Growing up, my Father was the epitome of strength, softness, provider, caretaker, comedian, communicator, and decision maker. He and my mother are the perfect example of give and take, perfect compilations of traits that compliment each other to a tee. Mom is so sweet and caring and the most beautiful woman I know. She has been a wonderful caregiver to us kids growing up and my Dad after each of his surgeries. Celebrating 42 years of marriage this August, it’s safe to say their example of a Christian marriage had been in spotlight to me as I’ve grown!
My Dad has degenerative disc disease. He has had an extensive medical history of surgeries on his back, vertebra, and knees.
I remember the first time I realized the fragility of life. When I was 13, my Dad was sent home from the hospital emergency room with pneumonia because they had no room for him. I remember going to bed that night afraid to fall asleep because when I woke up, I thought he might be gone. Thankfully, he survived that long night and returned to ICU where he recovered fully after a couple of weeks.
To say my Dad has felt physical pain in his life is an understatement but he has always been strong and worked a ton so that he could help provide for us.
This past May, my Dad had another knee surgery. After returning home, he began acting very different. In protection of his privacy I won’t go into specifics, but he displayed confused and repetitive speech. After calling 911, he was taken to the hospital, for four days to recover.
Those four days were very exhausting and scary for me and my family. My Dad, who has always been a rock for us even while suffering in his own body, was not able to completely rationalize and communicate with us. It was up to us children and my Mom to speak on his behalf while making sure that the physicians would test everything possible to find the “Why” to the incident.
I must say how very, very thankful I am for the medical community, our family and friends that helped with hospital transitioning, and his home program for care! I am thankful for his continued healing as well. Working in the medical field myself, I was equipped with the knowledge of what to expect, but had we not been there to advocate for him, he probably would have been sent home on day two.
While I was sitting in the hospital room alone for a minute with my Dad resting, the build up of emotions came to a head. The present fragility of my Father was hard to witness. I looked outside his hospital window and I saw a beautiful bird landing on his windowsill. I heard the still, small voice of God speak these words to me:
“I will take of your Dad, Mandy. Don’t forget, he is my son, first and foremost, and I love him very much. Just as I take care of the birds of the air, how much more will I take care of him!”
The release of tension, control, and fear did not suddenly drop from my mind, but comfort did begin to ease into my soul. I knew that no matter what happened, God had my Father in His hands. My heavenly Father and my earthly Father, you see, have a very good relationship. I knew he was telling me to “chill out” and “let me take this!” Thank you Lord!
Maybe you have been in similar experiences, or you’ve lost your Father. I don’t dare compare or say I know how you feel, but please take comfort in the fact that this Father’s Day I am praying for you just as much as my family and friends have prayed for me over the past month.
This Father’s Day, remember the good times you’ve had with your father here on earth. If you are able to, give him a hug and tell him how much he has meant to you and that you love him. If there are tensions or issues, talk about it with the Lord and see what can be done.
I am no counselor but I do know the Counselor of all counselors that is ready to help you through that issue. Life is too short and can change in a second. I’ve learned that all too well!
I am also reminded in the scriptures of how important it is to love and respect our parents, at all times, as young children and adult children. It is stated that parents should raise their children up in the love of Christ and that we, as children, are to also love and respect our parents. It doesn’t give caveats, it just states it clear as day:
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.”
“But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God.”
-1 Timothy 5:4
What my Dad and family went through this past May was difficult, but I am so proud of how we all came together, loved on each other, and helped to take care of my Dad. He is very grateful too!
The wonderful thing about Father’s Day and Mother’s Day is it reminds us to be grateful of the people God allows to raise and love on us. How much more wonderful is it when we are grateful and let it show the other 364 days of the year, too!
Let the men in your life this year – your father, step-father, uncle, grandfather, brother, husband, boyfriend, friend—know how much you love and respect them. Even though they may be tough and strong on the exterior, I promise their hearts will be softened and so grateful to hear those words!
Don’t forget to love on your Heavenly Father as well! We are all His children and how grateful I am for that!