Some Things Only My Dad Could Teach Me…

Dad went to be with the Lord Good Friday of 2012. As many who have lost family members know, these times of the year sting. Little things make it tough. Not having to buy a Father’s Day card, no phone call, not calling Dad to talk about the US Open (even though I didn’t really care about golf). Little things.

This year as I reflect on my Dad, I know there are many little things I learned from Him. “Preach and teach only from the overflow of what God is teaching you…” (Ok, not a little thing). A love for sports, even if we weren’t very good at them. A love for reading and learning that lasted a lifetime. A love for fried okra. “Just eat it, even if you don’t like it.” Enjoy your work… it still has to get done. Sing loudly, even if you don’t know the words. Wedding rehearsals should never last longer than 45 minutes (there’s food at the other end). How to get kicked out of your kid’s soccer game. (That’s a fun story).

Lots of little things. But here are a few big things that I could only have learned from my Dad. Most of them took 36 years to learn, some happened as my Dad became my friend.

1. A heart for the nations… Big name pastors have nothing on my Dad, the ordinary pastor,  when it comes to a heart for the nations. He never wrote books or held conferences… he just DID IT.Image

Serving in Malawi, even when sick and blinded. Returning to the International Mission Board and travelling to world (dozens of countries) to share the Good News of Jesus Christ and to encourage and exhort Gospel workers. And HUNDREDS of missionaries serving around the globe that the Lord used Him to get them there. Not to brag on my Dad, but missions was not an activity or a belief for Dad… the Gospel to the world was LIFE.

2. Weakness. My dad was a weak man.

Image

Physically, he never really overcame his weaknesses. Kidney disease, renal failure, retinal detachment, congestive heart failure, skin cancer, blindness… and more. No sob story here.

Most people who met my dad in passing never knew that he was hurting and weak. Because our God is strong.

My Dad modeled 2 Corinthians 4 EVERY DAY. And I learned how to be weak. Because Jesus is the only one adequate for the calling He has placed on our lives.

3. Love… even when it’s hard. I see this in my daughter Chesed every day. She has such a capacity to love. I continue to learn from my Dad’s legacy through her.

Image The picture says it all.

4. Laughing. My Dad had the most effortless smile and the most contagious laugh. He told the WORST jokes, and could never quite get out a funny story. He laughed too hard. My Dad’s laugh is what I miss most.

Image

I’m so thankful that I have my daughter Charisa. She’s got Dad’s laugh.Boisterous, loud, infectious. Ok, I can’t write about that anymore.Dad with Charisa


5. Loss is Gain. Ok, so Paul obviously teaches this… but Dad lived it. He lost his health, his eye, his dad, his ability to drive, work, read, walk, stand. He once told me in the hospital, that dignity is overrated. He lost his ability to do so much. But every time he lost something, he seemed to understand that he gained so much more. This was not an easy lesson for him to learn, and was probably the toughest to take. But it is the one that I hold most dearly. What are we holding on to as being so sacred, that we forget that Jesus is our reward, our gain, our treasure? God took so much from Dad, but had given Him EVERYTHING in CHRIST! This is best illustrated at Mom’s funeral. About 600 people gathered to worship Jesus together. As we closed the service and I pushed Dad out in his wheelchair, one of the most beautiful moments of my life unfolded. People were standing and singing together… but all I could hear was my Dad’s voice above them all…

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father, There is no shadow of turning with Thee; Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not.  As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.

Great is Thy faithfulness!  Great is Thy faithfulness! Morning by morning new mercies I see; All I have needed Thy hand hath provided— Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,Sun, moon and stars in their courses above,Join with all nature in manifold witness. To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Great is Thy faithfulness!  Great is Thy faithfulness! Morning by morning new mercies I see; All I have needed Thy hand hath provided— Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth. Thy own dear presence to cheer and to guide;Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow, Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

Great is Thy faithfulness!  Great is Thy faithfulness! Morning by morning new mercies I see; All I have needed Thy hand hath provided— Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

That’s a lesson I could have only learned from my Dad.

DadDad and MomGreat Dad.GrandkidsBaptizing in Tanzaniadad smile

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