Friday, August 19, 2011


Some of you may have noticed that I've taken a bit of a break from writing. Summer started to get busy and my blog slipped down my priority list. And then my grandpa passed away and I just didn't know how to talk about it. I thought about updating on here but how could I have a major event happen in my life and not even mention it? 

So I took some time away. But now I think that I'm ready. Or, getting ready and I think talking about things on here will help.   

My grandpa, Harvey Clark, passed away in May due to complications from Muscular Sclerosis. He dealt with MS for over thirty years and was wheelchair bound by the time I was born. Although he may have been physically handicapped, what he dealt with on a daily basis did not affect his spirit and what he knew was his purpose in life. He was a Baptist preacher for years but it was the way he lived each day that to me, sent the strongest message.

He had every reason to complain, but he didn't.
He had every reason to doubt, but he didn't.
He had every reason to be bitter and angry, but he wasn't.

He was the most joyful and genuinely thankful person I knew. He took advantage of every situation to represent the Christ that he knew so personally. Grandpa was always pulling out his Bible to do a study; always pausing to spend just a few more minutes in prayer. He shared his faith with everyone he came in contact with.

I remember when I was little grabbing a stack of my story books, my picture Bible and notebook to sit at the dining room table with Grandpa as he did devotions. As I got older, I put away the picture books and would bring studies I was really doing or share with him what I had learned at school. One time in specific he asked me about Spiritual Gifts. He told me what he knew and what he didn't understand and then he wanted to hear what I thought. I remember thinking "this is crazy! He's been a preacher for longer then I've been alive, and he wants to know what I think??" 1 Timothy 4:12 says, "Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity." Grandpa made that verse come alive to me when he showed me that my thoughts and opinions mattered greatly to him.

I could go on and on about the things that I've learned from his life or since his passing, so I think I'll just write about the ones that stand out to me the most. I think the biggest lesson I learned is that we cannot judge God's decisions and plans for our lives by our own measuring stick. I can't even count how many times I've heard someone say (concerning my Grandpa or someone else), "if they just had enough faith then maybe they would be healed" OR "if you just prayed a little more or fasted a little more, then maybe he'd be healed." I completely believe in the power of prayer and the importance of having faith but I believe it's more important to trust God and His path for your life. I could have prayed for hours and hours (and believe me, I did) for my Grandpa and he could never be healed or I could have tossed up a quick prayer in passing and he may have been able to walk again. I don't get to decide what God's will for is my life or my loved one's lives. And I don't get to decide if a prayer is answered or not.

We can now say that it was not God's plan for my Grandpa's life to be physically healed. He would always be confined to a wheelchair. But to face such a deteriating and debilitating disease with such joy and can't tell me that my Grandpa wasn't healed in his own way! I don't get to pick the ending to the story, but I can trust that it is a good one and that God has had our best interest in mind.

The other thing that stands out to me is just the love that you can have for someone. I've watched my Grandma literally lay down her life for her husband as he physically got worse and worse. I think that when you say your wedding vows and you promise you'll be with someone "for richer and poorer and in sickness and in health" it's easy because odds are you and your partner are in good health with no imposing threat. But what happens when the unexpected arises and your vows are put to the test? My example has been that you don't walk away. And your love doesn't change. I'm not saying it's easy; I can't imagine what my Grandma has been through, but I do know that it's possible.

My grandpa leaves behind a family that loves Jesus. He leaves many lives that were changed for the good because he was in them. I feel so proud to call Harvey Clark my Grandpa and hope to live my life in the same way he lived his.

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