• Jill Jarrell Newsome

Happy Father's Day

This Sunday we will be celebrating Father's Day. During this time we show appreciation and honor to the father's in our lives. In a perfect world all children would see their fathers as the most handsome, strongest, coolest and fastest of all men. He would be a role model and a mentor and a hero! Billy Graham said, "A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society."

Dad loved life and was one of the most positive people I knew. He loved being with younger people and most of his friends were about 20 years younger. Dad was born and raised in Wilmington, NC and always told me that we had salt water in our blood. I talked to Dad every day and my husband and girls were very close to him. I was his only daughter and he thought I was perfect! I cry as I type because I still miss him so much! I miss seeing he and my mother together.

My dad was a great provider for our family. We always had vacations and he taught us to respect water. My dad disciplined us. He took our family to church every Sunday. He taught me a lot by his actions. He was a man of unshakable faith. I believe that was a treasure that was passed down to him from his mother and he passed down to me.

Dad's father was not in the picture. He was on the Wilmington Police Force and at that time most of them were corrupt. The time that he was around he was abusive. He was not a nice person and abused my grandmother in every sense of the word. My dad had heartbreaking stories of growing up. Mike did not have a good father figure growing up either. He experienced a lifetime of rejection from his father. They both had experienced a lot of hurt by the "fathers" in their life.

When Mike was 40 he rlearned his father was not his biological father which answered a lot of questions. He understood why he had been treated differently. About this same time MIke read, "The Purpose Driven Life". Chapter one talked about if you do not have an earthly father you have a heavenly father. It also said that you were planned by God and He loves you. It sounds so simple but this was a comfort to Mike.

For the first time Mike was able to see his heavenly Father as His Father. He knew he was not a mistake - God had a plan for Him. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He provides all that we need. Psalm 103: 13, "The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him." Psalm 68: 5, "A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling."

In July of 2011 Mom, Dad and I spent the whole day on Wrightsville Beach....one of our favorite things to do. Dad and I swam about four times and the waves were perfect. Had I known that would be our last "normal" day I would have ordered just what we got. That afternoon before we left Dad had a stroke. One week later he had a massive stroke that left him paralyzed on one side and unable to speak. Our world had been rocked! Dad was 79 years young! As Mike still says, "he was way too young to die!"

I remember asking God to give us the things we needed to say to Dad since he could not speak. We each had our time to talk to Dad by ourselves. I had my list of things I felt would be important to him. After going through my list, I told him I was so sorry he could not speak because I knew he would be telling us how much he loved us. But I reminded him that we did know he loved us. Most importantly even if he could have never talked he showed us how much he loved us and what we needed to know. That is a father! Charles Spurgeon said, "Train up a child in the way he should go—but be sure you go that way yourself." That was Dad!

God had a special gift for Mike two years before his father died. God reconciled that relationship and we had two wonderful years with his Dad. It is sad that we could have had a lifetime but we are thankful for what we got. In the end, Mike was the only child to care for his father. On his deathbed, Mike thanked his dad for teaching him what was most important and that was taking him to church. I have always been so touched that Mike was able to share that with his Dad. He had found the biggest blessing.

On this Father's Day I thank God for my Dad and Mike's Dad. Father's Day is bittersweet. I am thankful for Mike and the father he is and I want to honor Dad but I sure do miss him. Our family will all go to church together and then go to the beach. That is where Dad would want us to be. I am praying for all of you who have lost a father this year. This may be a very tough day. And I pray for those, like me, who miss their Dad's on Father's day. This will be the seventh Father's day without Dad and it is still hard. But the smiles and laughs outweigh the tears now. Pray for those hurting on Fathers day for various reasons. Pray that they will know their Heavenly Father.

Thank the father's in your life. Remember even if you do not have an earthly father, we all have a heavenly Father that loves us very much! So this Father's Day we can all say, "Happy Father's Day, Father! I love and appreciate you!"

Mike took Dad to Palm Beach for a fishing trip and came back with lots of stories! When Dad caught this fish they were so proud they called mom screaming!

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