This month, I returned to parish ministry following a 4-year sabbatical. One of the individuals who encouraged and supported me to be a pastor when I was young was my first wife Pam who died 9 years ago.
There are many celebrations in life where we wish we could bring back a deceased loved one.
Do you ever find yourself in the middle of a celebration missing that person?
Do you, for a moment, wish they would walk through that door and greet you?
Do you long to hear their words of encouragement just one more time?
Do you wish you could see them smile at you as you celebrate this pivotal moment in your life?
If you are like me, then you will say YES to all of the above.
That’s very normal and fair.
We can invite our loved one to be part of our celebration and ongoing story even though they are not physically present.
There is a simple and profound strategy that will bring your loved one closer – it begins with a simple question that you and I need to consider and answer.
What would they say to me today if they were present?
Pam would say:
This is another new beginning Rick. I’m proud of you Rick. You were called to be a Shepherd. I remember the day when God confirmed that call in your life. It’s not easy being a pastor but I know that you trust Jesus and I promise that I will support you and faithfully pray for you. You are going to do great. The people at the church will be blessed to have you as their Shepherd. Let’s go see how God will use you for his purposes. I love you.
Words are very powerful. If you spent time with the person who died, then you can recall their voice and words. Phrases that were common to their language. Words that they would repeat often that were important to them. This person had a way of communicating with you that was unique. Even now, if you take time to think back, you can remember some of the conversations you had that were significant.
Remember these words. Bring your loved one into the celebration in this healthy way.
Today I go back to being a Shepherd. I can hear Pam’s voice of encouragement. I’m thankful for her but I am also very thankful for the words that will also come from my wife Erica who God has brought into my life as my next helper.