Honoring Three Very Special Men on Father’s Day

My husband Jerry, with Dane and Baby Kelsey 21 years ago

I praise the Lord for giving me a Godly husband, who is a wonderful father to our two children.  He is Mr. Steady personified.  He is a faithful provider, a responsible husband and father, a protector of our family (spiritually and physically); and he takes his role as shepherd and “priest” very seriously as he intercedes for us and leads us in our study of the Word of God.  I’m sure he would die for any or all of us, if needed.  Thank you, Jerry, for being a great husband and dad.

Grandpa T, 5 months before he died, with his grandson and 2 daughters, on my sister’s birthday

My own dad passed away almost 21 years ago, 8 days before I gave birth to his second grandchild, Kelsey.  He is still very close to my heart. He was a very special man. With a strong personality, a strong temper (which mellowed in later years), a strong voice and big laugh, strong opinions, strong dislikes and strong likes, well, you get the picture…we had our run-ins when I was growing up.  As he mellowed, and I matured, I realized many of our run-ins were because he loved me so much, and I was going the wrong way.  Once I began walking in a wiser way (I became a Christian), and lived a responsible lifestyle, we stopped clashing.  I came to respect, love and appreciate him more and more as I grew older.

My dad was really something.  For one thing, he didn’t do anything halfway.  He was not just “frugal,” well, there’s no word for what he was. He came out of the Depression, and he was about number 6 (you kind of lose track with that many kids) of 21 children born to his father (his dad was widowed twice, and married 3 times).  My dad went to the nth degree to get a bargain, and had fantastically funny stories to tell about it.  He never was able to finish school, so he “educated” himself, learning a new word every week from the dictionary, and using it in his everyday speech.  He had an enormously large vocabulary.  He loved words and talking.  Maybe a little too much. Did I say how much I am like him?  I grew up thinking that I was nothing like him, and thought that was why we didn’t get along sometimes.  When I grew up, I realized I was just like him, and that’s why we didn’t get along sometimes. He really mellowed and softened as he grew older.

We developed a wonderful relationship in the last years of his life.  He was my biggest encourager, supporter, and cheerleader.  He would listen to my problems–really listen.  He was never too busy. I treasured his love.  He showed me he really cared.  And oh my, did he enjoy being a grandpa. He was outstanding at it.  Though he only had 3 years and 8 months to exhibit this wonderful trait and with only one grandchild, he poured himself into the role!  He and my mom watched their grandson 2 days a week while I volunteered for 9 months near where they lived. I am so grateful for those days with him, not knowing they were some of his last.  His greatest joy in life was his “little guy”, what he called our son, Dane. The last months before he died, I was pregnant with our daughter, Kelsey, and he kept on talking about the baby, referring to “her”!  I finally suggested that it might turn out to be a boy, and I hoped that he would be able to love the baby if it was a boy. He continued to call her “her”. I think the Lord must have given him a secret knowledge and love for her, knowing that he would never get to meet her, because he was extra tender and concerned for me during that pregnancy, and he was right, she was a girl.

My dad really enjoyed laughing, and you could hear his deep, booming laugh anywhere. He had a great sense of humor, and was always telling jokes. He loved to call small children, “George” (both boys and girls), to which they would answer, “I’m not George!”  He was so beloved in his neighborhood by all the children, that when he was in his 70’s, children would come to the door, and when my mom would answer, they would ask if Ken could “come out and play.”  He was a warm, loving man who could not resist putting his arm around your shoulder in a big hug, to show that he liked you, and it didn’t matter that he had just met you.  He adored my mom, and one of my favorite photos is of my folks sitting on the sofa, sideways hugging each other very tightly! with huge beaming smiles all over their faces.  He told us very often what a wonderful mother we had and said how much he loved her.  Daddy was wonderful, and he is greatly missed.

  Grandparents with Kelsey at her Graduation Open House 2007

I am blessed to have a Godly father-in-law, still with us, and who has been visiting us this past week.  This is the third time he’s come to stay with us since my mother-in-law (in blue on the right in the photo above) passed away last year on the 4th of July.  Each time he comes to stay with us, it is such a blessing.  It’s hard to describe, but being around him gives me a bigger concept and faith in God.  Listening to him share “his life” with us during Home Church this morning, I was struck with the fact that:  my father-in-law’s God has been so faithful to him, that I can trust Him, too, more than I do.  My father-in-law is not a complicated man. He’s patient, gentle, kind, and loyal.  He’s merciful, wise, generous, and persevering. But he’s also a man whose prayers will bring tears to your eyes, and who will get teary pretty easily, himself.  He is not afraid to talk about his Lord and Savior and what He’s done for him, especially saving him. He said this morning that though he didn’t think he ever really knew what it was to be in sin, (having been raised by Godly parents, who were raised by Godly parents), he had dedicated his life to serving the Lord at the age of 17. The next day he took as his life verse Ephesians 3:20:

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above
all that we ask or think,
according to the power that worketh in us.”

“I grew up the grandson of a preacher, and thought it would be fine to follow in his steps, but never got the call,” he stated simply in his testimony this morning. But he served the Lord every day, nevertheless.  During our testimony time in church, he gave simple expression to his heart of thankfulness to the Lord for saving him, and gratefulness ‘cuz “He’s been faithful to me through all the years.”  Then he ended his testimony by saying to all of us that he wished that we’d be able to say the same at the end of our lives.
I hope you all had a wonderful Father’s Day, and were able to honor the fathers in your life in some way.

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