Posts Tagged ‘suffering’

Writer’s Block or Just Grieving?
img_3511

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.
IMG_1271

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 Bombs are Falling!
Dave at the U.S. Mexico border - Life on the Border

Dave at the U.S. Mexico border – Life on the Border

I read an interesting article this week that referred to the effects that the bombings had on the English in WWII. The Germans thought that if they bombed the English in their homeland that it would dishearten them. They thought it would weaken the English.

Interestingly enough it had the opposite effect. It emboldened the English. The people begin to think, if I could survive a bomb I can survive anything.

God Strengthens Us Through Trials
Pretty much how we hope things will be, and the reality of the trials of life

Pretty much how we hope things will be, and the reality of the trials of life

I think that’s a great picture of how God uses trials in our lives. We don’t like the curves in our lives. Maybe we’d like a little more routine, but the Lord uses the valleys to strengthen us.

That’s what Dawn and I are finding as we traverse this long and winding road.

I’m not saying that we don’t get down. What I am speaking to is how we grow, and we are strengthened even when it seems like there are explosions going off all around us.

God is Our Refuge

Maybe that’s what the Psalmist is feeling when he wrote Psalm 46.

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah”

Psalm 46:1-3 ESV

Hannah, Dawn and Dave

Hannah, Dawn and Dave

Even though everything around us is falling apart, we do not fear. We are not afraid, because God is there. The Lord holds everything together. When things seem chaotic they aren’t. God brings order out of chaos. He has a purpose in it all.

Our family has been walking through this trial with our daughter for two months now. It’s been a journey filled with low points and high points.

The only constant is that God is there, and he is carrying us through it. He is our rock and refuge.

Hannah reminded us the other day that she wants to love God and enjoy him forever. Which is the answer to the first question of the Westminster Shorter Catechism. What is the chief end of man?

As we seek to love God and enjoy him forever there are the good and bad moments. There are the high points and the low points.

Coming Forth as Gold

Job is a constant reminder of the Lord’s work in suffering. There are many nuggets to be found in Job. Here is one of them:

But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold.”

Job 23:10 ESV

The Lord is refining us and making us into a pure gold.

I’ve been encouraged as our friends have come to me and said that the things I’ve written on this blog have encouraged them. When I write I feel like it’s cathartic for me. It also gives me joy to know that the Lord is using it to minister to others. I do pray that it will strengthen you in your journey.

Your love and your prayers do lift us up.

Lo Mejor del Trigo #24 in Plan Libertador

Lo Mejor del Trigo #24 in Plan Libertador

I’m amazed that even in this turbulent time, that the Lord is doing so much. The church is growing. The kingdom is advancing. This Sunday we will be celebrating the inaugural service for Lo Mejor del Trigo’s 24th church!

God is so good. We feel privileged to serve him, and see such awesome advance!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

 

I Will Bless the Lord
Hannah, Dawn and Dave

Hannah, Dawn and Dave

One of my favorite passages in the Bible is found in Psalm 34. Today this Psalm especially ministers to me, as I find myself struggling with fear.

The Psalmist says in Psalm 34:1-4:

I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad. Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together! I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.

I thank the Lord for this promise, that as I seek him he will answer. He will deliver me from all my fears. 

Dawn and I have had our highs and lows as we’ve endured this trial with our daughter, Hannah. Some days we feel very encouraged, and our hope is strong and bright. Then at other times when we focus more on the weight of the problem, or the duration it wears on us and we feel weighed down.

Looking to Jesus to Come Through Today!

Today is a big day. We need much prayer support.

The Sunset at Imperial Beach

The Sunset at Imperial Beach

We have some friends that will be helping us this afternoon, and we are hoping for a breakthrough. I suppose the uncertainty of it all combined with the other happenings in our lives makes it feel heavy.

I do want to taste and see that the Lord is good today! I desire this each day, but I especially need it today.

Dear Jesus, Come to our rescue. There is healing in your wings and we do look to you.

The Psalmist continues in Psalm 34:5-8, 17-19:

Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed. This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them. Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!

When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.

O Lord, thank you for your wonderful promises, that give me hope. Thank you that you promise to be near as my family and I endure troubles. Thank you that you will deliver us!

