It will be two weeks tomorrow that I got the call about my dad. I’ll never forget it. I was at the park in Minnesota with Rebecca, Taylor, Avery, and Tucker. Rebecca and I were pushing the kids on the swings when my phone rang. It was my sister and I knew from the second she started talking that something was wrong. She had come home from a friends house that Saturday (August 10th) around lunch time to see my dad lying on the drive way. I know the vision of him lying there will be with her forever and I just pray for God’s peace over that memory. She called me after the paramedics arrived and all we could do was pray together. I paced the park, holding Tucker, and prayed out loud for my dad, my sister, my mom, my brother, the whole situation. I called David and he gathered the girls together to tell them that Granddad was very sick and they needed to stop to pray. Rebecca even prayed out loud over me as we waited and that is a precious memory to me.
The paramedics worked on him for 30 minutes. My mom made it home from work shortly before they called his passing. My mom said that by the time they called it, my dad had regained full color because all the work they were doing to get his heart beating again. His skin was soft and warm, his hair was blowing in the wind, and he looked peaceful as the sun beamed down on him. It was a surreal moment to hear that he had gone on to be with the Lord. And to be quite honest, it’s still surreal to me after two weeks.
My neighbor saw him around 11:30 that morning as she left to walk her dog. She said that he was sitting in the chair outside on the drive way taking a break from yard work. She waved to him and he waved back. When she returned from her walk, she didn’t see him sitting there, but didn’t notice anything else. I assume he had fallen onto the driveway from the chair. They say it was a heart attack, at age 55. We spent most of the week with my family last week and every time I walked by the chairs on the drive way, I would just stop and wonder how the event must have taken place and thought about my dad just lying there. I even sat down in the chair I imagine him sitting in before he breathed his last breath.
Here one minute, gone the next. I guess that’s how it is for everyone. But it’s just always so unexpected. The week leading up to my dad’s death, God really laid on my heart for me to pray for him. Our church had begun something they do every January and August called 21 days of prayer. I made a notecard with his name on it (along with 4 others) to pray for each day. My prayers for each person were that the Father would draw them near Jesus (John 6:44), against the spirit that would blind their mind from the truth (2 Cor. 4:4), they would come to know Jesus relationally and deepen relationships with him (Rom 8:15), for believers to cross their paths and enter into positive relationships with them (Matt 9:38), and for a revelation of who Jesus is and what he has done for them (Eph 1:17). God answered every single prayer for my dad that week. Two days before his death he spent all day Thursday and Friday at church. He volunteered at the Leadership Summit and I know that in those two days alone, he was drawn closer to Jesus, his mind was opened to the boldness of Christ, he experienced God, he formed relationships with other believers, and he most definitely had a revelation of who Jesus is when he got to stand before the throne on August 10th. I may not have planned for my prayers to be answered through death, but death doesn’t get to win. Jesus is victorious over the grave and my dad is standing at the foot of the throne, rejoicing! He is free from this world – free from seizures, stress, smoking, job lay offs, debt, worry, heart disease, etc! Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom and my dad is free! He isn’t sad he is gone. He is happier than he could ever be and that brings so much peace.
I was thinking the other day about people who lose loved ones who aren’t sure of their salvation. That has got to be so scary. I couldn’t imagine sitting at my dads memorial service not knowing if he was with the Lord or not. It is such my prayer that through this tragedy, people who don’t know the Lord would come to know Him. He is so, so good and He longs for his people to have a relationship with him.
Speaking of my dad’s memorial service – it was beautiful! We opened with everyone standing on their feet to worship the Lord. Why? Because the Lord is good and triumphs over death! We stood and sang “Whom Shall I fear (Angel Armies)” by Chris Tomlin. It starts with these words: “You hear me when I call, You are my morning song. Though darkness fills the night, You cannot hide the light. Whom shall I fear? You crush the enemy underneath my feet. You are my sword and shield, Though troubles linger still. Whom shall I fear” I just love that song! Pastor Matthew spoke some beautiful words about my dad and about just being bold for Christ. My sister and I said a few words and David read a devotion out of the The Jesus Calling that my mom picked up and read on the day of my dad’s passing. It said:
“Relax in my healing, holy presence. Allow me to transform you through this time alone with me. As your thoughts center more and more on Me, trust displaces fear and worry. Your mind is somewhat like a seesaw. As your trust in me goes up, fear and worry go down. Time spent with me not only increases your trust; it also helps you discern what is important and what is not. Energy and time are precious, limited entities. Therefore, you need to use them wisely, focusing on what is truly important. As you walk close to me, saturating your mind with Scripture, I will show you how to spend your time and energy. My word is a lamp until your feet; my presence is a light for your path.”
Wow! I love when God speaks! Dave also read the devotion from the 14th, which was the day of his memorial service. That was spot on too! Pastor Matthew said a few more words and we stood to worship one more time as we sang “10,000 Reasons” by Matt Redman. I love when it says, “And on that day when my strength is failing, the end draws near and my time has come, still my soul will sing your praise unending, 10,000 years and then forever more!” What truth! That is Cori’s favorite worship song and now we can think of my dad every time we hear it.
In the midst of sadness that my sweet daddy is gone, there is so much peace. Peace that can only come from the Lord. Thank you, Lord! I am sad that my kids won’t get to know their granddad. Sad that I won’t get to grow old with him. Sad that I won’t get to physically see him, hug him, and be in his presence. But all of those things are only for a while. 1,000 years is a day and a day is 1,000 years – 2 Peter 3:8. I will get to see my daddy again before I know it and my kids will have a grand time with him running around in Heaven. It doesn’t make the sorrow go away completely, but it definitely gives us all something to look forward to.
As I went to bed the night my dad passed, I asked the Lord to give me a clear vision of my dad in Heaven. I just needed to see it. As I looked up at the ceiling I could see my dads face, more beautiful than ever before. He was smiling and there were beautiful rainbow like rays shining behind him. It was glorious and something I’ll never forget. If you draw near to God, he promises to draw near to you. James 4:8. I pray that people are touched and moved to draw near the Lord because of my dad’s story. Even if one life is changed, it was worth the tears I shed.
I love you dad and I miss you so much. But, I’ll see you again soon.