Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Restoration of a Father's love.


God woke me up early the morning of my dad's memorial service, words pouring into my mind.  When I had finished writing my mother said to me, "You have to read this at Dad's memorial service."  It was by God's grace alone that I was able to read what is written below, through many tears shed in the process.  Below you will find my tribute to my precious daddy's life.  Thank you for all who have prayed for me.  I have felt each and every prayer.  
   I'm up early this morning, memories of my dad flooding my mind.  It's all so surreal.  I expect him to walk through the door at any moment, yet I know in my head, he won't.  He's waiting for me in heaven where one day I will be swept up in his arms once again.  For now, I feel the void of knowing those arms will not wrap around me again on this earth.

     I think of the verse in Joel 2: "I will restore the years the locusts have eaten, declares the Lord".  Yes, he has done that.

     My father attended church religiously, serving as a deacon, Sunday School teacher and even an elder.  He was a religious man who wanted to do what he was supposed to, yet he didn't know God.  There was no connection with the heart of the Father.  For you see he was a broken man.

      There were many ups and downs in our lives.    When you don't know the heart of the God, you don't really know love.  Therefore receiving and expressing love becomes difficult.  My dad, in his broken state, offered what he had to give.

      But God knew Him.  He pursued him through a fellowship of people.  They sit behind us here in the church.  There were 8 people who saw my dad, not as a damaged man, but one who needed to be loved.  They loved him well.  It was in this "acceptability group" that my father first found God.  It was somewhere in the mid-1990's, I can't remember the exact year now.

      I will never forget the day he was baptized.  My oldest daughter was baptized with him.  I wept like a baby as I heard him testify of this great love he had finally discovered.  It had been the prayer of my heart.

       Dad began to live from his heart.    God began the process in me to restore the years the locust have eaten.  I wanted to know His truth above anything that I had felt or perceived.

      A few years ago my husband and I were in a difficult season.  He was working too many hours for too little pay.  Life was just exhausting. One desperate day as I journaled my heart, I heard God say, "Call your daddy".   As soon as daddy answered the phone I began to weep.   I so desperately wanted him there in the room with me, hugging me tight.  "Daddy will you pray for me?"  I'll never forget the tenderness in his voice as he spoke and prayed.  Peace permeated my being as Daddy cried out on my behalf.  It wasn't just another moment of restoration, it was a time of revelation.  God was using my dad to show me Him.  I heard the love, hurt, tenderness in my Daddy that God wanted me to know about him.

     You've heard the grandchildren talk of how he would say to them, "you're my favorite, but don't tell anyone else."  I can still see the smile on his face and the twinkle in his eyes as he would tell each one.  It was so true.  Each one was his favorite.  It's another great picture of God that Daddy displayed.  I can see God looking at each one of us with that same look of delight saying,  "You're my favorite, but don't tell anyone else".

      Moments of healing and love are scattered throughout the last 15 + years.  God has been restoring my broken pictures.  I know in the depths of my soul that I am my daddy's girl.

       There is something sacred about watching a child of God take their last breath.  I will savor the moment of watching Daddy enter into heaven.  As I sat there holding his hand, weeping for my loss, I knew.  I was deeply and tenderly loved.  That will be my memory.

16 comments:

Gretchen said... Reply to comment

Lord, please continue to keep Julie in the palm of Your hand. Comfort and continue to heal and give peace. In Jesus' name. Amen.

ktwalden said... Reply to comment

What a sweet testimony about your precious dad! Like the song says - Precious memories...how they ever flood my soul. Julie, let these precious memories help heal your heart. I know your dad would love these words you have shared. Bless you, sister!

Amy said... Reply to comment

Julie,

What a beautiful work the Lord did in your life by restoring His love through your earthly father.

I am praying for the Lord to keep revealing His love during this time of loss and sadness.

Praying for you,
Amy

Gail W. said... Reply to comment

Julie, I've been praying for you and your family this week. I woke up early this morning and have spent the quiet time catching up on my friends in Blogland. Now I am in tears over your beautiful story of your earthly father's journey and the glimmer of God you saw reflected in him. As a nurse, I have sat with many as they drew their last breath here on earth. You are absolutely correct - it is a sacred occasion every single time. I love you, dear sister and will continue to pray for you and your brood.

Joyful said... Reply to comment

May the Lord continue to flood your heart with precious memories. Keep leaning on Him. May you know the comfort and peace that only He can give.

Hugs,
Joy
PS. My Daddy has surgery for cancer on Tuesday. I have seen a lot of changes in him over the past year. I wrote a post here, about my dad, http://princessjoyful.blogspot.com/2008/02/has-anybody-seen-my-dad.html

Tracy said... Reply to comment

What a beautiful testimony of God's grace in the life of your precious Dad. I continue to pray for you and your family...that God wraps you in his love and brings you peace and comfort as your heart begins the process of healing.

Love,
Tracy

Anonymous said... Reply to comment

Julie, know that my prayers are with you. I lost my own beloved Daddy -- like you, I'm a Daddy's girl -- in 2006. It was a horrible up-and-down 4 months from his injury to his passing. I know I'll see him again, and he's rejoicing in the presence of the King, but it's hard to be left down here with our grief. God bless you and your family. Edie

Laura said... Reply to comment

Oh, Jewelz,

I can't imagine how difficult it was for you to read these words of love. I'm so glad you were able to share them with your daddy's loved ones. What a beautiful story his was.

I'm sending you a big hug, and lots and lots of prayers.

Sita said... Reply to comment

Julie,
What a beautiful tribute. My heart aches for your earthly loss. I know that God reserves a special grace for such a time. May you and your family receive this grace as you need it, in showers, in a mist, in a drip. Such a bittersweet season, savoring the thought of him with Jesus fully whole in every way, and at the same time experiencing the wrenching loss of his earthly presence.
May you rest in His grace.
Love, Sita

Miss G said... Reply to comment

What a blessing that you were able to share that Julie. I am so sorry for your loss. Kelly

Liz said... Reply to comment

Julie,
I loved the memorial service for our Dad.
Your tribute, Brenda's, the grandkid's - everything was awesome.

Your Mom, though, is my hero.
Her love for your Dad was steadfast, sure, and complete.
Her love for God, the same.
The two combined - well - it's a powerful force and the end result was the man your Dad became.

I saw the change in your Dad as well, peripherally, but I noticed it nonetheless.

I'm thrilled that my children had the benefit of his love.
I'm honored to have been a part of your family.

Connie@Little Red Hearts From God said... Reply to comment

M heart.. My prayers... all of me is here to comfort you... I know your pain.. your sorrow... your joy...
I only hope I can be of some comfort as God comforted me.. that I may comfort you.. 2 Corinth 1:3-5

the next year.. no matter how hard you try will be an emotional roller coaster.. just let it flow...

and I will pray for you....

God bless you..

I love you my friend

Angie said... Reply to comment

Oh Julie. I can't type for crying. I do have something to tell you...but I will e-mail it when I am more composed.

I am praying. I love you dearly.

Iris said... Reply to comment

Thank you for sharing your beautiful heart and story. I have been blessed by it.

Crown of Beauty said... Reply to comment

I just read this post. It's beautiful. Thanks for sharing your heart. God's comfort will continue to surround you like a shield. Loved everything you said. You are a blessing.

Jo Princess Warrior said... Reply to comment

Julie, this is amazing. I cried as one who has also lost her Father, I cried as one who yearns for her mother to know God. xoxoxoxoxo