And she meant it.
Man, I wish I thought of that. She told me the following story I’m going to share inspired her to make this vow of hers and I ‘m using the words I wrote here to start off my only personal 2013 resolution: To do more for Him.
CL and I talked about our all-too-human need to ask “why”. It’s how the famous, “Because I said so!” evolved. Our little ones (or not so little) endlessly ask, “Why Mommy?” To which, at the end of a mother’s long trying day of a thousand “whys” we tend to reach into our very core for some wisdom and end up blurting out little pearls such as that.
Here’s my story of how I’ve gotten better, a little, about asking God “why.” Thanks CL for your inspiration.
God taught me about letting go of needing to know the "why" when He moves in our lives.
Can't say I've perfected it - but here's my lesson.
We lived in Florida - where I had to as an only child who had practically no relationship with my abusive, narcissistic father, place my father in a nursing home.
Mark [my husband] was stationed at Patrick Air Force Base which is on the Atlantic coast. We were renting a lovely huge ranch home - older ranch - but large and in such a great neighborhood where my children attended a terrific grammar school. It was perfect. My mother lived on the other coast, just a short drive away, I was ready to get out of the Army and settle there in Florida. It was a WHOLE other God-story why we ended up stationed in Florida - but I believed firmly that God brought us there because I had to take care of my father in that - I couldn't just throw him into a nursing home and live elsewhere in the world as given his life - he literally had no one who would ever check on him.
So - I thought - we absolutely will be staying in Florida and we could start looking for a home to buy instead of rent and I'd be finally settled after years of the Army moving us around. You see the God-story that brought us to Florida also meant it was supposed to be a "career killer" for my husband's Army career. But God had other ideas.
When my husband was away on an Army trip he gave me a heart-breaking call. For him - a celebration - for me - HEARTBREAKING. He was chosen for Battalion Command in Fort Campbell, Kentucky (Seriously?! I have to leave Florida -- where it's a daily resort, for Fort Campbell, Kentucky?) and it would happen in two months.
We lived a few blocks from the ocean and one block from "The Indian River" - Indialantic is a peninsula paradise and he was taking me and the kids away from where they could walk to school for all the rest of their schooling - through high school - to go to where?! Kentucky?
I wanted to die. How could God do this? Who would be there for my father?!? I certainly didn't adore him, but I wouldn't leave a dog, no less my biological father.
t was stunned, shocked and devastated. Why God?
So we moved - the actual move was a nightmare story because Mark could only be there the day the movers packed up, but we got through it and after we got to Kentucky, I began to look into arranging to have my father transferred from the nursing home he was in to another that was affiliated with the one in Florida.
But every time I called Florida, my father had pneumonia or was recovering and too weak to transfer. I was barely there three months when the call came that he was dying. My husband couldn't go with me of course, he was in the field - as I loaded our mini-van with my three small children, two dogs (I was able to get someone - practically strangers to us in this new place -- to check in on the cats) and start the drive down to Florida to see my dying father. I had the foresight to call Hospice though and I thank God for that.
I didn't sleep the night before embarking on our trip there and was only able to make it to Atlanta before I had to stop at around 6:00 p.m. No cell phones in those days and when I called the nursing home to check on my father, the Hospice lady answered and said they tried to reach me. My father died forty five minutes prior to my call.
I didn't love my father like a daughter should love their father, but I felt horrible that he died alone and worse - while I prayed the entire trip down to our first stop in Atlanta for his salvation, I was convinced he took his last breath as a non-believer. The Hospice woman assured me he didn't die alone - she was with him and told him I was on my way. Still, I felt so terribly guilty.
When I arrived to make arrangements for my father's remains - as I walked through the nursing facility hallway - a male orderly grabbed my arm - he told me even though he could get fired for it (Florida state law doesn't allow anyone to talk to a patient in a nursing facility unless they are an authorized chaplain, about any religion), he said he believed my father knew the Lord before he died because he had had numerous conversations with him about Jesus.
I was numb and too shocked by everything that had happened to fully take that in.
Why God? Why did this happen? My faith was rocked.
I took two days, took care of my father's remains then drove all the way home. I went back to our new home in Kentucky and had a brief, private "wake" for my father in the Army chapel. When I was sobbing - I know the Chaplain and his wife thought it was grief. I was grieving because I couldn't understand why God didn't let me get there in time. Why God made us move to a God-forsaken place. Why God let him die "alone" and unsaved when I prayed and prayed for that man's salvation.
I got a call from another orderly at the nursing home - almost three months after my father died to tell me HE TOO had witnessed to my father and he was convinced he was saved. Then I recalled what the orderly told me in the hallway when I had collected my father's things and I began to believe.
Then the Hospice woman called me shortly after that with her specifics about my father's last moments. She said he was struggling to breathe and she kept telling him I was on my way to offer him comfort. She knew he was lucid sometimes and understood even though he couldn't talk.
She said at one point - he was lying on his back and opened his eyes wide. He reached up, as if trying to grab something above him, then closed his fist around this object he obviously thought he saw, brought it to his chest and mouthed the words, "I love you." I asked her how she knew he said that and she told me "I happen to read lips."
She told me shortly afterwards, he closed his eyes again and stopped struggling and peacefully passed away.
Now - I can't possibly tell you what that was all about with my father - but I choose to believe that either my father saw angels or Jesus Himself and passed away knowing Him as Lord.
Do I know that for sure? Of course not. But I trust God with that situation - NO MATTER WHAT. Even if it DOES mean something else, and not what I think it is, I trust Him with whatever it was. Once I was able to accept that, for the first time in three months, I slept.
Why did God take us to Ft. Campbell, Kentucky?
Out of the 32 years I served along side my husband in the Army - it was the most amazing, God-blessed miraculous two years we have ever had in the Army. God never had to show me that, but He was merciful enough to make it clear to me. We saw God move SO much in the lives of Mark's soldiers - and God showed me how He used me (despite myself) to show others the love of Christ in very real and tangible ways. One of the greatest compliments I have EVER received was a woman said to a friend, "I only wish I had faith like Carol Van Drie has…" I am humbled by the many ways God showed me He was able to use me.
It was quite simply put -a remarkable two-year tour. God knew my husband's career wasn't over - and that job set us up for some other amazing duty stations for the rest of my husband's career.
God moved us away from Florida because He needed us in Ft. Campbell and God knew my father would die only a few months later in Florida.
Even my father's death was a part of God's great plan.
There are so many "whys" we'll never know this side of heaven. Sometimes we just have to "trust and obey." God takes care of the rest.