a daddy's love

I answered the phone knowing what he would say...

"I found Lily" and then, voice cracking, "she's gone."

Details, question- where, how, are you sure? How does she look? Can Tali see her? What should I do?

"I will have her on the back deck, Tali can see her."

The walk to Tali's room filled with prayer. And she knew the minute she saw my face. She had just been helping her daddy look for her Lily, he had just sent her inside...

"No Mommy, no..."

And then she ran outside... to her daddy... to her beloved pup... to a scene that broke this heart wide open.

Jim stood on the steps, cradling the ball of fluff that was our Lily girl in his arms... sobbing. The voice that had cracked on the phone, was overcome when his little girl came bursting through the back door in search of her "little ball of love" (as Tali once described Lily in a school paper).

We all loved Lily. but I knew standing their that Jim's grief came more from seeing his baby girl broken as anything else.

That's a daddy's heart.

It's a heart that seeks to protect and guide and care for... it's a heart that breaks when his children's breaks. It's a heart that will sit on the back deck, cradling the lifeless body of a dog, for as long as his little girl needs to say goodbye.

As I stood there in the cool of the night watching the scene unfold... my heart was wrecked. It was wrecked for my little girl, grieving. It was wrecked with love for my husband, such a good, good daddy. And it was wrecked with a vision of how our own Daddy God loves us.

Jim's construction green shirt showing the evidence of a long days work, hands stained from an evening repairing his truck... and his strong arms gently cradling the eight pound dog he just carried from the highway.

And I thought... This... this is how our Daddy God carries OUR grief.

Despite the big things going on in the world... our Daddy captures every one of our tears in a bottle. Each is precious to Him. He meets you in your grief. And He will sit with you, on the back deck, for as long as you need to work through it.

He will enter into your grief with you. Not a distant being gazing at you, watching from afar... a person, there, holding your grief in His strong arms. Present... in the moment. Grieving with you.

I think about Jesus as He made His way to Lazarus's tomb... when Mary threw herself at Jesus's feet, wracked by grief over the loss of her brother... Jesus wept.

Jesus joined her in her grief... even though He knew He would be bringing Lazarus back... Why? Why would Jesus cry? He wasn't grieving because He would never see Lazarus again. He didn't cry because He was late to the funeral. He grieved because the one He loved grieved. He hurt because she hurt.

He hurts when you hurt.

I saw such a beautiful, heart wrenching picture of this on Monday night.A daddy's tears shed one for one for the tears of his daughter. Strong arms carrying her affection and grief. Not rushing her to move through her emotions... but joining her in them. Processing with her. The utmost of respect given to a grave, a dignified spot in the yard, a stone to mark a little life full of love. And later, when sleep would not come, pulling his little girl onto his lap. Validating her brokenness and in doing so, beginning the fine work of putting her back together again.

Such a good, good daddy.

So much like another Daddy I know.

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! 1 John 3:1a

[You can read about the day we found Lily here]

Also- to update, Tali is processing her grief well. She still has tearful, "Lily is really gone" moments... and I certainly have never seen her grieve so deeply, but am proud of how she has leaned on us and her Daddy God to comfort. 

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