My Dad. He was a tough man, sometimes very tough on us kids. He was a perfectionist but not perfect. Perfectionists never are and this failure to “measure up” frustrates them which often overflows in anger. This I know. That anger is rooted in fear of never being “enough.”
My dad’s own upbringing was pretty rough and he wanted better for his kids than what he’d experienced, so when we screwed up, and he blew up, it was because he was afraid that we would settle for less than the best. No matter what, we all knew that he loved us deeply.
Welcome to FREEDOM FRIDAY – A devotional, emotional, spiritual and sometimes hysterical series that I will be sharing on occasional Fridays, in addition to my regular Old Things New posts. Why? Because though once bound in chains Christ has set me free – FREE to live, to love, to dance, to sing, to be who God created me to be!
Late in life the tough dad became the soft-hearted dad. Mesothelioma, the result of years in the construction field working with asbestos, tried to claim his life. It did in fact claim the lives of every single friend and co-worker that received the same diagnosis. My dad though . . . he had a praying wife . . . and praying friends.
Surgery, chemo, loss of hair, skin and bones, we entered church that day and sat to listen to the speaker. I don’t recall what the message was about but I do remember afterwards standing in the church foyer, waiting in line with all the others to shake the hand of the guest preacher. I was probably anxious to get out of there because in my late teens church was the most boring place I could spend one of my precious weekend days.
This day. It was different. When my dad’s turn came to shake this preacher’s hand the man asked him the simple question, “Can I pray for your healing?”
Now my dad had received lots of prayers before and during surgery and chemo but this was different. I wasn’t raised in a charismatic church so it wasn’t the norm for me to see hand-laying healing prayers. My dad was ready.
The Preacher prayed. My Father received what was offered. The Heaven’s shifted. My dad walked away from church that day believing that he was completely healed of cancer.
From that time forward my dad grew stronger. He eventually returned to a healthy weight, his hair grew back black, not the gray color it had been prior to the cancer. After a couple of years he became so much stronger that he and my mom bought a mini farm where they tended a large garden and raised beef for the family. There he also took up woodworking in his little shop out back and learned to build beautiful furniture from sticks of wood.
My dad’s harsh heart became soft like a child’s after this very personal encounter with God. Jesus’ touch that healed his body also healed the wounded places of his heart and for that he was forever grateful. He had such a special relationship with his Lord in fact, that he would stand at his workbench praying and blow kisses to Jesus. I believe that in working with wood my dad identified with Jesus the carpenter and that seeing a block of wood transformed into a beautiful creation reminded him of what Jesus had done in his own life.
After that time, I never saw my dad sit through church without tears spilling from his eyes and down onto his cheeks. He was forever grateful that God had restored the wasted years of his life and Joel 2:25 became one of his favorite verses of Scripture. He lived fifteen more years and saw the birth of all of his grandchildren. He loved his family with a passion and prayed that all would understand the transforming power of Jesus in their lives. It wasn’t about following rules, or being good. It was ALL about a personal, kiss-blowing relationship with the Creator. Experiencing firsthand His healing power then loving Him because He first loved us.
My dad’s relationship with Jesus and the fullness of his life after his healing is the greatest legacy he could have bestowed upon his family. Now as I work with my hands, just like my father, making broken things beautiful, I have decided that I will take up my dad’s torch. As I see transformation taking place beneath my hands I too will lift my fingers to my mouth, stretch my hands toward the Heavens, and blow kisses of gratefulness toward the Redeemer of my soul.
Lord, thank You for the life changing transformation I was allowed to witness in my earthly Father. Thank you that his and my mom’s prayers were answered as you also redeemed, set free and delivered me. Thank you that you are at work in the hearts of all my father’s children, grands, and great grands, to bring them to a place of KNOWING you in the deepest places of their hearts.
“Our children will serve Him; future generations will hear the story of how God rescued us.” Ps. 22:30 The Voice
“The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Yes, I have a good inheritance.” Ps. 16:6 NKJV
Happy Father’s Day dad,
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