Three Years and God Still Holds the World

Three of my granddaughters had just left our house. It was their bedtime, so their mom had taken them home. I did not know it would be the last time they would see their Papa alive, though I was well aware that every day was a gift. I then adjusted Wyndham’s medical equipment, kissed him goodnight, and slipped into the way-too-empty king-sized bed placed alongside his hospital bed, which had been his home for eight months.

I recounted the lyrics to the songs the girls had just sung to him. Not only did the words comfort him, but they also comforted me. One of the songs kept going through my head.

He’s got the whole world, in his hands.

He’s got the whole world, in his hands.

He’s got the whole world, in his hands.

He’s got the whole world in his hands.

As they sang more verses, they substituted the names of every family member, both human and canine, in place of “the whole world.”  What a profound message of truth they sang.

That was three years ago. November 21, 2019. This would be his last day on earth.

Each year, I try to commemorate this day in some special way, always including some form of pay-it-forward. I still don’t know quite what I will do to commemorate the day, but that is okay. I do less planning and orchestrating these days, trying my best to stay in step with the Spirit. Three years later, God still has the whole world in his hands. Thankfully, he holds my hand in his as well.

More than any other emotion, I feel profoundly grateful. I feel thankful to have known, loved, and been loved by Wyndham. I am grateful to be loved by and to love…and to be known by and to know my Abba, Father.

A lot has happened over these last three years, not to mention the life-altering Pandemic we all endured. I try to keep in sync with the Spirit, all the while learning how real those lyrics are – the whole world is, indeed, in his hands. I never know what the new day will bring, but as each day ends I marvel that God holds me. Perhaps this is a reason why I love to watch the sunset over the river. Every day looks different, holding its own beauty. As the sun disappears below the horizon, God’s artistry never disappoints. I reflect on ways God worked throughout the day, sometimes in ways that astound me. I evaluate how I stayed in step or lost rhythm. Some ways he works can make me laugh out loud as his audacious, unimaginable weaving of situations is so remarkably covered with his handprints. These stories include a goose, an eagle, officiating a wedding, and so much more…all remarkable Spirit-involved happenings with crazy back-stories of God at work. Some days are seemingly ordinary, though I still get to breathe his air, experience love, and observe his beauty all around me. Overall, as I reflect on the last three years, several things I’m learning come to mind.

I am learning to make needed space in my life to better hear and see God as I observe and participate in the Spirit at work. It is as delightful as it is scary. I treasure God and my morning walks along the river. Sometimes I talk to him out loud, but mostly I just walk with him and listen. I might ask him how his day is going, as I cannot really imagine some of the emotions he must feel as he watches the world. I hope to bring him joy without not too much frustration. I definitely appreciate and rely on his grace and kindness toward me. I stand amazed that he calls me friend. How do I get to be his friend? I mean, people can’t even score tickets to a Taylor Swift concert, and yet I get to be God’s daughter and friend. Amazing.

I feel so thankful for the ever-presence of God’s mighty, loving hands throughout my transitions over the last three years. I felt him confirming, leading, and comforting me as I retired, sold my house, moved to another state, retooled retirement with a (very) small property business, began work toward a Christian coaching certification, and continue my passion for writing books. I love my new church home here in Connecticut. On the home front, I deeply enjoy my relationships with my kids and grandkids and stay alongside them in schoolwork, as I’m now entering the final year of my spiritual formation doctoral journey which is another definite God-thing. I do geek out sometimes, as full-out nerdiness arises from within because I so love to learn. Every step of the way I need and rely on his guidance, empowerment, and confirmation. I echo Moses’ words in Exodus 33:15, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.” I can’t and don’t want to do anything without him.

I still feel sadness, and I am sure that some form of grieving will always be close at hand. The whole world, though in his hands, is not yet made new. There’s a lot of bad and painful stuff out there. I’ve had other friends and family members leave this earth this past year, as have many of you. Even yesterday, I called a friend I have been getting to know since I moved here. We enjoyed deep talks about life and God, and she visited church with me many times. When I texted her, I learned my number had been blocked. I knew she would not intentionally block me, so I felt concerned. I Googled her name only to discover her obituary staring back at me. She had died suddenly a few weeks ago. Sometimes life stinks. In the stink, God still holds me in his hands. It feels safe there, as long as I don’t try to wriggle out.

Over the past three years, I have learned more fully that as a now-single woman, I am not one step removed from God. For this realization, I am deeply grateful, as I believe a distorted view affected me more than I knew. More on that another time.

There is so much God is doing, and I long to join him in his mission. I pray to see the image of God in each person. Tomorrow, as I remember the end of one era and the beginning of a new one for Wyndham and for me, I choose to be thankful. Thank you, God, for the amazing man who was Wyndham, the precious memories I hold, and the family and friends you have given me. Thank you that you will one day, when you return, renew the earth and our bodies. Meanwhile, I am grateful to be held in your hands.

He’s got you and me in his hands. He’s got the whole world in his hands.