About the Author

Heather is married to her college sweetheart (Sic Em Bears!). She’s mom to three amazing kids and an adoption social worker. She blogs, creates, and dreams. Then she talks herself out of chasing those dreams. But, she’s learning to live more boldly as she believes how limitless God is.

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  1. I am in awe of the young woman who reached out to you. Certainly, God used her to build a bridge and to help redeem a horrible situation. Thanks for this reminder that words are often the last thing we need when we’re grieving. This past Mother’s Day was my first without my mum and it was the quiet prayers and thoughtfulness of others that spoke volumes of comfort.

    • I’m so glad to know that you, too, were comforted through the Body of Christ in a very hard season — on a very hard day! Oh, that we may all be like Lori. Chasing down the opportunities to sit with the grieving and struggling.

  2. Heather,
    I know that well-intentioned people feel like they should say something when you’re grieving, but unfortunately what comes out most often are platitudes, cliche phrases like “Your loved one is in a better place,” and even scripture is not exactly what’s called for at that moment. I take my cues from Jesus, that when His friends were grieving over the death of Lazarus, He didn’t launch into a sermon, or quote scripture, He simply was with them and He wept. He shared in their sorrow. I know when my dad passed away, I really appreciated hugs and people letting me share my words on my terms and in my timing. They were present, but said little. They validated my feelings rather than try to cheer me up. They prayed for me. Perhaps the best advice on grieving in the Bible is “Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.” The Bible doesn’t mention words….this and every Father’s Day since my dad passed is hard. I miss him more as the years pass. Sending my love and ((hugs)) to all who are missing their dads this weekend….thanks for sharing Heather.
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

    • Bev,
      That’s thoughtful of you, thank-you. I’m sending love & hugs back to you.
      Have a blessed day. I hope that your recovery is going well.

      Penny

    • OH hugs and love to you, too. I absolutely have learned that I must look through the awkwardness of the well intentioned hearts during painful times, choosing grace and weeding out bitterness. And yes, striving ever to just rejoice with those who rejoice and grieve with those who grieve. That’s how my own story has been redeemed continually — every time I can sit with someone else in their grief, I feel God’s purpose through the pain. Press on, Bev! Surely you are comforting others with the same comfort you receive from the God of all comforts.

  3. Dear Heather, I lost my Dad 1.5 years ago and it feels like yesterday. There was no man or human that I respected or loved more than my Dad. He was a Prayer Warrior and his last years when he was so immobile from congestive heart failure, I would remind him that he was our Prayer Warrior. Now, I love how you write, “God is the Heavenly Father who indeed is the Father to the fatherless. He is the One who makes sure we are held through all of our seasons, and He graciously sends people to sit with us in our tears.” Thank You for sharing too so those that may not have a wonderful earthly Father can look to our amazing Heavenly Father for pure joy, love and peace.

    • It’s been many years since I lost my dad, but of course, the loss of such a wonderful person and encouragement is not something we get over or get past. We just learn to co-exist with the void and look to our Heavenly Father to build us up through it. I’m thankful for you that you had such a wonderful example that painted even the tiniest picture of the big and wonderful Father! May we all find comfort in knowing how he went to great lengths to make us sons and daughters!

  4. Thank you for sharing Heather. This will be my first Father’s Day without my wonderful father. So many memories of my Dad surface to remind me how blessed I am and also how much I miss him. Dad’s death was unexpected and I never had the opportunity to say goodbye..my last conversation with him was last Father’s Day.
    Praying peace for all who have lost their earthly fathers this Father’s Day. Thankful we have our heavenly Father to spend Father’s Day with us.
    Blessings,
    Sue

    • Sue–
      I’m so sorry for your loss and I imagine how hard tomorrow will be for you. I also never got to say good-bye and that certainly can make grieving harder. Praying for you and every one who finds that Father’s Day stirs up sadness, asking our Abba Father to give us eyes to see how he is near to the brokenhearted.
      Hugs to you!
      Heather

  5. This reminds me of a little over a year ago when my husband and I separated. A dear friend shared with a lady at church about our situation, she went right out bought a card, searched for me where I worked and has become a very close friend. God puts the right people in our lives at the right time! Although nobody died it felt horrible. Today’s study is a blessing and a great reminder.

    • Lisa–
      You have experienced the death of some dreams and expectations and relationship. I think we can never categorize or rank each other’s grief experiences. A hurting heart is a hurting heart. I am thankful for you that God prompted someone to step into your pain and show up with love and concern. He is the God of such details– giving us comfort in so many ways and asking us to be the comfort, as well!

    • Adeola–
      You are so welcome! May our Heavenly Father continually reveal his love and sufficiency to you and through you.

