This is what I shared as a tribute to my daddy, at his memorial service on Dec 31, 2007:
My Dad taught me a lot of things growing up. But the most important thing he taught me was that this life is not about the here and now. It is not about this earth. It is about eternity.
We just celebrated his last Christmas on this earth and I am thankful that my family was able to be here for it. My husband and I planned our trip 5 days before we left to drive out here. We knew that his condition was serious, and we decided at the last minute that I would take Family Medical leave to spend as much time as I could with him. Little did I know how close the timing actually was. We arrived on Saturday the 22nd. He was at home, and he hugged my children and smiled as he told them that he loved them and that he was glad they came to see him. God blessed my family that day with that one little visit. It was early the next morning when my sister and I rushed from her house to the hospital. Dad was in the ER.
This past week has been a flurry of activity, worry, and grief. But this past week has also been a week of God raining his blessings on our entire family. My grandma, mom, brother, sister, and I have been supported and loved by friends, family, and the wonderful hospital staff. We have laughed and cried as we have been reminded about all that dad accomplished in his 58 years.
We had our Christmas with Dad in a hospital room, and we celebrated the true meaning of the season.
Growing up, we never had a Santa decoration in the house. We had nativity sets. Every year we talked about the birth of our Savior, and the gifts the wise men brought. That is why we exchange gifts today.
I am thankful that my Dad taught me the true meaning of Christmas. But I am more thankful that he taught me about Easter. You see, Jesus was born in order to die for our transgressions.
I am thankful that he taught me that this life is not all we have. We have a heavenly father who loved us so much, He sent his only begotten son that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but will have eternal life. We have a heavenly Father who is the awesome God of the universe. He is holy and majestic and he cares about us. He sees our hurt, our pain, our joy and our weakness. He accepts us as we are, broken and sinful. And when we have no strength left to give, he carries us so that in our weakness He can prove Himself strong.
My Dad used to do children’s messages with little “magic tricks” to show how simple God’s love is. It is so simple even a little child can understand. The Bible says if you believe with your heart and confess with your mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord, you will be saved. The result of accepting God’s free gift of salvation is eternal fellowship with the One, True, and Awesome God of the universe.
We are all sinners, not one of us is holy. It is amazing to me that a holy God actually chooses to have fellowship with sinful people. He desires us so much that He provided the sacrifice once and for all for our sin. In Romans, we are told that while we were still sinners, Jesus Christ died for us.
I am grateful that my parents taught me that scripture, prayer, and faith are important in this life. Scripture is God’s holy word to us and prayer is our two way communication with God. Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we cannot see. I cannot see my heavenly Father, but I know with all assurance, by His own word that He sent His son to be born in a stable and die on a cross to be the sacrifice for my sin; so that I can have eternal fellowship with the awesome creator of the universe.
My father taught me the importance of sharing my faith through the way that I live. By the fruit of our lives we are known. My father chose to serve God in his life and his career. Now, he is forever celebrating in the presence of the Great “I Am”.
It is humbling to think that we have the privilege to serve God. He can accomplish His plan without us. I am honored that my father’s service to God has led many others to fellowship with Christ. I am humbled to speak with so many wonderful Christian leaders who were touched by my father’s life.
I am comforted to know that I will see my father in heaven and we will worship and praise our Savoir for all eternity.
For my dad, I’ll be missing you here on this earth, but I will see you again on the streets of gold.
WELL DONE, DADDY.
This is what I said on the Lots of Kids Blog today:
A Christmas Like No Other:
This Christmas was like none other I can think of. Two weeks before Christmas, we were told that my father was very ill, and there was a possibility that he would not survive until Easter. My husband and I decided to spend my father's last Christmas with my family, so we packed at the last minute, and drove half way across the country to be here in time. We arrived on Sat Dec 22nd, and he was at home, tired but smiling. The next morning he went into the hospital and he passed on to be with the LORD on Dec 28th.
This year, I sobbed on Christmas day as my father was taken into the ICU. I grieved for my children when they came to the hospital to tell him "Merry Christmas" and "We love you, Grandpa" even though he could not respond.
My New Year's Eve was a memorial service for my father. We celebrated his life and his service to God as a life long career minister. It was humbling to see the collection of amazing Christian leaders gather to celebrate how my father's ministry touched their lives and helped to develop their own ministries.
This year, I begin a New Year grieving my loss, but rejoicing for his gain. This year, my mother will learn how to be a widow in stead of a wife. This year, we will learn a new kind of "normal."
This year, I am cherishing the gift of my family.
Here's to a year of no regrets.