I also give thanks for all our friends who help carry this burden. I will bless the Lord, and I will praise him even in these difficult days!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Hope Lost
Father & Daughter, Hannah & Dave

Father & Daughter – Hannah & Dave

When Paul and his companions lost all hope of being saved, then there was nowhere to turn but to God. That’s probably a good place to be when we are forced to depend on God.

Acts 27 describes Paul’s voyage to Rome. It was an adventure. Maybe not quite to the degree of Ernest Shackleton’s voyage and survival on Antarctica, but it was fraught with danger nonetheless.

When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope of our being saved was at last abandoned. —Acts 27:20, ESV

When a trial drags on I’m sure it’s common to lose hope. All hope of being saved was abandoned while Paul was on his journey. No sun or stars. There was no light at the end of the tunnel and they were in the midst of a huge storm. It’s disheartening when we don’t know when or where the storm will end!

Feeling Weighed Down
A dove nesting on the ledge of the entrance to our house

A dove nesting on the ledge of the entrance to our house. A reminder of God’s peace.

The length of this trial the Lord has us on is weighing on me. Today was not a very good day. I may not be to the point of feeling like all hope is abandoned, but I’m tired.

Yet I must do the simple things – look to Jesus. Remember that when I am weak, he is strong. Thank him for the army of friends that surround us and love us.

Paul in Romans 5:3-4 says that “…suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character…”. This gives us hope in suffering, but it’s not easy to endure.

If you want to endure you have to stay in the suffering. Not a fun place to be!

The Lord does sustain us. He does gives us the strength in our suffering.

Our Rock & Refuge
The Sunset on the Pacific - near Cabo San Lucas

Sunset on the Pacific

I wrote this last night and today is a new day, and his mercies are new every morning. So even though I was a little down yesterday, and a little worn out I choose to believe. I choose to look to Christ. He is my rock and my refuge.

Thanks so much for holding up our weak hands through this trials. Thanks for your enduring prayers for Hannah and our family. Things are improving, even if the pace is slower than we’d like.

Keep praying, Keep believing – Don’t Give up!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

Where Will This End?
Hannah with her Grandpa

Hannah with her Grandpa

We feel like we’ve been in a marathon without knowing where the finish line will be. It’s exhausting at times, but the Lord sustains us! He gives us hope.

Many have asked about Hannah, others are wondering what is going on. Dawn and I have sought to be discreet in what we share. We believe it’s important to maintain Hannah’s privacy, and even that of our family.

Now I realize that we’ve published this out on a number of public forums.  We’ve done that, because we believe that prayer is so important. We are trying to walk a line between getting the word out, while not sharing too much.

I hope that makes some sense.

An Outpouring of Prayer & Love

Our family has been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and prayer. I believe that is one of the things the Lord has used to keep us strong and to keep us going.

Thank you! We need continued and ongoing prayer and support as we walk on this journey. We are praying that Hannah will be healed soon, even today. Join with us in believing God for his healing touch.

As I prayed this morning the Lord reminded me of the good he was doing through this trial. Paul encourages us to rejoice, because of the fruit that is produced through the difficulties of life.

… but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (Romans 5:3-5, ESV)

Endurance – Ernest Shackleton’s Adventure
Hannah, Dawn and Dave

Hannah, Dawn and Dave

I finished my book on Ernest Shackleton and his crew, who were shipwrecked on Antarctica in 1915. They survived for more than a year in freezing temperatures in a very hostile environment.

I was impressed by how they endured. They chose not to give up, even though they were extremely tired and cold. When they finally made it to the Island where there were other people that could help them. They were on the wrong side of the Island, so three of them had to hike across the Island. No one hand ever done that before. This was after already surviving for a year in the icy climate.

As they hiked across the Island, they came to glaciers, cliffs where they couldn’t cross. They had to turn around and backtrack. I just can’t imagine all the pain and suffering, but they kept going. They finally made it, and they were able to rescue the whole crew. No one was lost.

Keeping Our Eyes on Jesus
The Sunset at Imperial Beach

The Sunset at Imperial Beach

The Lord has been reminding me to keep my eyes on Jesus. My family and I need to keep trusting, and to keep believing. God will hold us up. He will get us through this, even though we don’t know where the end is, he does! God knows and he goes before us!

