Happy Tuesday, sweet SHINE girls!!
I hope your week is off to a great start! If you are in God's word, it definitely helps, doesn't it?
Did y'all get excited when you read yesterday's chapter about the Lord FINALLY speaking? Good grief. It was a LONG time coming! :) I love how the Lord waits, because He wants the very last word. He wants the Grand Finale. Boom!
I was getting tired of hearing Job's friends drone on and on about the whole thing. They certainly would not be my choice of friends. Downers to say the least. Encouraging words were few and far between with those fellas. Poor Job.
The passage from yesterday in Job was so beautiful, though! I loved how God described the ocean, the moon, and the stars. Can you fathom the depths of His Creation and His Wonder? Me either.
Okay, so moving on to today's post.
Heather Rutherford is a long time friend. She and I met in college. My husband, Lem, and her husband, Mike, were roommates at Georgia. :)
Heather is just as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside! She glows, she really does.
Heather is the very first person that I thought of when I was thinking of our Father's Day posts this week. You will see why in just a few paragraphs. :)
Be blessed by her story today. You may want to grab a Kleenex or two, or just go ahead and grab the whole box.
“but those who HOPE in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles: they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
2 Timothy 4:7
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”t a
When Jill asked me to write an entry for SHINE, I was honored, humbled and I have to admit, scared. I love to write and at times, I think I actually AM a writer, but in all honesty, I am far from that. Writing about my love for God is sometimes an easy endeavor for me, but at times, it can be a difficult one too. This is not because I lack the utmost adoration for our Lord, but because quit often, I lack the correct words to express that adoration. So….I was honored to write an entry because I think a great deal of Jill and I especially admire her love for our Lord and what she is doing through the SHINE website. I was humbled because out of all of the people she knows, she asked me.
(I know she has asked others, but in my mind, I was the 1st…he he!!)
Lastly, I was scared….scared because Jill asked me to write about my Daddy. I don’t even know where to begin with that one…
So I guess I will begin with this, my Daddy is the strongest, bravest, kindest, most humble, generous, devoted, loving human being I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing. From an early age, I knew how important God was in my Daddy’s life and how important his personal relationship with Jesus Christ was as well. My Daddy ushered at church, taught Sunday School and even took a week off of work in the summer to help with VBS! Looking at my Daddy and his involvement with our church, anyone could see his love for the Lord. But, it wasn’t all the accolades he accumulated or all of his involvement in the church that made an impression on me as far as his devotion to God; it was how my Daddy handled life in the face of adversity and struggles. The grace and courage that God gave my Daddy to walk through good times and bad times has made a mark on me that I hope to carry throughout my entire life.
When I was a senior in high school, I went through a very rough patch. I was diagnosed with fibroid cysts on my ovaries and had laparoscopy surgery a month before I graduated. For whatever reason….hormonal or otherwise….I didn’t fair well after the surgery. I spiraled out of control…drinking, smoking, being unkind to my body in every way imaginable. I hated who I saw when I looked in the mirror and I lacked a self worth that even to this day makes me cringe. I was depressed…in a nutshell…and everyone around me knew it, BUT me!!! My cousin got married that summer and for some reason, we had to take two cars to Orlando for the blessed event. I rode with my Daddy while my two sisters rode with my mama. I don’t remember what was talked about on that car ride, but I do remember laughing a lot…and singing “Brown Eyed Girl” at the top of our lungs. This would later become our song (my Daddy and me) even though I have blue eyes!!!! I also remember my Daddy talking about a big interview he had coming up and how he felt pretty good about the outcome. My Daddy had been in and out of work for a couple of years and in my mind, I felt he was DUE for some good fortune in the job department.
A few days after returning home from the wedding, my Daddy got a call saying he did not get the job. At that moment, I closed my eyes and told God I was mad at Him and that I would no longer believe in Him. I didn’t tell anyone this, but my parents sensed something was going on with my faith. My Daddy encouraged me to pray, talk with God, seek Him in all I do, but I turned a deaf ear to it. Our church had a guest speaker one Sunday night and my Daddy asked me to go with him. I agreed to go with him and at the time, I am sure I had no idea why, but now in looking back, it is obvious God was at work! I don’t remember much about the speaker, but I do know his message was one of HOPE. One of believing in God and the miracles only He can deliver. I remember looking at my Daddy and realizing that it was that kind of HOPE and BELIEF in something far greater then he was that carried him through his difficult times. That night, I asked God to forgive me for being so incredibly selfish, arrogant and rude. That night I started to believe again…all because my Daddy asked me to go with him to see a guest speaker at church. In a nutshell, my Daddy brought me back to God.
So, that was in 1996….fast forward 4 years to March 2000. My Daddy was about to begin the biggest battle of his life; a battle that would require the kind of grace and courage that only God can provide. On March 17th, my Daddy was diagnosed with a brain tumor. The night before his operation, a slew of family and friends gathered at my parent’s house for dinner. Before eating, we all held hands and prepared for my Daddy to lead us in prayer. But before Daddy began to pray, he looked each of us in the eye and told us he was okay with whatever outcome awaited him. He knew where he was going…he knew who he served….he knew who his King was. While it was like a knife to our hearts, it was also so amazing. Amazing to know that my Daddy wasn’t scared. He never was….not before or after his 2nd and 3rd surgeries, not before, during or after numerous rounds of chemo and especially not when the time finally did arrive for him to meet his maker.
My sweet Daddy left us on January 5th of this year. Five months later, it is still as if the band-aid has been ripped off and my heart is still raw with pain. I don’t know when or if that will ever go away, but I do know this, my Daddy is HEALED. He is sitting at our Lord and Savior’s feet enjoying every single second of it!!!! I have to admit it took me a couple of months to actually visualize my Daddy entering Heaven’s gates. I am not sure why, maybe it’s because I am a very visual person and like to SEE things for myself, or maybe it’s because I didn’t want to actually release him from this earth, from my heart, from who knows what….but for whatever reason, I did have a hard time seeing him walk through the pearly whites!!!! This bothered me immensely, but one day while I was driving, I literally just visualized him walking into the gates and it was as if my heart let go of some anger and/or hurt and felt so much better!!!!! I truly believe this to be a gift from God. I can’t think of any other reason for it!!!!!
Last summer Mike, our children and I all had the great fortune of going to the beach with my parents for a couple of days. It was a wonderful trip. My Daddy played on the beach with the kids, read them books and laughed a lot. On the last day of our trip, Daddy and I talked on the beach while the sun was setting. I asked him if he was mad…mad that he had been so sick for so long. Mad that so many things that he loved to do had been taken away from him. I asked him this because I knew I was mad. And in true Daddy fashion, he answered me with this….”Mad? What in the world do I have to be mad about? Listen, Heather. I’ve lived a lot longer then we ever thought imaginable. A lot longer then a lot of other people. When I say my prayers at night, I ask God to take any burdens that may be placed on your mother, you girls and your families and put them on me.”
I TOLD you he is the strongest, bravest, kindest, most humble, generous, devoted, loving human being I’ve ever known. I’ve come to realize that if I can spend the rest of my life living with just a smidgen of the grace and courage that my Daddy had, well I will be one lucky lady. Thank you Daddy…for showing me what it really means to fight the good fight, finish the race and keep the faith. Your HOPE and belief in our Lord and Savior carry me through my hard times. I love and miss you every second of every day!!!!!
|Daddy and Me as a baby|
|Daddy and Me|