Dear Dad

Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. (Isaiah 46:4 NIV)

Dear Dad,

I knew this would happen. I brought the chairs back out onto the little deck our Bible study group built for you, and now I’m crying and blowing my nose. Not a super attractive sight. I miss you extra today.

I’m sitting where you used to sit for hours enthralled with the great outdoors. I’m wearing your sweater. You know the one. The super warm, super old and comfortable olive green one we called “Old Faithful.” The thick red-and-black checkered blanket covers me warmly as I admire the spring sky and sip hot tea. It’s the blanket Mum loved. You loved it draped over your knees because it reminded you of her. And now it’s draped over mine and reminding me of you both. So, here I am missing you and sniffling.

These are happy tears, though. How wonderful it is to remember you with joy and not regret. I’m ever so grateful for all you taught me: practical things like how to make the perfect piecrust and intangibles like how to accept what can’t be changed with grace and calm. I’m glad we watched spring reappear together from this deck last year. Each day you’d point out the transformation in the trees from barrenness to tiny buds to unfurled leaves in splendid fresh greens.

I’m thankful you were such an amazingly slow eater toward the end of your life because it slowed me down. We talked between bites and shared our hearts. I heard countless stories of you, a shy young boy growing up on a farm, milking the cow, and tending the horses. I admire the way you accepted your infirmities with patience. The way you thanked us each day but never wallowed in self-pity or gave way to embarrassment about what we could not change. You took each day as a gift and unwrapped it with peacefulness and gratitude. My heart is filled with gladness for the time—almost two years—that you lived with us. Time and again I find daily activities bringing back happy memories of “doing life” with you. Remembering keeps you close.

The very best part?! Nine days before you left us for Heaven, you committed yourself to Christ. All those years of waiting and praying for you to realize there is a God … and He is good … and He loves you ... culminated in that definitive moment when you said “yes” to Him. For that reason my grieving is sweet. My heart is full. You are alive and well, your broken old body exchanged for an immortal one. You have met Jesus face to face. Oh, the wonder of that thought! One day, I’ll join you, tease you with an “I told you there was a Heaven,” and give you a hug. One day, we’ll kneel together, you and I, along with that great multitude from every tribe and nation, and we will worship the One who loved you so much He would not let you die until you chose Him. These are happy tears, indeed. Love, Sharon

Heavenly Father, You are so patient and so kind with us. How I thank You that You are not “… slow in keeping [Your] promise, as some understand slowness. Instead [You are] patient with [us], not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9 NIV). You are our good, good Father. Thank You for Your Son and His sacrifice that saved us and gave us eternal life and a home in Heaven with You forever. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

You are loved,
Sharon

 

 

Sweet Selah Ministries

Vision To encourage a movement away from the belief that “busy is better”
and toward the truth that stillness and knowing God matter most—
and will be reflected in more effective work and service

Mission 
To offer resources and retreats that help women pause (Selah)
and love God more deeply as they know Him more intimately (Sweet)

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10 Responses to “Dear Dad”

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  1. Linda B says:

    I thank God for you Sharon and your willingness to be used by God! Between my mom’s birthday and Mother’s Day so close together, my heart was heavy, but this was the exact message I needed! Thank you! Love to you sweet sister.

    • Sharon Gamble says:

      Oh this warms my heart!! So very happy it lightened yours at a hard season of remembering. Love you, Linda!!

  2. Elizabeth A. Homchuck says:

    What a beautiful tribute and to your father-in -law. Praise God for his salvation and I had a similar experience with my mother-in-law. A few months before she passed, she accepted Christ after trying to earn her salvation for many years in the Episcopal Church. She lived with us, also for several years.

    • Sharon Gamble says:

      I am so thankful for your "happy ending ... new life beginning" too!! What joy in the sorrow. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Deneane Bentum says:

    I have happy tears just reading this! I'm thankful that, although very difficult, there is much fruitfulness from those almost 2 years that Dad Gamble lived with you!
    Much love to you!

  4. Jackie says:

    I needed this message this morning. You are such a special person.

  5. Gayle Hadden says:

    Oh, Sharon, I REJOICE with you that the memories are sweet and your hope is sure in standing before Jesus' throne with your father-in-law in heaven one day. I grew to understand the uncompromising love of Christ as I watched you sacrificially walk out that season of life with with him. Your story (and mine) of God's long-standing patience and open arms to our aging fathers are sweet testimonies of God's love for us as His daughters. Thanks for sharing your heart in your honest, vulnerable style of writing that we can all relate to. The sharing of your perspectives and wisdom help us draw closer to our Loving Father. Thanks Sharon!

    • Sharon Gamble says:

      Gayle, We both have MUCH to be thankful for! Loved walking with you and praying with you during your journey with your father. Oh, how our heavenly Father loves!!

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