It has been nine years since God decided to move you from planet earth to your heavenly home, and not a day goes by that I don’t thank God for you!! I’m so glad you were a photographer and left me with so many amazing pictures…some in albums, so many still in boxes… Ugh! But even more than the tangible pictures, you left life-changing pictures of God and what He looks like! I will be ever grateful to Him for the gift you were and still are to me. So it’s Father’s Day, and I wanted to share a special album with you, Dad… This one took a little longer to develop…it took time!
You see, I never realized how good I had it when I was young. Though you were warm and affectionate, you never laid an inappropriate hand on me. Your love for me was pure, caring and gentle. When I long for your arms, I find myself running to my Heavenly Father like never before…and it is the picture you gave me of those loving comforting arms that helps God’s amazing love to be more tangible to me!
He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust; His truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Psalm 91:4
So many pictures… I think of the love in your eyes every time you looked at me, how you laughed and how entertained you were by my silly dances and antics! Oh, and how we would dance together in stocking feet, with my feet on yours, and we’d laugh together!! I would look up at you into your big green eyes, and all I would see is you looking down at me with tenderness, love and joy!! And now, well now…I’m so sure my Heavenly Father laughs with me, sometimes joyfully at me, and oh, how we dance…together!!!
Yes, so many pictures… You were such a faithful provider for our family and you arrived home from work everyday at the exact same time. What a picture of the Lord’s provision and faithfulness! And realistically, I do remember your human limitations… you could fix ‘almost’ anything! So, since you are with Him now, I guess it’s OK to tell you, He beat you big-time on this one because HE can fix EVERYTHING!
This picture took a little more time to develop… As a kid, life did not always go the way I wanted it to, nor does it now. But you helped me with that as well by not always giving in and letting me have my own way. I was never happy at the time. My Heavenly Father is much the same, answering my requests and fixing things His way, in His time…which is always better than my way and time! I’m sure I never showed the least bit of appreciation as a kid, but I certainly do appreciate it now, so THANK YOU!!!
The most important picture… Though we always had enough, we were not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination. But you gave me something far better than anything money could buy… You gave me your presence! I remember one particular night when Mom was away at a baby shower and you were babysitting David and me. As you recall, my big brother was one to put himself to bed early. I, however, was a night owl and you let me stay up for a bit. After I had finally fallen asleep, probably in your arms, you set me on the couch in the living room. Thinking I’d be fine, you went down to the basement with Uncle George to develop pictures in your darkroom.
I don’t know if you knew this, but that corner of the basement where your darkroom was…well to me, that was the most horrifyingly scary and foreboding place on the entire planet. I never ventured down there alone because I knew some creepy, unworldly creature loomed behind that old broken down coal furnace that was right next to your darkroom! Plus, your darkroom was… well… DARK!
You may recall, I had an awful nightmare that night…the worst EVER! An elf with a pointed hat was doing summersaults on the living room carpet, laughing wickedly over and over again. I just knew he was out to get me! I woke up sobbing and more than petrified! Uncle George must have come up from the basement for some coffee or something because he was the one who heard me. He swept me up in his arms, comforted me and carried me down to the basement… Yes, to that scary, foreboding corner…to your DARK room! <Insert your own horror movie sound effects!>
Uncle George tapped on the darkroom door, you told him when it was safe to come in…as to not damage the developing process as I learned later. [Oh, how you would love digital photography!] He gently placed me in your strong, loving arms and you simply held me like you always did in the living room! Just being in your arms transformed that foreboding corner into the safest, most secure place in the entire world… All because you were there. You!
What a blessing that was to me and still is…because I came to know your heartbeat as I sat on your lap everyday in the living room, and I recognized it in the darkroom. The heartbeat of my faithful, loving father beat exactly the same in both places. I don’t even remember what happened after that. I just rested in your arms, probably fell asleep, and you carried me up to my bed where I slept peacefully for the rest of the night. You gave me peace.
Since you are with Jesus now, I am sure you know what a blessing that was to the little girl I was and the woman I am today. I have come to realize that life has many living room times and some darkroom times as well, and I need to sit on my Heavenly Father’s lap in the living room of everyday life…reading His Word, meditating upon it, talking to Him in prayer, and listening to His voice…building relationship…every day!
I need this for so many reasons! First, because He desires a relationship with me so much that He did all He could to make it so. He paid such a high price when He sent His only begotten Son to be a sacrifice for my sins! Like you, He has always given first and it cost Him everything important to Him.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16
Second, because though life is filled with many living room days, there are always going to be nightmares and darkroom moments. So as I learn His presence, His strength and His heartbeat in the living room of everyday life, it prepares me to recognize His heartbeat during those darkroom times. The heartbeat of my faithful, loving Heavenly Father beats exactly the same in both places. And I can rest in His loving arms, knowing that He will carry me back up to the living room again and again…in perfect peace!
And one final picture, Dad… You always came home. You were faithful to your marriage vows, to Mom, and to David and me. You never left…not for a bigger dream or a younger woman. And after we grew up and had families of our own, you were a faithful, loving father-in-law and grandfather…So much so that my husband felt he lost a dad when we lost you, and our sons still say you were the best grandfather ever! Steadfast faithfulness, every child and adult needs that in their lives. Such a picture of our Heavenly Father who said…
Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you. Hebrews 13:5
Though you had to leave us, Dad, thank you for the pictures…not just the ones you developed in the darkroom, but the ones you developed in my heart, the priceless pictures of my Heavenly Father who will never leave me or forsake me! I’m so thankful you are with Him and we will see each other again…for He will be with all of us even until the very end of the age. That is forever!
The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” Jeremiah 31:3
So Dad, Happy Father’s Day! I miss you more than words can ever say, but I am so grateful for the ‘pictures’ and the love-gift you were to me and all who read this letter.
I love you forever,
Your grateful daughter
Notes from the author:
I hope this letter helps you see that your simple devotion to your family is priceless. It’s not how much money you make or how many toys you buy, but who you are and how you live and love that really matters. Your sons will learn what kind of man to be and your daughters will learn what kind of man to marry. Children need a dad…and there is nothing you can give them that is more valuable than YOU. So if you ever feel you don’t make enough or work hard enough, just remember, YOU are enough. YOU are all they truly need. They will be blessed to have you!!!
Dear Daughters and Sons,
If you did not have a dad like mine… first, I am so sorry for that because every child deserves a loving father. But second, my sincere heart’s desire is that my story will somehow give you some tangible pictures that will help you know more fully how much your Heavenly Father truly does love you. Even though I had such a sweet and loving human daddy, I have learned since his passing that my Heavenly Father is a way better Dad than my dad ever was. He loves you with an everlasting love! You are worthy of His love and He sacrificed His only Son to tell you so! HE LOVES YOU!
And if you DID have a dad like mine, I hope you will share some of your stories as well because we can all use more ‘pictures’ of GOD!
God bless you all and Happy Father’s Day!
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Psalm 91:4, John 3:16 King James Version (KJV) Crown Copyright in UK
Hebrews 13:5, Jeremiah 31:3 © 2011-2016 BIBLICA. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED WORLDWIDE
©Celebrate His Love, 2017