I miss you already. I miss your scent, your sounds, your humor, your prayers, your daily "God bless you Sally" and "I'm praying for peace in the valley". How I thank God for you daddy! Such a mighty man of valor who accomplished so much in his life. You grew up during the great depression, worked hard to become an Eagle Scout, enlisted and survived World War II and met every challenge and opportunity with integrity, true grit and great faith in a great and awesome God. You amaze me and have been such an inspiration to me and to so, so many others.
I marvel at the number and variety of articles you wrote and that were published. I even remember the time you did cartoons! Your wit, creative writing and gift of teaching impacted so many. In addition to training up me and Chelsea, you trained up many in the church as well as in the insurance adjusting world. I love that you created bedtime stories for your girls! Sweet and fun memories of the nightly adventures of "Nubby and his magic carpet". As mother would say, "you could tell a tale"!
Even as you were going blind, you started your memoirs and finished them shortly after being declared legally blind. Amazing. You also blessed many with your little booklets and vignettes. Tom loves telling the story of how you would be outside mowing. (Yes, you were a blind man mowing and that is a whole other story.) But, as you would mow the rows, you were also creating stories in your mind. So, you would stop, come into the house and record the story. Back and forth you would go. Later, deciding you wanted to write a novel, you took that typing course for the blind, applied for and received the talking computer and at the ripe age of 90 finished your first novel entitled Loyal, GA. You had an amazing zeal and thankfulness for life.
Oh but daddy...what I remember most about you is that you were a mighty man of God. Over these last years as I watched your physical and mental strength fail you, I saw the power of God sustain and spiritually strengthen you. Amazing grace. Your faith in God caused me to seek God and stir within me a desire to experience His faithfulness just as you experienced it. But then, watching your relationship with God and wanting what you had with God started early in my life.
Because of your godly leadership in our home, I never went a day of my life without knowing about Jesus. How amazing is that? When I came to you and mother sharing that I wanted to "invite Jesus into my heart" you patiently shared the gospel with me and knelt with me as I prayed and declared Jesus as my Savior and Lord. Because you read to me Revelation 22 - and would read it to me every time I asked - I have never had a fear of death or dying. Just the opposite. I long for heaven - my home. Your love for God's Word and desire to understand God's Word has never wavered. In fact, the gift of one of your marked up Bibles comforted me so much when struggling to understand why God had chosen me to be barren.
I'll never forget the time sitting at your kitchen table at the lake. Mother had just had her first stroke and was facing rehabilitation and the possibility that she would not fully recover. You sat there and told me that you had been created for that very moment. After all your years of work and accomplishments, you believed your greatest work was caring for mother. I witnessed what it would look like for a man to love his wife as "Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her" (Ephesians 5:25). Absolutely amazing.
Even in blindness you continued to keep God's Word before you. You loved going to Precept Ministries to listen to the class discussions and lectures saying you "wished you had known about this way of studying earlier as you would have been a much better Sunday School teacher." That touched my heart. No matter how hard it was, you would scan the Scriptures and listen to your talking computer say "zero God, zero God" every time it came to "O God, O God" (and other choice interpretations). No matter how hard it was you still dressed up in your suit and tie to go worship God. You loved hearing God's word in music and in sermon. No matter how hard things were for you...you always pressed on. I stand amazed at God's faithfulness, strength and power because I saw His faithfulness to you and His strength and power bestowed upon you.
I call you a mighty man of God not because you were perfect but because I had the privilege of watching you being perfected. I had the privilege of watching you live out what you said you believed about Jesus and the Word of God. As you grew physically weaker your faith in your faithful God grew stronger. In the days when you struggled to put the right words together you had no trouble saying "Praise you Jesus. Praise you Jesus. Praise your Holy Name." When you fumbled to pronounce your words, you could - without fumbling - break into one of your fervent prayers for us asking God to "bless us spiritually and in every way." What a testimony and blessing to witness your heart for and relationship with God Almighty and His Son the Lord Jesus Christ. In these last months as I have watched you enter into and experience humiliation after humiliation, you reminded me and yourself that you "are a child of the King." Alone in your bed and totally dependent upon others for your every need you were kind, thankful, and spoke blessings and prayers over others. You were not like most other people because God had made you more and more into the image of His Son. Glory be to our amazing God.
As Paul says in 2 Timothy 4: 7- "...you have fought the good fight, finished the course, kept the faith. There is laid up for you the crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award you on "that day" and also to all of us who have loved His appearing." WOW daddy.
Thank you for your legacy of faith. Someday, I will see you and mother...in the middle of the street near that tree of life that is on each side of the river of the water of life in the new Jerusalem (Revelation 22:1).
In Memory of daddy, I am sharing some of his writings: