Joni Parsley Daydream Believer
Monday, August 10, 2020

This past week marks the first anniversary of my beloved Father’s passing. After the pain I’ve endured for a full year, I can finally, happily call it his graduation celebration as he received the eternal reward that he so richly deserved. All that his life on earth lacked was gained the moment he entered paradise and saw his blessed Redeemer. My dad is in heaven. My heart is full at the very thought that he is there and I plan on living in the shadows of righteousness cast by him and of course, my Savior. I want to see them both!

The words you’ll read below were written in the first month after he chose to go home. They are unapologetically honest because grief is real and this was an experience I’d not faced before. Maybe others can go through this with much greater resolve but I felt it all to the core. I wrote with extreme detail only because I was answering the questions that I would ask myself when others dealt with personal loss. The who, what, when, why, and how had always pervaded my thoughts but there is no script or manual giving us the exact way to deal with loss. Because each of our hearts are different, so are our reactions. This is my raw and personal story and it’s the unedited version. I struggled with posting out of fear of being so transparent but if this is relatable and can help any person, then it’s my sacrificial duty and honor. It may be about me but it’s not for me.

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Tuesday, May 08, 2018
After so much of that, I became resentful and angry at others but mostly myself. Why did pleasing people matter so much? Why did approval of others matter and why did I never upset the apple cart when I had every right to? I kept shrinking away while creating this supermom and killing myself to do so. I wanted my husband and kids to think I was amazing, and even though I enjoyed all of my endeavors, my digging uncovered what it cost later in life and more importantly, who and what I lost.
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Tuesday, February 18, 2014
How does one sum up a lifetime in just a few paragraphs? Last week, we said goodbye to my father’s only sibling, his beloved brother, James Askoff who went to Heaven after a short illness. Although in their eighties, these brothers were active together and together they were until the very end. I think that describes this relationship…always together. As children of Yugoslavian immigrants, they have an unparalleled history.
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Monday, July 29, 2013

It feels odd to get back to life when it looks unrecognizable. After the death of someone or a significant loss, how can we get back to “usual” when “usual” doesn’t exist anymore? There is this empty space where a person belonged and everything that went along with them. That void takes your heart to the pit of your stomach at the very thought of their absence. Life is supposed to go on but it feels like it does so in slow motion.

There are stages to grief and I’ve read about them and gone through them, but I think it’s personal; different for each individual. I really don’t feel that psychology got the science down to five stages and that’s it. I also don’t agree with people who say that grief is an enemy and should be rebuked like the common cold. I know that grief, left unchecked and uncommitted into the healing hands of our Savior, can become a problem that shows up in many other ways. Nonetheless, the scriptures give us permission to have a season to grieve.

We are humans that hurt; we feel pain. If we can’t feel pain ourselves then we can’t feel it for others. God knew what separation felt like and made provisions for us to have a time of mourning (Ecclesiastes 3:1-4). We have permission! We can reflect, remember, and feel all our feelings and yet, are in the recuperative company of the Comforter when we do so…we are never alone even when we feel like we are.

In 2 Samuel 12:23, David said something that was and is so significant. After the death of his son, he returned from the tabernacle where he’d worshiped the Lord. He told his aides, who were amazed by his resolve, this enduring truth regarding the loss of his son, “I shall go to him, he shall not return to me.”

One might ask, how could someone worship God after the death of their baby? I believe David was thanking God that his sins were forgiven and that he had the hope of heaven and would see his son again. That is something to think about! What a hope we have…and that hope WILL be a reality! This life is but a moment but eternity is FOREVER!

God’s word is tethered to our hearts in times like these…we just have to tug! I can hurt but also proclaim, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5). I can also feel afraid…yes, I said it!

C.S. Lewis wrote, what I believe is a definitive work on the subject of grief in, “A Grief Observed.” It was written after the loss of his beloved wife and reminds me of a psalm in its painful honesty and moments of questioning. He said, “No one ever told me that grief felt so much like fear.” The uncertainty of life changing so drastically, after loss, is frightening; the fear of an unplanned future that suddenly visited us is daunting.

However, fear is one of God’s specialties! Just the faith of a mustard seed can know He holds tomorrow and today and the next five minutes we don’t think we can even breathe through. Jesus was called, “The Man of Sorrows.” He was well-acquainted with grief and our sorrows cannot compare. But, His love answered the distant cries of our hurting hearts and He bore it all on the Cross…He didn’t have to but He did it anyway. In our hardest moments, we can look to Him and that undeniable love and know He will give us “beauty for ashes” and “that He heals the brokenhearted.”

What God gives in this life cannot be described, much less comprehended. But it doesn’t end here… so we can’t act like it does. I have - I admit it! In my life, there have been those moments where I felt like I couldn’t take another breath…but I did and I wasn’t breathing alone.

"Peace I leave with you: my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid." John 14:27

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

I want to thank all of you for your support during these last weeks of difficulty-I guess I don’t know what else to call it. The end of life for someone is simply hard to watch and hard to endure. My next post addresses the subject of grief and the challenges of going on in the face of it. I put a few other posts on hold to discuss this life experience. It seemed more appropriate anyway.

I’m actually writing this on a plane as we travel back home. We took a few days away to just be before the Lord and be with each other. It was a working trip with some free moments attached to it. All I can say is… prayers were felt! I thank you deeply for your kind words of encouragement and the prayers that have strengthened us each and every day.

It is a wonderful thing to be part of God’s family where people genuinely care. Compassion is an outgrowth of love and we have been the blessed beneficiaries of both.

We now have the task of settling back in to normal life that feels very abnormal now. God is ever-present and has been the loving Father we know Him to be. However, we are still in “that place” and I’ll talk about it more in the post to come.

While we were gone, I watched the beautiful, vast ocean one afternoon. I became fascinated by the surfers. They are a patient group! They sat on their boards, in the still water, for long periods of time just waiting and watching. They were looking for the direction of the waves to swim towards and ride. Most of them could catch that wave and ride it all the way to the shore and then, go right back out again.

I thought a lot about grief being so much like that. Things are still and quiet and then a wave of emotion comes and I know I can either drown in it or ride to shore where it’s safe. However, being patient through the process is important…there is a time to mourn. But, there is always a safe place…always.

Thank you so much, once again! I love you all and pray that the God of all Grace meets you at the point of your need for He is our FAITHFUL SUPPLY!

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About Joni

Thanking God for blessings too many to list. He is my all and my always-the glory and the lifter of my head... He never fails.

Why the Name

"For a child, it’s as easy as blowing out candles on a cake, or wishing upon a star. But as for one of those 'grown-ups,' 'No dream comes true until you wake up and go to work.' " ...