Posts Tagged ‘grieving’

Writer’s Block or Just Grieving?
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Our last family photo with Hannah

Before my daughter went to her permanent residence in heaven I found it easier to write and post on my blog. I felt like it was cathartic in many ways. It helped me to get the word out and tell the story about all the wonderful things the Lord is doing on the Border, the Baja and Beyond. I also shared some of my personal musings and reflections as I deemed it appropriate.

I wouldn’t say that I don’t enjoy writing now, but I would say it’s harder. In some of the books I’ve read about grief, they mention how many of the things that used to bring us joy are now hollow. I feel that at times, and even though in a few days we will hit the five month mark there are still a rollercoaster of emotions that I experience. I wish there were another way, but I don’t think there is. I believe that all in all Dawn and I are doing well considering what we are passing through. Yet, it’s still painful. There are still those moments where we want to scream out, Why? Why? Why? Fortunately, the Lord doesn’t leave us there he comforts us, and many friends surround us.

God Does Sustain Us in Our Suffering!

A little over a week ago our friend and pastor, Stephen Phelan asked Dawn and me to share in church about how the Lord sustains us in our suffering. I thought I’d share some of that here with you as well, including a dream that our friend Marissa had.

I never really understood how horrible death was until our daughter died
I realize that this isn’t the way it’s supposed to be, and there’s not a day that goes by that Dawn and I don’t feel some sadness, some frustration and like a part of us is gone.
I Miss My Beautiful Radiant Daughter
Our beautiful daughter and beloved sister, Hannah

Our beautiful radiant daughter and much loved sister, Hannah. We miss her dearly

I miss my daughter. I’m glad Hannah is dancing and partying in heaven, whatever that looks like, but I want to hold her and hug her again. I want to see her beautiful radiant smile in living color. There is a hole now that can’t fully be filled. That is my grief, that is my mourning song. I’m learning firsthand how cruel death is.

There is a type of groaning. One of the hard things about death is there are no do overs. No second chances. It is final. When I see pictures of Hannah and I’m reminded of her for a moment I think there must be a way to see her again this side of heaven. Maybe it’s a longing God puts inside of me. A longing for eternity, and a longing for something more and something greater than what this life has to offer.
God is Good, He Holds Me Tight
My anchor and what I’ve had to remember:
God is good
God is love
God is in control
These are simple truths, but it’s what I keep going back to when I get confused and lost on this long and winding road that we are on.
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I love this picture because Hannah took it at Starbucks one of our favorite places to hang out, and she put it on my lock screen on my phone

There’s a lot I don’t understand. I don’t understand why my daughter had to die at such a young age? Now I wonder why just a few months after Hannah’s early home going, why does my dad have to have inoperable lung cancer? Why do we have to endure two hard things so close together?

God made it clear to me that it is good to grieve and it is right to grieve. 1 Thessalonians 4:13 says we grieve, but not as those without hope.
Grieving With My Mechanic
About a week after Hannah passed away I took my car in to my mechanic and he asked me how my family was doing. My mechanic is from Afghanistan, and he’s not a believer.
I told him how my daughter had died, and that it was hard. I said, “my faith gives me hope, and that I grieve, but not like those without hope.” He said, “that is easy to say,” and I responded, “no it’s not really, because I don’t get to hug my daughter anymore, I don’t get to kiss her and tell her I love her. I don’t get to go out for coffee or have any dates with her. I don’t get to walk her down the aisle at her wedding. All our dreams and aspirations are gone.”
He softened up after this, and told me of how he had been struggling with drinking , and his wife forced him to go get help. Then he told me he had a vacation home in Bajamar, which is near Ensenada and offered to let me use it. The Lord used him to encourage me, as he opened up.
Hannah’s home going  made me hate death more, and it made me long for heaven. If I’m honest a big reason I want to go to heaven is to see my daughter again and to give her a big kiss and a big hug. What a wonderful day that will be.
12362973_734515866680367_9062266216563511086_oMarissa’s Dream
I’d like to end this longer post than usual with a dream. An experience that Hannah’s good friend Marissa Irakoze shared with us.
I woke up today feeling a really intense feeling of happy and sad. I had a dream I saw both of you and Jon and David standing by a bench, we were in Heaven from how peaceful and joyful I felt. There was a girl sitting with her back turned towards me, but she had soft brown curled hair just like Hannah would wear hers when she lived with us. I thought “no, there’s no way that could be Hannah”. She turned around and immediately I burst into something that was crying, squealing and laughing all at the same time. I somehow managed to say “I really thought I would never see you again!! I really felt like this day would never come!! I can’t believe this is you!!” And she just looked SO healthy. Healthier, more joyful, incredibly at peace, and everything about her just glowed, and so so content. I wish I could describe it. She hugged me tight and just said “see? I told you it wouldn’t be long until I would see you guys again! I told you not to worry because I’m with Jesus!”
 
