Life Is a Tapestry

Life Is a Tapestry

Written by Rhesa Higgins

If our life is a tapestry, woven together by many threads, there are two dominant colors in my life: faith and grief.

When I was four years old, my daddy left work early one Thursday afternoon to drive home and teach me to swim. On his commute, a man driving the opposite direction on a busy highway had a heart attack and crossed the median. His car hit my father’s head-on and killed him instantly. At the age of four, grief was introduced.

Somewhere in those early days after my father was killed, a kind, loving someone told me that my daddy was in heaven with God. I wondered how God, who was all powerful, had let my daddy die. Another person told me that God needed my daddy more than we did, so Daddy had to go live in heaven. I wondered how a God who was supposed to be loving could take away my daddy.

My childhood vision of God had been a kindly grandfather with a white beard on a high-backed throne. And standing right beside God was my daddy. But somewhere in those early years, the two images merged and God had my daddy’s face. Faith and grief walk together.

I remember having spiritual conversations with my mother early in my life. I asked questions about heaven at the age of five. I understood what Peter meant when he said that our citizenship was in heaven. I felt my heart turned toward another kingdom. I was fascinated with the nativity story at all times of the year because my God already had flesh–my daddy’s.

When I was nine years old and formally gave my life to Christ, I wished my daddy was there. When I was 17 and discerned a call into ministry, I wished my daddy was there. When I was 20 and walked down an aisle wearing white, I wished my daddy was there. When I was 24 and gave birth to a daughter, I wished my daddy was there. When I was 25 and 28, and delivered 2 more children, I wished my daddy was there.

When I was 29, I was invited to participate in a retreat. I agreed to go, but I had a secret motive: I wanted to go meet with God so that I could resign from this call to ministry. I was angry, frustrated, and meeting brick walls everywhere I turned. This God, who wore my daddy’s face, had asked me to do the impossible and I was over it. God certainly met me at this retreat, in the body of woman who had worked alongside my daddy. She brought me the dearest blessing I have ever received: She said though my face is so like my mother’s, my passionate heart was my daddy’s.

And then, this God with my daddy’s face, lived on in me. Incarnation meant my flesh, my hands, and my feet.

In my life, grief introduced faith. Then faith opened the way to authentic grief. These two strands of my tapestry of life are now variations of the same color.

Rhesa is the founding director of eleven:28, a safe place to ask questions, explore who God is, and deepen your experience of God. You can find out more about Rhesa and eleven:28 here.


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