I think I had the world's greatest dad! This is the 4th Father's Day he has celebrated in Heaven with Jesus. He was the sweetest person you could hope to meet and he was quick to express gratitude and appreciation to anyone he met.
He was a fun dad to grow up with. He was big and strong and fearless, at least I thought so. Not only was he a tall man -- he stood tall, head and shoulders, above other men I knew. He was a true man of God who lived his faith every moment of every day. He was a preacher, and I was so blessed to call him my pastor as I grew up (although one day when I was 5 years old I did threaten to stop attending his church because I was upset with him!). The way he was on Sunday was exactly what you saw every other day of the week. One time someone asked me if he was the same at home as he was in public. My answer was an emphatic "Yes".
I would like you to meet my dad. I wrote this tribute for his memorial service.
MEMORIES OF MY DAD
By Adrienne T. S.
By Adrienne T. S.
"I’m J.T.'s daughter!" I have always said those words with such pride. Many times in my life those words have given me instant identity because Dad always seemed to know everyone wherever he went. I have often been asked, "Are you J.T.'s daughter? He’s told me all about you, and I feel like I already know you." And I’ve been asked if I would share my dad so someone else could be his son or daughter. While I was always willing to share him, I knew that no one else could ever share my place in his heart. I have been very blessed to have him as my Dad.
We had lots of fun together. We rolled down hills together; did somersaults together; had snowball fights together; made snow angels together; sang silly songs together; read stories together. Dad was so patient – he helped me with homework, endured my constantly changing hairstyles and taught me to drive. When I was upset and knew he would be mad because I had just put a big scratch along the side of his brand new car, he gently said, "It can be fixed."
There were many special times with my dad – Christmas shopping each year together for his gift to Mom, the moments before he and I walked down the aisle together at my wedding, the arrival of my children and my grandchildren and the last days of his life on earth.
What I treasure the most about my dad was his deep commitment to Christ. What you saw in public was exactly what I saw behind closed doors at home. Because I trusted Dad, I learned to trust God, the Father. When I was just a baby, he sat me on his big hand and as I grew stronger and could sit up well enough to balance myself, he would slowly raise his hand higher and higher until his arm was fully extended and I was high in the air. When I could stand by myself, I graduated from sitting to standing on those big hands. His other hand was always ready to hold me if I lost my balance. It’s no wonder that I love the Bible verse that tells me that "underneath me are the everlasting arms [of God]." Because I knew – and trusted – the security of my father’s arms, I have no trouble resting in the arms of God, my Heavenly Father.
Dad was a man of prayer. I grew up hearing him pray. Not only did he pray in public, but he prayed at home. He prayed for everything – before meals, at bedtime, when my cat was sick, when I was sick, when the car wouldn’t start. Every morning our family sat together as Dad read from the Bible and then we prayed together. He was patient with me when, at age 3, I announced that I was not going to pray anymore because you can’t see God anyway – He’s all covered up with sky. Soon after that, I began to pray again. When I was 7 years old, my mother was in the hospital and not expected to live. The doctor told Dad that they had done everything they could do for Mom – there was no more that could be done. The doctor knew Dad was a praying man, so he told him to go home and pray that God would spare Mom’s life. I’ll never forget seeing Dad kneel by his bed, in tears as he asked God to save Mom’s life. I quietly slipped into the room, joined Dad and together we asked God for a miracle for my mother. God heard our requests, and Mom came home from the hospital a few weeks later. Not too many teenagers have the privilege of hearing their father pray early in the morning before daylight. When I was in Jr. High School, Dad’s office was in our house, in a room next to mine. Dad never prayed quietly, and I often woke to the sound of his voice in prayer. It was not unusual to lay in bed around 4:30 in the morning and listen to my dad pray. He prayed for the needs of the world, for missionaries, pastors, family and friends. I loved to hear him pray, but the prayers that meant the most were when I heard him pray for me! The sound of my father praying for me was a strong influence through my teen years. He continued to pray for me right to the end of his life. Just before Dad went to be with Jesus I found the following quote by Martin Luther on Dad’s desk: "I have so much to do today that I shall spend the first 3 hours in prayer."
Yes, I’m proud to be J.T.'s daughter. We have had a great life together. Heaven seems a lot closer now that Dad is there, and I wonder when I get there, will someone ask "Are you J.T.'s daughter? He’s told me all about you, and I feel like I already know you."