I feel encouraged and sad, because we’re still on the other side of this dream and it DOES feel like it’s taking forever to be able to join her. But in the dream, I could tell I had been waiting so long to see her, but once I looked back it was nothing compared to the eternity we now had to catch up. It was one of the strangest feeling I’ve had in a dream.
 
Praying for you all today ❤️❤️
I told Marissa that I shared this dream with our church, and she said that it was the clearest dream she’s ever had. I think it’s God graciously giving us a glimpse of heaven!
“For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭30:5‬ ‭ESV‬‬
Thank you so much for standing with us. Thank you so much for letting me share my heart with you. I pray the Lord’s rich and bountiful blessings on you!
In His Grip, Dave
The Commissioning
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Petri with his core team behind him during commissioning service

Today (Sunday) was both an exhilarating and a painful day. Dawn and I went to Ensenada today to be with our friends. I’ve tried to keep you updated about the new church planting project in Ensenada, Renuevo that Jesus ‘Petri’ Petrikowski is leading. The Lord gave us the opportunity to participate in the commissioning of Petri and Yudy and their team as they leave La Nueva Jerusalén to start their new church.

They’ve been meeting as a core group now for a number of months, and the group is growing and coming together. Petri and Yudy felt like it was time for them to start meeting on Sundays as they continue to move forward on this new church plant. I’ve been concerned for Petri and Yudy, because I’ve not been able to support them as much as I would have liked to since Hannah passed away. Yet, they’ve just kept on going.

Surprised Again by God’s Good Work
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It was a privilege for me to pray for Petri & Yudy and the church planting core team  of Renuevo

I’m pleasantly surprised by the progress they are making, and it brings me great joy to see the Lord working through them.

The ministry continues and I know it’s not dependent on me, which is a good thing.

After the commissioning service Dawn and I were able to meet with the core group, and they are excited for what lies ahead. We enjoyed the opportunity to plan, dream and pray with them. They are all very special friends who love us and they love Hannah.

Another Painful First

In a sense that was the painful part of the day. Today marked the first day that Dawn had been to Ensenada since Hannah went to be with the Lord. She woke up today feeling sad and heavy.

I will let Dawn share the story herself from what she wrote.

Dave wrote at the bottom of this post (referring to a post on the Hannah Diaso Memorial page on Facebook) the verse that says, “joy comes in the morning.” Unfortunately, the joy has not yet come for me yet this morning. Dave wants to go to Ensenada today to a special church service, because of an upcoming new church plant. I am hating the idea to have to face another first going to Ensenada for the first time now without Hannah.

She loved going to Ensenada to minister with us there, and Ensenada was the last place she went to minister with us in Mexico before she died.

I woke up crying today and I am missing Hannah terribly. Recently it seems like the longer that it has been since she “moved to heaven”, the harder it has been for me.

Please pray that God shows me what I should do with myself during these upcoming challenging days. This morning all I want to do is go to heaven. Life on earth can be so very painful and difficult– seemingly unbearable at times.😰

God Loves Us and He Cares for Us
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Dawn and I enjoyed spending some time with our friends and eating some good fish tacos after the service

The Lord did minister to Dawn today, really to both of us. When she got out of the car to go into the church she started sobbing, but we were met there by some loving friends that knew Hannah. Our friends loved on Dawn, and they lifted up Dawn’s spirit and we both ended up feeling much better.

This day was a little harder than most, but we are still in the thick of the grieving process. Still a number of difficult firsts to pass through. Jesus is with us in these moments and he uses his people to love on us and minister to us. Thank you so much for praying for us and for praying for this amazing work in Ensenada!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

God’s Reassurance
Hannah with Daisy near the flowers that bloom this time of year

Hannah with Daisy in front of the flowers that bloom this time of year near our home

I’ve gone back and forth as to whether I should share my experience via this site or not. I’m finding it hard to express in writing the power and the impact that a recent  encounter with the Lord has had on me. I pray that you find this story uplifting.

