Sunday, June 18, 2006

Father's Day Thoughts

Father's Day is one of those holidays that I have struggled with over the years. My father passed away with cancer when I was 12 years old. I have lots of great memories with my father for which I am very thankful. But there have also been struggles along the way. One thing I struggled with for years was the fact that the last time I saw my dad at home was the day after his 36 birthday. I knew my father had cancer, but back then you didn't really hear as much as you do now about people dying with cancer. So I don't think I thought it would every really happen. (I know that no one every thinks or wants that to happen and I don't mean for that to sound belittling to anyone going through that struggle right now. I’m just remembering thoughts from a 12 year mind.) My father was taken to the hospital for the last time the day after his birthday. That was at a time when children were not allowed to visit patients in the hospital under any circumstances. It was just not permitted. So my dad left that day with me not really realizing that was the last time I would see him alive. I still remember vividly a few days later when my aunt came to pick me up at school. I knew what had happened without anyone saying a word. I didn't realize until many years later how I had struggled with not being able to say goodbye. Of course I told him goodbye as he was leaving that night, but in my 12 year old heart I didn't know it was "goodbye".

When I was in my 30's I had my first small group experience with a group of wonderful women. We studied "Experiencing God" by Blackaby. As we began that study I had such a hard time understanding how to have a relationship with my heavenly Father. But through that study, with the help of those women and most of all the help of God, I began to realize why I had such a hard time with that relationship. Besides the fact that when we were all growing up a relationship with God was never talked about, I realized I felt cheated by not still having a relationship with my earthly father. I hadn't been able to let go of those feelings because I realized I was still troubled by never being able to say goodbye. Through that study and through many personal bible studies since, I have learned to trust in God and the relationship that he wants with me. I have learned that he is always there and He will never leave. The foundation of my relationship with God to this day is based largely on that 1st small group with those women. I praise God for allowing me that opportunity with them and for showing me that He is truly seeking a relationship with ME!

As I have had my own children, there are still times I greatly miss my earthly father and still struggle some on occasion with father's day. Times like when your children are born, when the play their first ball game, when they're in the school musical and you think about him not being there to share in those special moments personally. And as my son gets older I am sometimes reminded of father even more. People who knew my father think Jeremy looks a lot like him. I think so too. Jeremy loves a lot of the same things that my father did. Jeremy has always loved to be outside, he likes to garden, he loves animals, I could go on and on. It's things like that I remember about my father and see in Jeremy that make father's day or any other day sometimes a little harder. Jeremy has the most Godly heart you could ever imagine and at the same time he can also be the most mischievous thing you have ever seen. I know from stories I have been told all my life about my father when he was Jeremy's age, that he was the exact same way. So even the mischievousness of Jeremy makes me think of my father and how I miss him. I know they would be best friends, two peas in a pod and probably driving us all nuts!

Even as those things sometimes make me sad, I also take great comfort in them. My father was a wonderful husband, father and son, but most of all he was a child of God. So I know there will come a time when we are all together again, when he will see what a beautiful Godly woman Ashley has become and when he and Jeremy are hi-fiving at all the things Jeremy did to make this mom crazy! It makes me smile just to think about it.

I have learned to experience father's day through my own husband and my children. I am very thankful for my husband and the godly leader and example he is in our home. I know that he was sent to me by God. I love and cherish him and I praise God for sending him into my life. God is allowing us to help guide His children that he has so graciously loaned to us for a time. I am so very grateful for that.

So through it all I have learned to call on God by two of favorite names Jehovah Shammah “the Lord is there” and Jehovah Nissi “the Lord is my banner”. I have learned to adjust my father's day thoughts to those with my children's father and the blessing he is in all of our lives, to always look to my heavenly father in and for all things, and to know that because my father was a child of God we will all be together again one day.

1 comment:

Beverly Ross said...

Wow! I am so far behind on my blog-reading! What an awesome tribute to your dad! He would be very proud of you, my friend! He would love the Godly spirit you radiate. I can't wait to meet him - have I got some fun stories to share with him. Love you so much!