On this Father’s Day, I have fond memories of my own Dad. He was truly a man of integrity who loved the Lord Jesus with all his heart. One thing that stands out in my mind when I think of Daddy was seeing him lay across the bed reading his Bible, every day. My Dad lived a short life but I believe he lived a full life in Christ. He was called home at age 45 with a massive heart attack. In the short time he had on this earth, he set an example in his actions and deeds that forever changed me.
Dad used to drive our church bus when I was about 8 or 9. It was an old ugly snot-green color that could be spotted and heard a mile away as it rattled and bounced down the road. Sometimes I would get up early on cold Sunday mornings and ride with him. We made the rounds all over our small town picking up the elderly women and children whose parents didn’t bring them to church.
My Daddy also owned a gas station and later, a taxicab company which he ran out of the station. I used to be so embarrassed when he’d pick me up from school in the big yellow checker cab! He would just laugh and honk the horn so everybody would notice us. He loved it! :)
Dad had a wonderful sense of humor and was always teasing and joyful. Children loved him and he loved them too. He was always the one giving all the kids a ride on his shoulders at family reunions or church get-togethers. He was like a big kid himself. He enjoyed life and didn’t care what anybody thought of him.
Life was not always kind to my Dad and at times I saw him discouraged. I saw him work 12 – 18 hours a day and barely make ends meet. I saw him broken before God when his marriage to my Mother dissolved in divorce. He was not ashamed to let his feelings show. Dad could also be a very stern and hard man when someone crossed him or his family unjustly. He passionately loved us. But the most important thing about my Dad was that he loved Jesus. That is the legacy he left me ~ to love Jesus.
My Dad was not a learned man, he never finished high school – but he was a very wise man in the ways that really matter. He knew God. He knew that all things in this life are temporary. Eternity is forever and that’s what matters. I believe my Dad devoted his life to pleasing his heavenly Father. He wasn’t perfect, he was human and he sinned, but he always knew that Jesus was his source of Life. He knew that in Jesus, there was healing and forgiveness.
As a young girl, my Daddy was my hero. I always felt safe and protected in his arms. He was strong…..yet tender and I respected him immensely. As a child, more than anything I wanted my Dad to be proud of me. But later in life, I think I failed in that area. Now, some of my greatest regrets are the disappointments I caused my Dad during my teenage years. I was 17 when Daddy died suddenly and I never got to say; “I’m sorry” for the things I did or said to hurt you. I know he forgave me, but I wish I had apologized when I had the chance.
It took me a very long time to come back to God. Had it not been for the example my Dad left, I might have never come back at all. Daddy lived the verse “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
I sometimes wonder what Daddy is doing up in heaven. I hope that God allows our loved ones to see what’s going on down here. I think maybe He does, as sort of their reward, you know? To let them see what an impact they have made on others. Sometimes I can almost feel Jesus with my Daddy standing out over the portals of heaven and looking down and I pray…..that I am making both of them proud of me.
Read more articles by Julia May or search for articles on the same topic or others.