Last week the Lord met me in a special way. While Dawn and I were praying with a group of people I felt pressure like a hand on my back. I thought it might be another person, or Dawn. After a while I realized that there wasn’t a person laying their hand on me, so I continued to pray and press in. I asked the Lord what was going on.

I felt the Lord’s presence and comfort. Then he reminded me that not only was he with me at that moment, but he was also there with us when Hannah passed away. He escorted Hannah to heaven, and he came alongside Dawn and me to get us through the horrendous hours that we endured while we came to grips with what happened to our beautiful daughter. I started sobbing as the Lord revealed this too me.

The Peace of Christ
I saw these flowers blooming this week and it reminded me of Hannah and the photo above

I saw these flowers blooming this week and it reminded me of Hannah.

One of the issues I’ve struggled with is that I keep seeing in my mind how Hannah looked when she died. Sometimes I feel like this image haunts me. The Lord impressed upon me that Hannah no longer looks like that. It was a very emotional experience. I felt the Lord pouring his healing power into me, and his waves of his love over me.

We’ve had a number of friends of ours who have seen visions of our daughter in heaven. Those dreams and visions that our friends have shared with us have been a source of inspiration for us. Yet, for some reason we’ve not had any dreams or visions. I feel like there’s a part of me that needs a constant reassurance that my daughter is in heaven. That allows me to grieve, but not like those without hope. Hope is vital. We can’t live without it.

On Saturday during this time of prayer I saw a bright light, and then I saw trees with their green leaves and a beautiful blue sky. I didn’t see Hannah, but I had a sense that she was there, in heaven and in peace. I felt the Lord’s overwhelming peace during this time.

It was an unbelievable experience. On the way home I tried to explain to Dawn what happened, and I just couldn’t. Finally after some time and more tears I was able to share my experience with Dawn. Thank you Jesus for your overwhelming love, your care and your tender mercies.

I hope this story of how Jesus showed up and ministered to me in a deep and profound way will also lift you up. Thank you for joining us on this journey!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Travel, Hellos and Goodbyes
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David Jr. with Dawn and Dave in Napa, CA. Our last day together before David left for Connecticut

Last week Dawn and I were traveling in Northern California for a ministry meeting. We were also able to fit in a few days with our son, David before we said goodbye. He is moving to Connecticut for his job. After saying a tearful goodbye to David, we headed to Fresno. While in Fresno we saw my parents. My dad was in ICU after surgery on his lungs. We now know that he has cancer caused by asbestos from his days of working in construction when he was younger. Another unpleasant trial for our family.

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Dave & Dawn with Nadine

One of the highlights of the trip was my cousin Nadine’s daughter, Audra’s wedding. While at the wedding we saw a number of relatives we hadn’t seen in a while. Most of them weren’t able to come to Hannah’s funeral service. It was good to visit with my extended family again. They encouraged us through their heartfelt words.

We Have to Keep Moving Forward
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Dave and Dawn with the newlyweds, Michael and Audra Rodriguez  with Dave’s brother, John his wife, Treena and daughter, Baylee

One of my relatives who lost her husband a few years ago told me the first year was very difficult, and that all she could do was just keep trying to move forward. I feel that’s what Dawn and I are doing. We are staying busy, and we are traveling more than usual.

The Lord has ministered to us as we’ve been on the road, and it seems as we give to others it lifts up our spirits.

Yesterday (Saturday) marked four months since Hannah passed away. Our emotions are all over the place. We do feel the Lord’s presence and we believe he is bringing healing to us, but grieving has definitely been the hardest thing we’ve ever done.

O Lord, Make Our Lives Count for Eternity
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The Rainbow a beautiful reminder of God’s promise

Part of my prayer through this is that the Lord will make the time I have left on the earth count for eternity. It’s not necessarily a new prayer, but I do think it’s more focused and more intense. Hannah’s early home going made it crystal clear how short our time is. The Bible says the time we have on the earth is but a vapor. I didn’t think about that very often until my daughter’s life was cut short.

I’ve said this before and I’m sure I’ll say it again, but one of the primary elements that the Lord has used to keep us afloat is the encouragement and prayers of our friends. All the notes are amazing. It’s been wonderful to have all the communication we’ve had on the Hannah Diaso Memorial on Facebook.

