Saturday, June 18, 2011

Memories Of My Dad

Day 351 in my "Year In My Life Through Pictures" blog series

I found this picture of my dad today - he's the second from the right on the bottom row. I was blown away at how much my older brother resembled him at about that same age. So, I guess that means as my brother gets older he will start to look like our dad did later in his life.

I really miss my dad. I was just really getting to know him better when he passed away a little over 6 years ago. It's not that we had a bad relationship or anything, but I never really knew him as a person until later in life. I knew him as Daddy and that he was the lawn mower, mechanic, car driver, bread winning, auction going man of the house when growing up. He and my mom divorced when I was 18(ish). I think they waited until my brother and I had both graduated high school, for whatever reason. I know it was a rough time on him (and my mom too), but I never placed blame on either one of them and still do not. I know it was a mutual thing that their marriage did not work out.

Six years later, after his death, I really wish I would have talked more spiritually with him. At the time I was still lost and still looking at my prayer as an 8 year old as my reason for salvation and not to Christ. There is no telling what I would have said to him anyway, probably that he needed to pray a prayer or something, which is all I ever knew at the time. It was, however, the time in my life that God was really starting to work on me, starting to open my eyes to a lot of the false things I had been taught throughout my childhood that carried on into adulthood.

My wife was kind during the time that my dad was in the hospital following the stroke he had just prior to his passing. She allowed me to stay with him for hours every day, foregoing my duties as a husband and dad and for that I am thankful, that I was able to spend time with him. He wasn't able to speak during that time, but he was awake. I remember looking into his eyes and seeing the pain from not being able to control his body any longer because of the damages of the stroke. I could see also that he was scared and probably knew he would never be the same. He never was the same and his health started to deteriorate fairly quickly. He was forced out of the hospital and into a nursing home where he died a day or two later, with my aunt by his side. Oh how I miss him now.

If I have one thing I am sorry about it is that I never was able to share the gospel with him. As I said, at the time God was working on me and I did talk to him about God and about salvation, but was always to intimidated to go further than I did. Why? I have no idea, but I do know that I would now. I would give him the fullness of the gospel, no holds barred, not withholding any of the greatness of our Savior from his ears. I would make sure that he knew his standing before God and that he needed a Savior to stand as his Advocate. Now, I can't do that. I am left without knowing if my dad was a Christian or not. I do not know if my frail words or anyone else shared with him while he was in the hospital and if he truly trusted in Christ as his only hope for salvation. I pray that he did, in his way, as he lay there without being able to talk or communicate.

God actually uses this situation for His glory. He uses it to show me that everyone needs Christ and that a lot of Christians are intimidated in some way in telling their families about Christ, for whatever reason. I am not here to pass judgment on any of them in any way. This is what fuels me and has given me a stronger love for evangelism, because everyone has someone they love that is not saved. My hope and my prayer is that God uses me to reach the lost of this world in whatever way He sees fit. I may never know, until I reach Heaven, what impact God allowed me to have for the Kingdom.

I close this post with a request to each and every reader. Please talk to your loved ones. Seek God and ask Him to speak through you, without fear, to your family and friends. May the Lord use you in the process of the salvation of your family. Just be faithful and speak up, tell of His goodness, His Grace, His sacrifice, His patience and His love. Also don;t leave out His holiness and His hatred for sin first as they will not realize their need of saving if they do not know their true state before God. Sow the seeds of the gospel and allow God to water them.

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