      Clinging to the Vine,
      Heather

  6. Heather,
    I’m so sorry for all that you went through. That lady who contacted you after was a blessing.
    I remember that call about my dad on Christmas Day a few years ago, and after how it felt as though the Lord stepped right in. Shortly before his time my dad would tell me, “Remember when,” He wanted me remember a certain time and I still do. Those memories we share are such a gift. As you said, “Our heavenly Father will step in”, and He will never leave us or forsake us.
    Thinking of you all, have a blessed day,

    Penny

    • Penny–
      I’m so sorry for your loss, and glad that your dad pointed you to glean the gifts along the way. Praying for you — and all– that we would indeed know in greater measure continually the love and sufficiency of our Heavenly Father.

      Clinging to the Vine,
      Heather

  7. Heather,
    My husband passed away suddenly while serving on a mission trip in Alaska 5 years ago. He was a wonderful husband, father, & Pop & I miss him everyday. But then my Dad passed away suddenly 6 months later & it was the worst year of my life. My dad had helped me so much after my husband passed, that I didn’t know what my mother & I were going to do. But it was & is our faith in the Lord & our church that’s gotten us through the tough times. I’ve learned over these years that people don’t know what to say, so it’s ok to just say thank you to some of those statements that make you want to run screaming or say no you don’t know what I’m going through. I know I’ll see my husband & dad again, but until then I can say “I know how you feel or what you’re going through.” Thank you for always sharing the things that matter the most. Your heart.

    • OH, Mary Jane, I can’t fathom the compounded grief from all that loss in such a short time. Just after my dad’s death, a fellow college student died in a car wreck. His parents came and spoke to our college group at my church– I will never forget what they said– “When we hit rock bottom, it’s the Solid Rock when we have Christ.” Indeed, may his sufficiency and mercies be new for EVERY day, each morning for you. Yes, we just extend grace when the words and statements fall short. And we try to use our own stories to speak God’s truth into those of others. There we find beauty in our ashes. Much love and hugs to you!
      Heather

  8. Hi Heather! I can totally relate… to both your knowing the moment your life was turned up-side-down to complete circumstantial mortification borne from that moment. My life-changing moment was when my husband I received jarring news: our oldest child had a cognitive and physical life-long disability. Adding to the drama, it came literally one hour after she and her twin brother were born. Since then, she’s also brought us many amazing moments, drawn my heart to God, and blessed me with more than one calling. That said, sometimes we find ourselves in those painfully awkward moments like you experienced in church on that Father’s Day. Like when the grocery store clerk innocently “relates” how stressful it will be “when our kids start driving” or when friends mention how they’re dreading the cost of their daughters’ weddings. But it’s so sweet when those seemingly intolerable circumstances can actually build a bridge for us straight to those who’ve “been there before us” like your dear friend Lori! God works in such beautiful and mysterious ways!

    • Allison–
      Thank you for sharing part of your story. We have dear friends who have relayed very similar moments that sting in regard to their daughter. I find myself continually in awe– all these years later — of how God does redeem our pains to draw us nearer to him, to teach us — to use us in the lives of others.

  9. Thank you for this article and praise God for the woman who reached out to you. I too am looking to God the Father on Father’s Day, even though my father is still alive. He was instrumental in my sexual abuse as a child, so Father’s Day has always been hard for me. Now, I celebrate my husband who is an outstanding father and I celebrate my Heavenly Father who was and always is there, no matter how hard life gets.

    • Heike–
      I really cannot wrap my brain around your pain and how hard it must make Father’s Day for you. I’m so sorry for what you’ve endured. I’m praying for you and asking that God continually reveals his love for you as he delights over you with singing (Zephaniah 3:17), and is mighty to save. Praying, too, that you will have people who sit with you in the pain.

      Prayers and hugs!

  10. Your description of grieving the loss of your father is so true and full of emotion. I dread the day when I will be left alone in my grief. I dread the thought of losing a loved one yet I am a hospice volunteer. There are so many memories that I cherish with providing comfort in a time of despair. Sometimes words are never necessary. Just holding hands. I remember recently during a bereavement call saying “Don’t you ever let anyone one tell you to just get over it.” Grief takes time to process. Reaching out to others in their time of grief is hard. Somehow I find the words to bring comfort to those who are hurting. Thank you for your beautiful and touching words.

  11. Amazing how that young woman reached out to you! My father passed away when I was seven and Father’s Day was always awkward after that – like I just wanted to pretend it didn’t exist and could numb myself to the pain. When I was 19 God brought a man into my life who had in the subsequent 14 years been that father to me that I needed. It is a blessing to be able
    To celebrate Father’s Day with him today.

  12. Heather,

    Today-June 18th – is the first Father’s day minus my dad. I miss both parents & I know they are better off in Heaven. You are spot on about grieving. People don’t need platitudes or scripture. They want genuine affection & love. Show them you care-just sit with them and let them cry on your shoulder or talk about their loved one.

    Blessings 🙂