Dawn and I keep pouring our hearts out, and so many of you respond and love on us and tell us that you are praying. Hallelujah! Thank you Jesus for our friends. Thank you for letting us be real.

The Necessity of Prayer!

The Lord ministered to me in a very profound way through a time of prayer last night. I was going to write about it here, but I don’t want this post to be too long. I hope to write about how God met me and comforted me at my point of need in my next post later this week.

In the meantime I’d like to ask you to keep praying for us.

  • Pray for the Lord’s continued healing and grace
  • Pray for wisdom as we serve and plan out the upcoming months
  • Pray for my dad’s healing as he’s in rehab, and we are still waiting to find out what the treatment for his cancer will be.
  • Pray for the Lord’s protection as we are experiencing ongoing attack. We know that Christ is the victor and we trust in him.
  • This upcoming Saturday we are taking a youth group from Redeemer San Diego to Ensenada to work with our new church planting project, Renuevo. Pray also for Petri and Yudy as they lead the church plant.
  • Continue to pray for the pastors and leaders we work with in Tijuana.

Thanks so much dear friends!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

A New Year with New Opportunities
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David Sr., Jonathan, Dawn & David Jr. Our new normal

There are some positives to starting a new year. It gives us a chance to recalibrate. We can look back on the past year, and see where we’ve come from. A new year means new opportunities. I must say, that I’ve never had a new year quite like this one.

Last year ended on such a rough note, with our beautiful daughter’s passing. The problem with death I’m finding is there’s no time limit on the pain. The sadness and frustration come at what seems like the oddest times.

Needless to say Dawn and I are starting this new year off still dealing with the aftershocks of Hannah’s death. We are hopeful for a better 2017!

Thankful for Community
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I like this photo, because it represents some of our community which extends from Mexico to Cuba to the U.S.A and Beyond. Our Lord has blessed us with many friends!

I think we are more mindful than ever of the need for community. The necessity for friends to surround us and lift us up in prayer.

We ended the new year traveling from the State of Washington through Oregon and we landed in Redding, California on New Year’s Eve. David and Jonathan were with us, and a friend, Jacob Betchol. On the first day of the year we had the privilege of going to church and worshipping the King of Kings. We attended a wonderful and joyous service. Our loving Father met us there in a special way.

God’s Promises for a Better Tomorrow
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We are Going to Give it #AHannahPercent this Year!    Hannah, we miss you and we love you.

My heavenly Father reminded me of some important truths regarding Hannah’s death. I needed to hear this. “It’s not your fault (that’s something I’ve struggled with). It was Hannah’s appointed time to go. I took her and I will take good care of her.” These are truths the Lord had already assured me of, but as a father who loves his daughter so dearly I needed to hear them again. It was a good way to start off the new year.

As I think of beginning a new year I realize that part of this year includes healing. My family and I still need the Lord’s healing touch. Yet, another thing that the Lord has assured me of is that this is not the end, but the beginning of something greater.

The Lord has reminded me that it is right to grieve Hannah’s loss. Weeping endures for the night, but we will see victory; daybreak is coming. “Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning” (Psalm 30:5b). It’s like Jesus is saying to me personally, “Cease striving and know that I am God. Do not dwell on the pain. You are a testimony of my grace, and my strength is made perfect in your weakness. I will uphold you. You will not shrink back.”

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Hannah with her brothers, Jonathan & David

It is with this hope and assurance that we begin 2017. Yes, we are hurting. Yes, we are in pain, but God is our deliverer. He will not leave us here forever. In fact, he says that he will never leave us or forsake us!

This year we will begin to experience victory. The Lord is going to use our suffering and he will use our tears for his glory.

So I choose to be hopeful as we begin 2017. I continue to ask you to hold us up in prayer. We will not succeed without your loving support. Dawn and I give thanks for you!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Celebration and Mourning
The inaugural service for Ministerios Transformación in Rosarito. Church #29
The inaugural service for Ministerios Transformación in Rosarito. Church #29

The day before Hannah died, we had reason to celebrate. Ministerios Transformacion’s 29th church held their inaugural service. A church that we helped to build, and plant. We were so excited for the new birth and for our friends Pastor Obed Lares and his wife, Cesiah.

