It is Father’s Day. A celebration of love that is woven deep within us.
I miss my father.
He had a quirky sense of cool that I always admired.
A man of few words, he knew just how and when to make me laugh.
He was great JOY to me. And no one will fill his space.
There are days I almost pick up the phone and call him…
And other days that I quietly have a conversation with him on the playground while I swing one of my children.
I don’t feel comfortable asking God for any more of my father, when He gave me so much. Our lives are braided together by time, and faith, and love. I realize how many VICTORIES we were able to share together in our earthly lifetimes.
God was able to watch God pry a longstanding, stubborn addiction from my father’s life, and my dad prayed patiently as God found a miraculous way to do the impossible, giving my husband and I our very own biological children.
I flip back to a conversation, a set of circumstances, that happened many years ago. I have been thinking about this, intermittingly, for the last few days.
David and I had tried to get pregnant for years, without success… until one I bought a pregnancy test and got the “yes” I had been hoping for.
Several pregnancy tests would testifiy it was true. I was indeed, PREGNANT.
So, after sharing this news with my stunned husband and mother, I went to my parent’s house. My father greeted me at the door with tears in his eyes. A look of restrained celebration on his face.
“Oh, Jenn…I am praying that God has His way with this situation…and if it is not going to turn out positively, I hope that He will not let you carry this baby to the end.”
At the time, I felt a bit disheartened by his response. I wanted him to click his heels together and raise his arms and shout. But he, in his lifetime, had been through a certain devastation that changed the way he responded. His response was one of caution.
Years before, after I was born, my mom carried a little boy full term, only to lose him a few days before birth and deliver him lifeless. My mother’s friends tore down the nursery before she could make it home from the hospital, and my father buried his dream of having a son.
Looking back, I now understand…My father was asking God to be merciful… to limit unnecessary pain…. to call it quits before the joy had so seeped into my heart that bad news could destroy me. He loved me, and he saw something I could not see. And after I lost that baby at 6 weeks, I had a new appreciation for his wisdom.
Mercy. Mercy. Love wants mercy.
And it was exactly what I wanted for him. He died 26 days after being diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. He did not dangle in the balance long… angels surrounded the living room, and music filled the house.
The night before my father passed away, my cousin arrived. With a guitar draped over his leg, we sang together loudly, with bold hearts in harmony. The sound of praise bled over into the living room where my father sat.
”Take my heart, I Lay it down
At the feet of you whose crowned
Take my life, I’m letting go
I lift it up to You who’s throned
And I will worship You, Lord
Only You, Lord
And I will bow down before You
Only You Lord
Take my fret, take my fear
All I have, I’m leaving here
Be all my hopes, be all my dreams
Be all my delights, be my everything
And It’s just you and me here now
Only you and me here now”
(Lyrics from the David Crowder Band Only You.)
I wanted my father to know that I was committed to praising God no matter what. And my love for him would never stop. It would bridge him from this life to the next. There would never be a moment in time when my heart would forget how very much I loved him.
So this Father’s Day I celebrate something I had not given much thought to before…
We are given exactly what we need. We cannot add to it. We cannot subtract. We can choose to be grateful and believe that love was so important to God that He put it at the top of the list of things would stand the test of time: “… these three things remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13
Isn’t it wonderful to know that our investment in other’s lives today lives on beyond this life? And while we are here memories of the ones we have loved can linger in our minds and compel us to love others with the same kind of love.