Saturday, June 9, 2012

Letting Go, Clinging To . . .Remembering Dad

Father's Day is approaching, which brings my thoughts toward my dad, Wallace Eugene Dowdle, who died January 4, 1994. Regardless of what my older sister says, I was daddy's little girl!

As a kid, do you remember thinking your parents would live forever? I do. There came that day though, when I looked at my dad and thought, wow he has wrinkles, he's getting old.

My father had his first heart attack in his early fifties. Then he had a quadruple bypass, which we were thankful for as it gave him 10 more years. We lived with the knowledge that dad still could "go" anytime. I was in my early twenties and letting go of my "daddy" was not an option!
Therefore, I literately prayed in my worry for my father, God please keep my dad healthy, please don't let him leave now, I've got some important speaking events or whatever was on my agenda but I'd begged God—yes I did—not to take him just yet. I know it sounds selfish, but I was a busy director of a pregnancy support center, during my late twenties and early thirties. I did not have the time to go into mourning. I didn't want to deal with more loss and sadness. I was recovering from the loss of a child and grandmother and the suicide of my grandfather. And I certainly did not want to say good-bye to my dad.

If my father was going to leave this world, I knew I would need undivided time to weep and weep and weep. I'm like that and God knows. God was kind.

When I was 37, one evening as I was preparing dinner for my family, a wave of grief barreled through me like electricity. Then I felt the Lord whisper, "Diane, it's time to let go of your father." I gasped. I wept uncontrollably has I chopped the lettuce into little bitty pieces.

How gracious of God to know me so well, and to consider my tender heart toward my father that he would give me a heads up allowing me the bittersweet work of "letting go" and releasing my father from this earthly world.
The last time I saw my dad was Thanksgiving of 1993. Upon saying goodbye, I hugged him, that hug is still imprinted in my memory. I can still feel my dad's arms, smell his tobacco, and his warmth. I started to walked away then quickly turned and gave him another. He said what was that for, I said just because. I did not want to release my dad. See even before God encouraged me to "let go," I knew it would be our last embrace.

I began the painful process of "letting go." Giving my father to the Father. It must have been six months later when my mother called to tell me dad was being rushed to the hospital.

My husband and I were at Home Group. We stopped to pray and while we were praying my father was ushered into Heaven's domain. That was bittersweet for sure.

I recently ran across this song, one of my all time favorites, How Great Thou Art. Vance Perry sings the arrangement. I feel this is appropriate for Father's Day—in that we have a Great Father in Heaven who will never die because he is the Alpha and the Omega. The one who we do not have to "let go" of but can "cling to" with joy and everlasting peace.

Our earthly father gave us the seed of life, but our Heavenly Father has given us the imperishable seed of everlasting spiritual life through faith in his Son Christ Jesus (1 Peter 1:23).

He is a Father who knows pain and loss, rejection, sorrow, and who loves his creation with boundless love . . . even the ones who say he is not.

This Father's Day, allow your soul to sing and be grateful for a Father in Heaven who is Greater than any father on earth. Who encompasses all things and holds all things together because He loves us.

 "For in him we live and move and have our being. As some of your own poets have said, 'We are his offspring,'" (Acts 17:28).
Now push play and have a listen!
Happy Father's Day to all you Dad's, may you reflect the Love of God to your children and your children's children, so that they will be drawn to Him who loves us.