It’s amazing how much reflection you do while grieving. You look back and pick apart every inch of your time with that person, reflecting on the highs and lows together.
I’ve often thought about what I’d say to Zack if he could come back and sit with me for a few hours. What would I tell him knowing that his time was short and eternity was calling him back?
I’d tell him that I’m so thankful for his discerning heart. Thankful for all the ways he took care of the girls and I here on earth and in the event of his death. I often questioned his desire to have life insurance when we were paycheck to paycheck. I told him several times to stop talking about “worst case scenario” yet he’d make me recite back what I would do if he were to pass and to repeat what we had decided to do with the life insurance money. “Sell his car. Put aside money for each of the girl’s college accounts. Take a year to get my feet under me and then go to work.” I’m so thankful that he listened to the Holy Spirit nudging him to put those things in place and for communicating with me about it. I’ve gone back to those conversations more times than I’d like to admit.
I’d tell him that I’ve found a new piece of myself in the midst of the pain. He’d probably give me a look like I was crazy, but I’d explain how God had been molding me and creating me all those years to build a foundation one day. Through the time as an Office Manager, Wedding Planner, Receptionist, House Cleaner & Sales Person, God had been using those jobs to strengthen me to be ready when the time came. I had no clue that God was preparing me through it all, but looking back, I can see that with great precision, He had been giving me the tools along the way.
I’d tell him that so many people have come to know Jesus as their Savior through his death. It doesn’t take away my earthly pain and it doesn’t make it any easier, but it does give me Hope that even in my darkest moment, God can be there bringing immediate beauty from the ashes. I’d show him the piles of letters, cards and emails from around the country that I’ve held on to revealing how moved they were by his passing and how their spiritual lives are forever changed because of the work God has done.
I’d tell him that I wish I held on a little longer when I hugged him goodbye on December 30th, 2017. Little did I know that my arms would be the last to hold him on this earth before our Savior held him in eternity.
I’d tell him that I’m not moving on without him, I’m just moving forward. Moving forward into this unknown future and trusting that God will bring back the color in my life. Trusting that God will heal all the brokenness in my heart and redeem what has been stolen.
With Eyes Set on Eternity,
Our Founder and Executive Director, Gracie chose to faithfully lean in to the tragic murder of her husband, Douglas County Deputy Zack Parrish III, by using the moment as a platform to proclaim the truth of Gospel and the love, hope, and peace of Jesus. In the months since, Gracie’s faith and story have inspired countless others, and when she’s not chasing her two little girls around, she continues to choose obedience to the Lord and the calling on her life by creating opportunities to minister to first responder families through The Shelter Foundation. Learn more about Gracie’s and our stories here: https://www.theshelterfoundation.org/about/
Discover how God can move your story forward with his hope and peace too! Our weekly bible studies are starting NEXT week (week of September 9th) throughout the area, from Littleton to Castle Rock, for both men and women, first responders (and spouses!). Click here for details and registration: https://www.theshelterfoundation.org/bible-studies/