I’m not going to lie that even though this is a great achievement for kingdom advancement, that because of the circumstances it was hard to celebrate. We were and we are thankful for this new work, but the shock of Hannah’s early departure totally knocked us off balance. Her home going caught us by surprise. We’ve been trying to sort life out since then.

Getting Back in the Battle
Our beautiful daughter and beloved sister, Hannah
Our beautiful daughter and beloved sister, Hannah. We miss her dearly.

The Lord in his graciousness is bringing healing, but it is a slow process. Dawn and I are getting back in the battle. We are starting to minister to others. Yet, our hearts aren’t always there.

Today we head out to Mexico City. Then on Tuesday we arrive in Havana, Cuba to connect with some friends there. The Lord is opening some wonderful doors for us in Cuba. I will write more about that later.

Over the last month and a half Dawn and I needed to slow down. We’ve needed to mourn and grieve. We still are in the process of doing that, but as time goes on we are grieving while serving. Some days we feel more up than others. Things that used to bring us joy, now don’t. Yet we are not despairing.

Death is a terrible thing. The Apostle Paul says, “The last enemy to be destroyed is death” (1 Cor. 15:26). Later in same chapter Paul,goes on to say, “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (1 Cor. 15:54, 55). Glory to God that in Christ we have victory over death, as painful as it might feel today, Jesus has removed the sting of death.

We give thanks that the ministry is not dependent on us. The church continues to grow. Yet, the Lord is so loving and gracious. He carefully teaches us and draws us to himself.

Join us in Prayer!

Please join us in prayer as we learn this new way. We are learning what we call our “new normal”. We need wisdom and grace, as we move forward in ministry. We pray that we will see many more churches planted. Many more people reached for Christ, many more that become disciples. We pray that the Lord will use, even Hannah’s  untimely death to spur others on to love and good deeds. O Lord, do be glorified! Be lifted up, and build your church!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Ty & Terri’s Incredible Influence
Terri & Ty Schenzel

Terri & Ty Schenzel

This week as I’ve been grieving the loss of my friends, Ty & Terri Schenzel a couple of things have happened. One is as I followed the news and their memorial page on Facebook, I learned what a huge impact they made in Omaha. They touched literally thousands. More than 3,000 attended their funeral, and an estimated 13,000 watched it via the internet.

I knew they were amazing people, but the impact they made, the influence they had was incredible.

The memorial service was held on Wednesday, August 26th. You can read more about the service and their lives here…

They Shared An Extraordinary Marriage
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Ty & Terri shared an extraordinary love for one another

My wife, Dawn directed me to an article written about Ty and Terri’s marriage. A young woman, Melissa Joy Kong traveled around the United States and interviewed 100 couples that had extraordinary marriages. Ty & Terri were one of the couples she interviewed, and Melissa said they stood out from the other couples, because of the Schenzel’s warmth and the obvious love they demonstrated for one another.

You can find the article here, which includes an audio interview.

Ty & Terri Finished Well

As I reflect on their lives I feel proud of what my friends accomplished. I’m so Glad to have known them. I regret not having more contact with them since we left seminary.

They lived well and they finished well. The apostle Paul exhorted the church to run in such a way that we receive the prize. “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.” (1 Corinthians 9:24) Then later at the end of his life he tells Timothy, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7)

In reflecting on the wonderful legacy that Ty and Terri left, it causes me to consider what kind of legacy am I building? What influence and impact does my life have? Those are good questions to consider.

One of our seminary professors, Dr. William Iverson used to talk to us about outliving and out dying our generation. Ty and Terri accomplished that, may we follow their example and do the same.

Grieving & Reconnecting
Students from ISOT in the Core Module - led by Dr. William Iverson

Students from ISOT in the Core Module – led by Dr. William Iverson

As part of my grieving process, last week I started to contact all my old friends from seminary. Friends who knew Ty and Terri and because of that we shared a common bond.

I found the reconnection to be refreshing, and to bring me a level of comfort and healing. One of the classmates I connected with was Dieter Zander. As we chatted I learned about the amazing journey he’s been on over the last several years. I asked him if it would be okay for me to share his story with others, and he said yes, so next week I hope to write about his life and the redeeming work that God is doing.

“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” Psalm 116:15

I’m so thankful that we have a loving God who makes sense of this crazy world that we live in. He brings order out of the chaos. He gives us hope when it seems hopeless.

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org