Posted by: pmarkrobb | November 3, 2014

for a boy, please

The words below were written just a week after losing the dear friend I mentioned in our last post.  I have sat with these words for several weeks.  I have poured and prayed over them.  I have sought wisdom and counsel in sharing them.  Through it all, I have been gifted a peace that does not source from my understanding, and release them now with the solemn prayer that He will use them.

How does one measure the weight of a heart?  An odd question, no doubt, but one that entered my mind as I considered my right now and how it compares to the vast expanse of my yesterdays.  If there was, in fact, some way to calculate it, I expect the resulting answer would show my heart is as heavy as it’s ever been.  A week ago, I had to communicate a message to the person I love most in this world.  This message buckled my own knees in receiving it, and I was certain it would do far worse to my wife.  How do you tell the woman you love most that her best friend in the world (apart from you) is gone?

My dear friend Lisa was a warrior princess.  She would be the first to admit that she was not perfect, but she was the perfect friend to my wife, Kristyn.  She was a woman of God who started each and every day with some combination of a Bible, a devotional, a journal and a cup of coffee.  Lisa was a devoted and faithful wife, a brilliant mother, a treasured daughter, a beloved aunt, a true friend and a bright light to anyone God delivered into and through her life.  God had numbered her days, and they were far too few for all those who loved her.  God is good.  We are holding onto that truth as tightly as we can in navigating the beautiful memories of our shared past and painful reality of our right now.  We do not mourn as those who have no hope.  We claim and lean on that hope, as we do the Author and Giver of it.  God is good … all the time.  All the time … God is good.

I found myself alone in the drive-thru at McDonald’s the day my boys and I were set to travel and join my wife and Lisa’s beautiful family for her viewing and funeral.  I wasn’t starving but needed something and decided on a menu choice that triggered a spontaneous, sad chuckle.  I was anything but, when I asked the polite drive-thru clerk for a “happy meal.”  As she confirmed my hamburger with no onions and apple slices, she asked me a question that quite unexpectedly buckled my knees again.  It was all I could do to answer, “for a boy, please.”  I’m not completely certain why things hit me like they do, but her question hit me square.  “Is this for a boy, or a girl?” she innocently asked.  It was as if the very words of the Spirit that lives inside me were asking the same question of my suffering.

I have an earthly father and mother whom I love deeply.  There was a time in my life when I was completely dependent on them.  As I began to grow, my parents lovingly and intentionally taught and guided me.  They did so with the knowledge that it was best for me to leave them one day, and they equipped me for that day as well as any parent could.  I was given freedoms and responsibilities which ultimately prepared me to establish a life for myself and to love, care, and provide for the wife and two boys that God had specifically chosen for me.  This, for me, was the natural progression of growing up as a man — to feel responsible and be responsible.  And this was what I was desperately trying to feel and be for every person whom I loved who was hurting in the hours and days after Lisa’s death.  My motives were pure, my intentions were good, but I was acting as if my strength was what was required of me.

In what seemed like an instant, the completely unrelated, yet essential question from the drive-thru clerk penetrated the tough outer layer that had already begun to form around my heart and mind.  The kind of layer we tend to believe is necessary to stand firm against an attack of this magnitude and be a shield and support for those we love.  In what seemed like an instant, the Spirit of God whispered words of comfort and permission; permission to admit, “I am just a boy.”

I’d like to believe I’m a maturing boy, but I am a boy, nonetheless.  My heavenly Father is lovingly and intentionally teaching and guiding me, but it is not for the same purpose as my earthly parents.  To meet this moment of suffering as a “grown man” and to be worthy as a husband, father, brother, uncle and friend are not what God expects of me.  I am just a boy.  I am a boy in a world that was not created to experience loss and pain.  I am a boy whose heart can only be hardened by it, if I try to experience and conquer it on my own.  I am a boy who is made strong only in as much as I choose my own weakness and my Father’s strength.  I am a boy who needs the refuge of my Father’s arms and the comfort of Abba’s lap.

In the grief-filled moments that followed my drive-thru exchange, a beautiful peace poured over me.  For all the responsibility I felt since receiving the news, I had been invited into the only thing that God expects of me; to answer my suffering with the response, “for a boy, please.”  In the midst of the “hardest thing I’ve ever had to do,” a voice comes over the drive-thru speaker and speaks directly into my suffering.  I wonder if you need to hear that too in the midst of your right now.

If so, join me … say the words.

“For a boy, please.”

“For a girl, please.”



  1. Thank you, I need to hear this all the time,

    “For a 66 year boy, please”

  2. I smile in response to your “hearing” from God. 🙂 I join with you, as another boy…………….”for a boy, please”. Abba, Father, Daddy, Dadda – thank You for creating us, engaging us, providing for us, enjoying us, sharing Yourself with us. Your children! Your boys and girls! 🙂 Thank You for reaching out to Mark in his hurt with awareness that he has a Father who is able……..and willing…………understanding…………who cares………and is present. Might he continue to enjoy His big (very near), strong (tender), in control (compassionate) Father as a young boy. Your young boy! Thank You!

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