenge you, as you face difficult situations in life, to think of that simple prayer my uncle prayed. Cry out in humble prayer and ask the Lord for help. He will take care of you.
He loves you!
“From the end of the earth I will cry to You, When my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”
Psalms 61:2 NKJV
In His Love,
Special thanks to Rebekah Lewing of Lewing Photography for capturing the beautiful images of the service.
*Previously published on 2/10/2016.
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