The Lifter of My Head by Celeste Fiorillo

The Your Stories blogs are a place where women can bravely and authentically tell their story as it really is. We invite women to collide with Jesus and share how He is meeting them, transforming them and redeeming them. We hope this “your story” meets you in yours…

“But you, O LORD, are a shield around me, My glory, and the lifter of my head.” Psalm 3:3

Today I need a God who is the lifter of my head. Today would have been my dad’s birthday but he passed away two years ago. Today is hard because it’s both something and nothing at the same time. It’s a date that will always be significant but it’s no longer clear what I’m supposed to do with it. How do I celebrate someone’s birthday who isn’t here? Part of me wants the day to be nothing, to not exist, because then it can’t hurt me.

But sometimes I want today to be a big ol’ party, I want to celebrate my dad in person; to sing to him and have balloons and buy him a present. I don’t want to “toast” to my papa or do things in honor or memory of him. I just want to have a normal, anti-climactic birthday with him here being his Papa self. Papa was a lover of quality time together. It’s what he always wanted. We would go on long hikes or sit around a campfire telling funny stories and roasting marshmallows. Papa didn’t do much sitting though, because the fire always needed to be poked or prodded, or more kindling needed to be chopped, or “Hey! Wanna throw the frisbee?” That’s what I want today – a silly Papa who likes frisbee and campfires and sing-alongs and family time.

But that’s not what I have. I have a day, a month, a year, a life that is missing my Papa. My dad passed away 13 days after my wedding day which makes all of September complicated and full of highs and lows and complex emotions that don’t even have labels. How do I describe the feeling of walking down the aisle with my dad, but knowing he doesn’t have much longer to live? How do I explain the feeling of being fresh off my honeymoon and watching my father die as a newlywed? I can’t. Thankfully, I know a God who understands my emotion without me being able to explain it. I have a God that knows my heart, and who cares about my every tear.

He is a God that lifts my head. A God who has felt pain and heartache and joy and every other emotion mixed together. A God who doesn’t hide away from pain – He doesn’t tell me to buck up or to just get over it. He lifts my head. He lifts it slowly and gently and with so much love. God wants me to “not grieve as others do who have no hope” (1 Thes. 4:13). God does not dismiss my pain. Even Jesus, who surely knew the future of Lazarus and that He would raise him from the dead, still wept at his death. Whether I am feeling 100% or 10% in my faith, I can still rely on God meeting me where I am. He raises my head when I can’t. He raises my chin like a tender father, loving me as I mourn the loss of my earthly papa.

I’m sure you all have an area in your life where your head hangs low; where the grief, or shame, or loss, or disappointment is just too much. Are you letting God into that place? Because even our darkest, most complicated and messy moments aren’t too much for our God. Not only can He handle it, but He can relate and He cares about us in those places. God seeks to lift our heads, but we have to let Him in. Where do you need to let God in so He can lift your head?

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