Sunday, June 21, 2015

the day my father smiled

Today... especially today on Father's Day, I am always reminded of the day my father died. Now, you are probably thinking, "Oh great - this is going to be a blog full of bummers."

On the contrary... it may sound crazy, but my Father in Heaven gave me the greatest gift when my father on earth passed into glory many years ago.

As some of you already know, my father was diagnosed very early in his life with juvenile diabetes. By the time he married my mother, he was required to take an insulin shot every morning. By the time I was a little girl, he had lost both of his eyes to blindness. Years after that, his body ultimately began to break down, his kidneys and heart began to fail him, and he passed on to be with Jesus when I was a young pre-teen. Now, it may sound silly, but the day my dad died was one of the greatest and most rewarding days of my life spiritually. Let me share with you why...

My brother and I had spent that day with family members because Momba (my mother) was at the hospital by daddy's side. It was not unusual since we had grown accustom to my father being in the hospital for one reason or another. His health was just not good. So, after a day of hanging out with older cousins, we headed to the hospital to reunite with my mother. When I got there, the room was filled to capacity with family members. I remember realizing at that very moment that daddy was gone.

As I surveyed the room in what seemed like slow motion, I looked at the sad faces of those I held most dear.... my mom, brother, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. I was about to burst into tears, when an overwhelming thought came over me. "Vicki, your mother just lost her husband. Your grandparents just lost their only son. Your brother just lost his father. Your aunt just lost her brother... etc." Immediately, I felt compelled to start comforting everyone in the room. I'm not sure if it was the healthiest response. But at the time, all I could think of was how I would have time to grieve in the days to come, but my family needed my love NOW. (Especially my older brother who it seemed to hit the hardest.)

The day was filled with tears and family members uniting together. My mother was incredibly vulnerable yet incredibly filled with the strength of the Holy Spirit while we walked to the lobby with the last remaining visitor. Then, for whatever reason, Momba said to my brother and I, "Let's run up the stairs and try and see daddy one more time before the coroner takes him away." With that, the three of us, like little children, ran up several flights of stairs to be alone with my father's body one last time.

When we reached my father's room, his body was still in the bed. My mother, brother and I walked over to kiss him for the last time. I remember thinking, here was a man who suffered physically the entire time I knew him. He endured horrible pain every single day. He gave up his sight. He lost all control of his organs. He had more burdens placed upon him than anyone I'd ever known. Here was a father who never complained about his physical issues, but rather used them to teach his children about God's grace and ultimately became an advocate for others suffering from the same ailments. Here was a man who made blindness tolerable and taught others with the same disability how to keep Christ first in their life. Here was a husband who had an uphill battle from the beginning... and many questioned if he and Momba should even have married to begin with because they would have very few "normal" years to enjoy. But they did, and the Lord blessed them with family and short but precious time together that transcended all things normal - bringing God personally to their home as they lived together trusting Him each day. I would not be alive today without the faithful walk of my father. There would be no family legacy from his life had he listened to all those who did not believe in God's grace and plan.

While the three of us entered into the hospital room, my mother, brother and I prepared ourselves for the worst... we knew his body would appear lifeless and defeated. It had endured so much. Now, daddy's life on earth was over. Yet... as we approached him, we were surprised to find the body of a man who had a smile... yes, a SMILE on his face. A smile that was not there only moments before when we were in the room with the whole family. A smile that confirmed so much spiritually.

When we saw my father for the last time, we instantly knew that his hospital room was FILLED TO CAPACITY with angels rejoicing and welcoming him HOME! We knew that he would never feel pain again. We knew that the first face he saw after years living without sight was JESUS precious face! We knew that the only organs he would every need to think about again, would be the kind playing worship hymns to his faithful Savior! We knew he no longer had any burdens! Praise the most Holy Lord of Lords - my father was smiling!!! What a memory to leave with your children. What confirmation to leave with your spouse. Even through death God has a plan to open doors to those who believe in Him. If ever my father... my Father... wished to offer us a LIVING lesson displaying the secure certainty of eternal salvation with Jesus... in this last moment - there it was. A smile. Thank you, Lord.

Throughout my own life, I have been faced with countless blessings and trials. However, no matter how difficult things have been, the Holy Spirit frequently reminds me of the day my father smiled. As the years continue to pass, I'm comforted to know that my daddy is still smiling with Jesus in heaven. He is free, healthy and at his happiest. I know that he is there celebrating with the angels each time those same family members who visited his hospital bed arrive into glory... my grandfather and grandmother (his earthly parents), my aunts, uncles, etc. As I type this with tears of joy, I know he will be there when I leave this world. I know he will be one of those rejoicing the loudest when I too see my Savior for the first time.

Blessed be the Name of our generous Father in Heaven. He is so real, ladies. He is so wonderful. Do not let this world of sin and especially death turn your eyes away from His grace. Instead, rejoice with me and SEE HIS GLORY. The best... the very best of our Redeemer is only a breath away. Time will pass, but His kingdom comes... His will is being done! Live each day remembering that! Amen!

"I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die." (John 11:25-26)

Thank you, Jesus.

Blessings!

~Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

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