My whole life changed with a single phone call.

I was blessed with two amazing parents who loved the Lord. As I grew up, God quickly became the center of my life, but I never understood why bad things happen to good people.

For as long as I can remember, I have always been taught about God’s goodness and all He has done for my life and the loved ones around me. Both of my grandfathers and my grandmother are pastors and my family has always been very active in the church. My parents have always been an extraordinary example for my brothers and for me of what living a life for Christ is like and all I have ever know was to love the Lord.

I could say I always chose to walk with the Lord but that would make my story sound perfect.  Instead, my story follows the song lyrics by Mat Kearney saying, “She said she didn’t believe it could happen to me, I guess we’re all one phone call from our knees.”

The phone call that brought me to my knees was with a doctor who told me, “It doesn’t look too good, but we’re trying to save him.”

Then I realized he was talking about my dad and in that split second it clicked. I looked over at my mom as she burst into tears and franticly said “I can’t do it, I can’t live without Derrick.”

Everything becomes a blur in that moment and your body numbs. The only thing that you can possibly think is that this event could not be happening to you, this absolutely cannot be real life. But on August 19, 2009 that surreal event became my new reality. The person that I was so used to calling ‘Daddy’ went to be with Jesus. My father passed away from a sudden heart attack that evening.

I can close my eyes and see it all unfold again more times than I wish.For months and months the only question I could ask was, “Why God?” But it was during those months of pain and confusion that God began to capture my heart.

It wasn’t until I understood that I couldn’t heal on my own that I began to put Jesus at the center of my life. I had to learn that sometimes you have to hurt to heal. Little did I know I would look back now and realize I was living by the quote, “When life knocks you down on you’re knees, you’re in the perfect position to pray.” Night after night I spend more time on the side of my bed praying and pleading to God to heal and comfort not only me but the rest of my family.

I learned through the book of Deuteronomy that “…the Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

Losing my dad was the hardest thing I’ve ever been through. I had some good days and I had some hard days, but through it all, the Lord was always by my side.

I won’t ever get used to my dad not being here with me but when I look back and see how God’s grace and mercy brought me through I can’t help but sit back and smile. And continually, through other struggles I’ve experienced God has truly seen me through, and like the words of many saints, I look up and say; “If I had ten thousand tongues I still couldn’t praise You enough.”