My little guy, Daniel, is almost 3. I am the preschool director for Vacation Bible School this week and I was very unsure about whether to let him join my group or not. The first night, he was miserable in the nursery so he ended up with me in preschool, and much to my surprise, he did great. He sang the songs, followed directions, talked to his leaders, played the games and made the crafts. He has blown me away this week.

As I was watching him sing and dance tonight, I realized that sometimes we have to just give something a try. I had so many doubts and questions about whether Daniel was ready, but he totally rocked it. At home, he is a busy two year old, but when presented with the chance, he became a mature almost three year old. If we don’t take the chance, we will never know whether something is possible.

Step out of your comfort zone this week. Do something that you are unsure about. You may find yourself pleasantly surprised at the joyous outcome of stepping out of the familiar.

Saying goodbye to two friends in less than two months has been hard. We have cried until we hurt all over. 36 and 37 years old. That’s too young to have to say goodbye. These should be the best years of our lives; raising our kids, loving our spouses, and chasing our dreams.

We shouldn’t be attending funerals.

Now, I know that these guys both knew the Lord and because of this, they are in a better place. I know that if we put our faith and trust in Jesus, that yes, we will see them again some day. And while that does bring a little bit of comfort; it doesn’t fill the hole.

These two men are in heaven. But they left their wives and kids behind. These two mamas are widowed. These two mamas are now single parents who will have to try to work twice as hard to provide for their households. These two mamas are left trying to explain why Daddy isn’t there, and No, for the 300th time, we can’t go see him. And no, he isn’t coming home. And every time her heart will ache.

All new routines. One bedtime hug instead of two. An empty pillow that still smells like him. A tear stained pillow that hasn’t seen sleep in weeks. A closet filled with clothes that only serve as a reminder that he’s gone. And the heartache grows.

Yes, I believe that God heals. Yes, I believe God will give these mamas strength. And yes, I believe they will have friends and family that will step in and play vital roles in making the next few weeks and months successful.

But Daddy is still gone.

It’s not fair. It’s not right. I don’t like it. And it sucks.

My insides ache for these mamas. Every birthday, holiday, and family gathering is going to be hard. All of the firsts are going to make them miss Daddy even more. Mama will still be there cheering those little ones on and they are going to bounce back so much better than she realizes. But that doesn’t make Daddy come back. Or miss him any less.

I’m not angry with God, but I just don’t understand. Why take the good ones? Why take these men who were loving their families well. Why? Why? Why?

We may never know why. But I do know that life is going to be really, really hard on these families for a while and they are going to need our prayers, love and support more than ever. We can’t take Daddy’s place, no one ever can; but we can help fill the gap, some way, some how.

hand1Oh Dear Jesus,

Hold us as we we cry. Cradle us as we weep. Catch every tear and hold it close to your heart. We can’t make it through without your help. We just don’t understand, but we need help trusting that you are still good. When it doesn’t make sense, give us the faith to grab your outstretched hand.  Bless these precious, grieving families. Grant added strength to those weary mamas. And give us the strength to not quit living, but to live even fuller than before.

Amen.