Counting OnGrace

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Stupid Target! (Not What You Think)

© 2018 Chantelle Henderson

So yeah.  I was in Target, a.k.a. Purgatory, when I was browsing the isle headed to the register.  I look to my left and right there in big, bold letters was, “FATHER’S DAY JUNE 17TH”.  I quickly went to the next isle over because I remembered that I wanted to get my mom a “just because” card.  As I round the corner the entire damn end cap was filled with Father’s Day gifts and trinkets.  That’s where I saw this desk name plaque.  I began sobbing at the sight of it all.  Memories flooded my heart before I could catch my breath.  I just stood there crying and staring at this stupid plaque and then I felt foolish as I told myself to pull it together and put my big girl granny panties on.  The next thing I know Ry came around the corner and saw me.  He didn’t even ask what was wrong because he saw all the products yelling, “DAD!”.  He just stood there, hugged me tightly, let me cry, and got some tissues out of my purse and told me he was sorry.  He also noticed that I wasn’t staring at anything but this name plate.  “Get it.”, he says.  “What?  You don’t think it’s stupid?  I mean I can envision it on my desk with a picture of Daddy right behind it.”, I replied.  So, standing there, a blubbering idiot, I grabbed the plaque and placed it in the cart.  Then something strange happened.  My heart still felt like a boulder was wrapped around it.  I couldn’t figure out why until the notification popped up accompanied by a loud ding.  “20 DAD BIRTHDAY TOMORROW “.  (As in his birthday is tomorrow, Sunday, May 20).  I didn’t know if I was supposed to laugh or cry in that moment to be honest.  Turns out that the pop up popping up demanded more tears and more releasing the pain in the stupid Target isle!  I came completely unglued. 

I really miss him.  Never imagined life without him.  Everywhere I look I see him, his smile, hear his voice and laughter.  I keep thinking 1 year and 6 months I’d be further along on this grief journey, but in the depths of my soul I know I will be on this journey for as long as he is no longer existing with me on this side of eternity and until I see him again.  The bottom line is that I cannot, nor do I want to stop grieving.  It’s the price I pay for having an amazing Daddy.  It’s the price I pay for the love shared between us.  It’s the price I pay for every memory of being sheltered and protected fiercely by a man of honor, integrity, grace, acceptance, humility, and unimaginable love. 

He was not a perfect man.  But like us all, he was a sinner saved by grace.  His life was no different than the next person.  He had his thorn in the flesh.  But dad also lived in the ocean of God’s amazing grace.  He, Papa God, promises us in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” 

In closing, with tears welling up in my eyes, but thanksgiving on my lips I am encouraged in the knowledge that for those of us who grieve there is no pressure to “get it right” because there is no wrong or right when grief presents itself. 
Sometimes the grief is a raging storm that makes us feel tossed to and fro and at other times it is standing on the beach with toes in the sand, eyes closed, and head lifted up while the breeze blows your hair gently in the wind.  Just like seasons, times, and the weather we don’t have a say.  God doesn’t consult us or seek permission when the sun is supposed to be shining and 79° with a 0% chance of rain and what occurs is actually an unforeseen hail storm with a record setting low temperature for that particular day.  You were prepared for the sun-filled, zero rain, let’s-go-to-the-park kinda day but instead you’re standing in the aftermath of a horrible tornado that left irreversible damage.  So, on the days you feel stupid or inadequate or not strong because you are engulfed in grief, remember that no matter how much hope you put in the possibility of a sunny day, when a storm happens instead it is still beyond your control and all you can do is ride it out.  No matter what, may we feel blessed in spite of our grief.  Why?  Because for many people they had no dad.  They don’t have someone to miss. They don’t get the, “BEST. DAD. EVER.” plaque.  Yours’s may be BEST MOM EVER, BEST SISTER EVER, BEST CHILD EVER, BEST SURVIVOR EVER.  You get the picture.  We are blessed because we had something or someone to have grieved with the same measure to which we loved. 

By the way, I started writing this last night.  It’s officially daddy’s Birthday, May 20th.  Happy 2nd Birthday in Heaven.  I endlessly love you to infinity and beyond.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

He Continues To Leave The 99

Chantelle Henderson ©2018

Main Church Building
Matthew 18:12

"What do you think? If any man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go and search for the one that is straying?

Inside these buildings I grew up in middle and high school. Oh, if these walls could talk. They would tell you that it is where I was developed in the faith. It is a small southern Baptist Church in Snellville, Georgia. Many a trip were taken that started from its parking lot in the church’s van. In the summers it was for our week long Centrifuge Youth camps. In the winter, it was ski trips to Gatlinburg, TN. I cannot keep track of how many conversations took place on the stairs as a confused and often wounded, hurt, and broken teen. No one knew my greatest secret. While being sexually abused it was the only place of comfort, healing, and protection. It was also a tremendous source of joy, laughter, and discovering who I am in Christ. I could barely wait for Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights. 
Youth Building

Now, it is doing the same thing as an adult, the woman who was molded and shaped from the young teenage girl in these buildings, is rediscovering with a new sense of renewal and hope, that inside the walls of these two buildings made of brick and mortar, there is an agent of healing, restoration, and joy. Every week I am here I still can’t help but to believe that the Lord knew that I would need it just as desperately now as I did back then. This is what I call Heavenly Papa blowing me kisses. He knew what it would take for me to walk on the road He has set before me. 

Stairway In The Youth Building
There's a Christian song out right now that's called Reckless Love and the lyrics go something like this:

"There's no shadow You won't light up
Mountain You won't climb up
Coming after me,
There's no wall You won't kick down
Lie You won't tear down
Coming after me,
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, 
reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights 'til I'm found, leaves the ninety-nine,
And I couldn't earn it, 
I don't deserve it, 
Still, You give Yourself away,
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, 
reckless love of God"

Many, many, many, too many to count throughout my life, he has left the 99 to come after me.  Nothing- mistakes made unintentionally and intentionally, deliberate sin, rebellion, disobedience, I mean NOTHING could ever separate me from The Father's love.  And nothing can ever separate you from His love either.  Romans 8:38-39 assures us that we are forever bound to the heart of our Heavenly Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  “I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.  No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Thank You Papa for the sweet details that we often overlook in the busyness and distractions of life. Thank You for reminding me that You will do whatever it takes. Thank You for leaving the 99 to come after  I found my baptism certificate a couple days ago and thought I'd share it below.  Oh the memories.......