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Daughter of the King - born from above in 1989.

Deborah grew up in a military family and moved to Florida in the early 1970's.  She began her journey of creative writing soon after coming to know Jesus as her personal Savior. Her primary goal is to share her personal testimony with others while bringing hope and practical help through her writing.

Monday, March 24, 2014

God's Amazing Love

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This is the last in my series  Elder Care – My Dad’s Journey.  If you missed my previous posts you can visit them here: 

Since my post in February, my Dad passed away after a lengthy battle with colon cancer.  He died peacefully in early March on a Sunday night with his wife and two daughters by his side.

Dad’s funeral memorialized his service to his country and his community.  He was a retired US Naval officer (pilot) and a retired high school math teacher.  He volunteered with several local charities and encouraged many in his day to day activities.

I shared some personal memories during his service including the following:

I am the firstborn of two daughters. Dad made a great choice…we’re both excellent cooks!

Our Dad was the kind of guy who went out of his way to play with us, read to us, and just act“silly” with us. We watched Mighty Mouse together, marched around the living room to“Sing Along with Mitch”, and never missed an episode of Lassie on Sunday nights.

Dad taught us to throw a ball, ride a bike, make a fort and drive a car. His greatest gift to us was his time. He always DID things with us.

Later on when we were teenagers – he had immense patience. These were the days of hang-ten T-shirts, sun-in hair lightener, and camera flash-cubes. The “70’s” brought platform shoes, bell-bottoms, and mini-skirts, though I was not allowed to wear them. We enjoyed an adventurous life as kids of a naval officer, and learned to make friends easily.

Dad gave us great advice, though we didn’t always heed it. He always expressed his love for us and helped to foster our healthy sense of self-worth and self-esteem.

He was delighted to welcome into this world his only grandson and has always enjoyed their time together.  He was a “hands on” kind of Grandpa – often playing outside, or helping him with a project, reading a book together, or just goofing around.

Dad lived a full life and enjoyed traveling while in the Navy, helping his students at Orange Park High grasp otherwise difficult math concepts, and volunteered with various local organizations when retired.

Over the years our relationship went through a metamorphosis of sorts. I put a strain on it when I left home in the early 1970’s to marry my first husband.  I was 17 years old and he was 21. It ended in divorce four years later.  Dad was never pleased with my decision, but he and my mother supported me nonetheless.  Later on he and I patched up the rift.  After my marriage to my current husband, things improved greatly between us. My husband and I recently celebrated 32 years of marriage this past January.  Dad always loved him and said he could not have chosen a better son-in-law himself.

A few years ago, while walking his two little dogs in their neighborhood, we began a conversation centered on his childhood and going to church.  His parents belonged to a certain denomination and had a falling-out with their church, which caused them to leave.  He never attended church again until he married my mom.  He was never a particularly religious person and was not involved in a local church.

Right then and there I shared my faith journey with him and told him, “Dad, it’s not about religion, or denomination, or even a one-time experience… it’s about a relationship with The Living God, your Creator, the lover of your soul.”

I related that story to the crowd at his funeral and asked those in attendance to let me know if they wanted to know more about have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I had given my life and heart to Jesus at the age of 33.  I wanted to honor God in that moment by extending an invitation to the many family and friends at his service.

“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)

Eleventh-hour conversions are not uncommon. You hear them on the battle field or perhaps after a horrific accident. In Luke 23:39-43 our Lord and two criminals had been nailed to their crosses. Jesus welcomed a repentant sinner into heaven right before he died. One of the thieves, recognizing that he was a sinner – rightly condemned for his crimes, rebuked the other thief and proclaimed Jesus’ innocence. When he asked to be remembered in His future kingdom, Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”

The morning before my Dad died I had the honor and privilege of spending time alone with him. My mother and sister were unable to come until later that afternoon. I knew time was short.  His breathing had changed.- it was shallow and a bit labored.  His eyes were unresponsive.  I held his hand and told him I loved him.  I relayed to him that my sister and I would take good care of my Mom. I squeezed his hand several times and stroked his brow – but he did not respond. 

I had been watching the TV in his room and switched channels to the Sunday morning church program In Touch with Dr. Charles F Stanley. It is one of my favorite shows. Dad and I listed to his message (although he didn't acknowledge it) and at the end Dr. Stanley had a very poignant invitation to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  

My prayer is that my Dad did make peace with God in the quiet of his heart and the moments before he took his last breath on this earth.

I trust God has been pleased with my attitude, actions and words while I cared for my Dad. He spent many days in the hospital prior to his final stay at the adjacent nursing home facility.  I knew the nurses and attendants on both the morning and the evening shifts by name.  They were wonderful, compassionate caregivers, and they treated him with such dignity and love.

God bless you Dad… you will be greatly missed.

I implore you, don't leave earth without being certain of your salvation. If you are in doubt - please read my post It's Not About Religion - It's About Relationship

My chains are gone, I’ve been set free
My God my Savior has ransomed me,
And like a flood, His mercy reigns
Unending love, amazing Grace

Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone) - by Chris Tomlin 

Deborah is the author of a Christian non-fiction book titled “Mission Possible”. It is written for women who love the Lord Jesus, but their spouse doesn’t share their passion.  It will encourage and challenge the reader to embrace God’s promises for their spouse and future together. 

If you have been encouraged by this post - please take time to share it with others.


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