His Perfect Providence
I had been looking for a Bible study option for quite some time.
As a stay at home mom to three young children, the typical mid-week studies at our church were not feasible for me. A friend and I had been getting together to do some studies, but I always felt like something was missing. Then she introduced me to Love God Greatly. We decided to do the Intentionally Focused study, even though we were a few weeks behind. The format was a perfect fit. I had even begun thinking about starting up a small group and facilitating but wanted to participate in a live study first to see how it all flowed. I got that opportunity with the Why Easter Matters study. What I didn’t know is just how God was going to use this in depth look at the Easter holiday to re-ignite a fire within me.
In January 2013 my Father had been diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer and began chemotherapy treatments, and in January of 2014 my Mom and I began to notice a decline in him. By the time Why Easter Matters began in mid-March, the Oncologist had taken Dad off the original chemo treatment and was working to get him onto a new regiment of medications. They were running into issues with his insurance coverage and getting him the medications he needed.
That first week we focused on why the Last Supper is so important.
The challenge was to write a list of the things that I was tempted to rely on others for instead of God; number one of my list, dad’s cancer. At the end of March dad was in the hospital due to his liver shutting down. On April 4, 2014 we got the news that there was nothing that could be done. For the next 13 days I was at my parents’ house daily helping mom in any way I could. As we looked at the Crucifixion, Resurrection and my response to it all, Easter had a deeper, more personal meaning in my life than ever before. I did as well as I could to keep up with the study. Looking back now, I know God’s words were carrying me through; however, because of time constraints, I was often doing two days’ readings in one while I stayed with Dad. This was the case during week three when we looked specifically at the Resurrection. It was Tuesday, and I was getting caught up on the Monday blog and daily readings. I was so moved by the video for that day that I wrote a comment and said that I was experiencing my father’s final days on Earth and how much the message touched me. Because I was a day late, I didn’t expect my comment to be read, so I didn’t bother to check back.
My father went home to be with our Lord.
It was on Thursday, April 17, 2014 at around 9:30 in the morning that dad passed. As I spoke with my friend later, she shared with me that she had been asked to open the Bible study at our church with prayer on Thursday morning. She began by praying for my family and me; the study begins at 9:30. At the very moment mom and I were saying goodbye to my dad and he was entering eternity, we were being lifted up in prayer! Later that day my aunt, who lives several hundred miles away, walked through the door. She just happened to be about four hours away at a conference for work and felt that she couldn’t be that close without coming up to be with mom. When she made that decision dad was still alive, and she could not have known mom would need her that day. A day or so later I went onto the Love God Greatly website to look at Monday’s blog post again. As I scrolled down I noticed someone had replied to my comment. The lady said she was praying for my family and me and her reply had been posted at the same time my aunt was walking through the door.
God is so good! He provides exactly what we need, when we need it.
In the summer of 2014 I started facilitating a Love God Greatly group, and I haven’t looked back since. I can’t begin to describe the growth that has occurred within me spiritually. Dad’s death, while delivering a painful blow, has resulted in me finding my voice and the confidence to share my faith and God’s love with others, especially in my role as wife and mother.
“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he dies, yet he shall live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die…” John 11:25-26
Kirsten Brann, Maine
Story written by Joan, LGG Leadership Team Member