Amazing Graces - A True Story

This is not my writing but with permission I wanted to pass this Real life Story. by Laurie Lang Schuman.

I wanted to share this with my FB friends. I have been sitting here trying to figure out just exactly what to say, so here goes. As most of you know, I lost my precious Daddy on February 14, 2011. This, by far, was the absolute worst day of my life. This past year has been a total nightmare and struggle for me. We prayed so hard, and so many others prayed for God to heal my Daddy. But God needed him more. This is when I started to question my faith and God. Even my children could not understand, why would God do this to our family. I have never seen anyone suffer the way my Daddy did. I can't imagine what went through his mind the day he was told that the cancer was inoperable and he decided to stop treatments. My Daddy was my hero and it was so hard to watch this man, who was as tough as nails, just dwindle away right before our eyes!! He was also so protective of his family and always worried about us. Me and my Daddy had a long conversation about a month before he left us. He said, "I know you are hurting right now and I know you have turned your back on God, I also know that you are mad at God." He was right, I was mad at God, always asking why did this happen to my sweet Daddy!! One of his last request to me was to please find a church and get my 3 girls in church. He knew I was struggling!! I didn't want to go to church, I was mad and had lost my faith because my prayers were not answered. I wasn't thinking about my kids, I was just thinking how mad I was at God. The last 3 days of my Daddy\'s life, were the worst. He was at home, his wishes to be at home with his family, when God took him away. He was not responding at all, but our Hospice nurse told us that he knew we were there and he could hear us. For three days I sat at his bedside and held him as long as I could. I wouldn't leave him and I was so not ready to let him go. He was such a fighter, his body was so ready to go, but he was also not wanting to leave us. This was the hardest thing to see my Daddy just laying there barely breathing and just fighting so hard not to let go!! When he finally did let go, I saw my brother, Joe holding his hands in the air rejoicing that God finally took my Daddy home. I couldn't do this, like my brother did. I was glad that my Daddy was finally not suffering anymore and finally healed. But I still questioned, why couldn't God do this while my Daddy was still alive.

The month after my Daddy died, I set out to get back in church and get my kids in church, this was his wishes. We were members at Pleasant Grove Church in Moulton and I love everyone there. I tried going a couple of times, but all I could see when I walked in was my Daddy's casket at the front of the church and I would just get angry all over again. I visited a couple of other churches, trying to fulfill my Daddy's wish, but nothing felt right, so I just gave up.

The past seven months has been a struggle for me. I miss my Daddy so bad, this has been the hardest part. I felt like part of me was gone. Some days, I will cry all day and don't want to see our talk to anyone. I just felt so empty. My Mom is the most Godly woman I have ever been around, and I know she has prayed so hard that I would find my way and fulfill my Daddy's wishes.

Another devastating thing that also happened in my life was the tornado in April of this year. Although it didn't directly destroy my home now, it destroyed my childhood homes, my Daddy's old store, which was Mayes' grocery, and all the homes that my Daddy built out there. I always considered Langtown my home and it will always be home to me. My Daddy's best friend, PeeWee Mayes lost his wife and brother in this tornado and so many other lives were devastated by this. Langtown was also always home to my Daddy, he loved it there, hanging out with all his friends at the store. This is when I first heard about Epic church. I heard about all the wonderful things they were doing to help everyone affected by the tornado. I already knew Iv and Bene Marsh, their daughter Ella and my daughter Julia were friends from school. I didn't know that he was the pastor of this church at the time. Over the next few months, I had been seeing some of my FB friends posting stuff about this church. So one day I went to their website, I saw where you could watch the services from home on the computer, then I saw that Iv was the pastor. So one Sunday I decided I would watch, thinking that nothing would change my mind, I would still question God and would still be mad, but it was worth a try! As I watched this church service from my computer, I was in tears. His message totally hit home with me, so I began watching it on the computer for the next few Sundays, each time I watched it, I would cry. I'm not sure why I was crying, maybe I felt guilty for turning my back on God and questioning everything. I do know now, that it was God, slowly but surely, getting to me.

After watching the services, they kept talking about the service that would take place on a Wednesday night at the Princess Theater in Decatur. I was already in Decatur that day with Sophie and Julia, so we decided we would go. When we got there, we saw a friend of mine, Amy Sterling walking in, so we walked with her. I was still doubting this church in my mind and kinda nervous about being there. Amy was telling me how much she loved it at Epic and what a wonderful youth program they had. When we walked in and I saw all the youth standing at the doors, so excited about being there and couldn't wait for them to open the doors, just so they could be the first ones in, I was amazed!!! Also saw several of my other friends there and everyone was so nice! The whole service, I could not take my eyes off of all the young kids at the front, singing and rejoicing. It touched my heart and I had a feeling that my Daddy was with me during this service, I could feel him all around me and I knew that God and my Daddy sent me there that night. We sat with Randall and Lorrie Proctor that night, and she kept telling me, all it takes is going one time and you will love it here. She invited us to go that Sunday at the 6:00 pm service. I was still kinda questioning everything. After the service at the Princess theater, we got in the car to come home and I looked at Sophie and she was crying. I asked what was wrong, she said, "I don't know, I just miss Papaw." I knew that she could feel him with her also. Needless to say, it was a very emotional car ride home. That next Sunday, my family got ready to go to church there, Maggie, my oldest always gave me a problem about going to church, she didn't want to go. I finally talked her into it. During that service, I sat and watched my 3 girls, I have never seen them sit and listen like they did. After it was over, I asked Maggie, "Well did you like it?" She said, "I loved it!" Right then I knew we had found our church home that my Mom and my Daddy had prayed for.

Yesterday, at church, my three girls decided to be saved and baptized when we got there. My Mom went with me to church yesterday and I was so glad she was there with me to witness this blessing. While I was outside with my girls, waiting for them to go in, it started sprinkling rain, my 8-year-old, Julia, looked at me and said, "Look Mom, it's raining, God and Papaw are rejoicing, in Heaven!" Of course they were!! All 3 were baptized together, it was so emotional for me and my Mom. I wished that my Daddy could have been there, but I know he was.

It is funny how God works. All along I thought all the pain and emptiness I was feeling was just from losing and missing my Daddy, but I realize now, that it was also from losing and missing God. I am starting to feel whole again, little by little, I'm still struggling, I know he is still working on me! I thank God everyday, that he sent Iv and Bene to me. They are both truly a gift from God. It still amazes me that my kids, especially Maggie, cannot wait to go to church on Sunday!! I just wanted to share this.

About the Author: I am a born again Christian, a follower of our Lord Jesus Christ. A father of two daughters. I have been called to help build the Kingdom of God. You can find me on the web at http://godofchances.com