He promises that he will not forget us and that we are tattooed to the Psalm of his hand in Isaiah 49. That encourages me. It gives me hope. I hope that it might be a blessing to you as well.

In His Loving Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

The Simple Truths
Hannah & Dawn enjoying a tea party

Hannah & Dawn enjoying a tea party

Today as I was praying for Hannah, my family and life in general, God met me. He reminded me of some simple things. Truth he had given me before. Much of it I’ve already shared through my scribbling on these posts.

The Lord reminded me that I shouldn’t doubt in the dark, what he has already shown me in the light. When I go through deep valleys, and experience pain God meets me there, but sometimes I doubt. I wonder why? Why Lord?

God doesn’t always respond as I’d like, but if I truly seek him I will find him. He is there with me as I pass through the night.

God Will Not Forget You

This past summer as I was praying for my children the Lord reminded me of a passage of scripture in Isaiah 49.

“Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me. (‭Isaiah‬ ‭49‬:‭15,16‬ ESV)

This passage reminded me of the Lord’s care for us. He will not forget his children. He will not forget my children. They are tattooed to his hand. I can trust him for that, even in these troublesome days.

Update on Hannah & Prayer

On a positive note, Hannah’s doctor told us that she might be able to come home in a couple of days! We pray for the Lord’s intervening work to bring healing to Hannah. Continue to stand with us in prayer and to storm heaven for Hannah!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org

The Blessing of Your Prayers
Hannah with her brothers, David Jr. & Jon

Hannah with her brothers, David Jr. & Jon

Yesterday I told my mom that Hannah was doing better, that we saw improvement. She responded by saying, there are so many praying, so heaven is being stormed with prayers for Hannah. To God be the glory! The thought of heaven being stormed with prayer encouraged me. It probably isn’t a surprise when I say my family and I could use all the encouragement we can get right now.

The Lord is hearing our prayers!

Wow! It has filled our hearts to see the overwhelming response on Facebook, on this blog and through the many texts and phone calls. Yesterday Hannah had 15 visitors! Friends who came by to love on Hannah and pray for her.

I can’t mention all the visitors, but some of them were three pastors, Stephen Phelan, Danny Kim and Jaime Rodriguez from our partner church, Bridge. A pastor’s wife, Liz Castro from another partner church, Grace Renewal. One of Hannah’s closest friends and mentor, Heather Stevenson. Heather brought a friend of hers, Kate. Kate brought her guitar, and they were singing and worshipping with Hannah. When we went to see Hannah after their visit, it was the best we’ve seen her since she entered the hospital!

God is doing an amazing Work!

Keep Praying – The Battle Continues

Yet the work is not finished. Hannah needs to keep improving, to keep getting better so she can be healed and come home. Please do keep storming the heavens with your prayers.

Our family also needs your prayer of your loving support. Dawn has been spending long hours at the hospital every day, and it is physically and emotionally exhausting. David Jr. and I are tired from trying to juggle work and visiting Hannah. It’s also hard on Jon, being so far away while his sister struggles.

I’ve just been through three of the heaviest ministry weeks I’ve had in a while. I feel spent today, but the fact that Hannah is doing better does lift me up. It gives me hope!

Thank You for Your Love

I speak for our whole family when I say thank you for the outpouring of love and prayers. It’s an emotional time. Sometimes the tears come. We at times are afraid. We keep running to our Father’s arms. He holds them open wide, and he comforts us. He meets us where only he can. He also brings tangible expressions of love through you – through your texts, your messages on social media, your hugs and your prayers!

Thank you so much and to God be with glory!

Hannah with her mom and one of her friends, Hilary Salinas

Hannah with her mom and one of her friends, Hilary Salinas

One of Hannah’s favorite verses is found in is found in 2 Corinthians 12:9:

…”My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ rest upon me.

We are weak, but God is strong. Like the simple children’s song goes, “Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so. Little ones to him belong, they are weak but he is strong.” And Psalm 56:3 reminds us what to do when we are afraid. “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.”

Wonderful promises of God’s grace and rescue in our time of need.

Continue to approach the throne of God, and storm the heavens with your prayers for Hannah!

In His Grip, Dave

DiasoLifeOnTheBorder.org