Encouragement from the Word
"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth"
III John 1:4
Saturday, June 30, 2012
The Note: A Father's Loving Legacy
As I was searching through my jewelry box today for a pair of favorite earrings, I came across a small, faded slip of paper, yellow with age, in the very bottom drawer, partially obscured by several old necklaces and broken pieces of jewelry. My heartbeat quickened as I realized what it was and began to resurrect the poignant memory connected to this tiny, aged treasure .
It was shortly after my 10th birthday and my family and I were at our church for a Sunday night service. We were standing up with hymnals in our hands a few rows back from the front of the church. My mom was to my right and my dad to my left with my brothers a little further down the pew. I remember happily singing the words of the hymn as the piano and organ played along. It was a typical Sunday night in every way.
Suddenly, I began to feel the weight of my dad's body leaning on me. I thought at first that he was trying to get my attention or just playfully teasing me. But, then, his weight was so great on my shoulders and side that I almost fell down. Before I knew it, he had fallen to the ground between the pews. The singing stopped and people rushed to my dad's side. I was quickly pushed away as friends from the congregation attempted to assess the situation and lay my dad out on the floor to better attend to him
I was confused, shaking and terrified, wondering if I would ever see my dad again. I ran to the hallway and into the bathroom, sobbing quietly and praying that God would let my Dad live. Soon, a lady friend of my Mom's came and found me in the bathroom. Taking my hand in hers, she led me out to her car. She had gathered my brothers, as well, and came to stay with us at our house for the night.
My father was taken to the hospital for tests to determine what had been the cause of the sudden and severe chest pains he had experienced that evening. Of course, I did not sleep much that night and remember waking up crying several times, wondering if my dad was going to be all right.
The next morning, my mom returned and told us that Dad would have to stay in the hospital for a few days until the doctors could find out what was wrong with him. I was devastated. Nothing like this had happened in our family before and my dad had never been gone from our home overnight that I could remember.
After Mom placed her purse on the table, she reached into her coat pocket and pulled out a little note that had been folded in half and then in half again. As she opened it, I noticed the handwriting and knew it had been penned by my dad. My mom handed the note to me and I began to read:
How is my sweetest little girl in all the world? Be good in school and how about being in charge of our morning Bible reading? I would like you to do it until I get home.
Of course, I cried when I read the note, but then got right to the task of planning the morning devotional as my dad had asked. I was so proud that he had chosen me for this important task.
In one simple, handwritten note, my dad had shown me the love, trust and respect that he had for me, his only daughter. He made me feel like the princess of the kingdom by trusting me with what I saw as a royal duty. Not only did he make me feel like the most important girl in the world...he also showed me the importance and priority of spiritual matters in our home. All in one small, handwritten note. A note I have saved for nearly 40 years. A note I could never bring myself to throw away. A note that has traveled from home to home and from one jewelry box to another. A note that I have treasured more than diamonds.
They eventually determined that whatever had occured, it was not my dad's heart. He was given a clean bill of health and returned home a week or so later. I was so glad to see him again and exuberantly reported that I had been faithful to the task of leading our family devotions.
My dad went on to live a long and productive life, serving the Lord faithfully until he died of cancer at the age of 80. I continued to benefit from his unconditional love, his support and his encouragement for as long as he lived.
Dads...it's the little things that mean a lot to your children. It's the pat on the back, the gesture of faith and trust, letting them know they are important to the family and most of all, modeling for them the unconditional love of our heavenly father. You never know what small bit of encouragement or gesture of confidence will impact your child for the rest of their life.