HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER

While we function independently from our parents as adult leaders, we never outgrow the biblical admonition to honor them. At the time of this writing, my Dad’s been in heaven for 11 days, and I want to dedicate this post to him. He was 82 and died of complications from a 10-month illness.

stetter

“Dear Dad, I wish you were still here. I’m glad you’re with Jesus, and mom, and all your relatives and friends in heaven – but I wasn’t done loving you here on earth. I’d still like to stop by your house to put on your compression socks, trim your nails, and put lotion on your arms. I’d still like to hear you sing those hymns about heaven that God was bringing to your mind in your final weeks. I’d still like to bring you and Corky a dinner of medium rare filet mignon – to keep your iron levels up. I’d still like to watch birds at the feeder with you and find their names in the little book you kept by your lift recliner. I’d still like to walk into your family room and see your whole face light up with a huge smile as you said my name.

“I’m so proud of you, Dad. You were the epitome of the love chapter and the fruit of the Spirit. You may not have been super verbal about your relationship with the Lord, but you lived it out loud. You exuded Jesus’ love, kindness, and goodness. You were a good, good father.

“I remember as a teen writing a song for you with Krystal about the loving father you were to us. We attached pictures to it and played it at your Celebration of Life service.

“I remember in my 30s when I took you out to eat for Father’s Day and asked you to forgive me for my snotty teenage attitude. And how you immediately reached over and grabbed my knee and shook it and said, ‘I forgive you, Lisa.’

“I remember the time you came to the cottage with me and Ron and talked on and on about your entire life – from your first puppy, to your first paper route, to your first car, college, dating mom, and straight through those foundational years. I remember feeling as though I was getting to know you as a little boy, as a teenager, as a young adult – with all your pure-hearted aspirations about life. I fell in love with you all over again that weekend.

“I remember our talk of a lifetime shortly afterwards, where I shared about my childhood and teenage years. And we discussed some differences we’d had and cried together and forgave each other and said how much we loved each other. And we never stopped saying it after that.

“I remember wanting to experience you in your profession as an Industrial Arts teacher for 32 years. For my entire adult life I’ve run into guys who had you as their Wood Shop teacher. They raved about you and referred to you as their favorite teacher. So I asked you if we could make a small cabinet together, and of course you said yes. We decided to use walnut – your favorite and mine. And you taught me how to design it, how to plane the wood, measure it, saw it, attach the sides and the top and bottom, fit the door frame together, and screw on the legs. And I remember how you surprised me by making a beautiful book-match front for the cabinet door. And you coached me as I sanded, stained, and finished it with five coats of varnish in our garage. When it was dry, you stopped by to inspect it and said, ‘Now this is what I would say to my students, Lisa. I would ask them what they think their project is worth.’ So I said, ‘$200.’ And you reminded me of all the hours we both invested, and the cost of the hardware and the manufactured feet. And then you said, ‘On top of all of that, this is a one-of-a-kind cabinet that you designed yourself. It’s easily worth $500-600, Lisa. You did a really good job. I give you an A+.’ Being your student through those months, experiencing your expertise and fun-loving spirit, and now having a cabinet in my living room that we made together is priceless to me, Dad.

Lisa and Dad

“I remember on my 52nd birthday when you wrote a prayer of blessing over my life and I wrote a tribute poem for you. And I made you breakfast at my house and we read them to each other and prayed together.

“Dad, you are nothing short of remarkable – an incredible man of God, a man of integrity, my kind-hearted father. Heaven is blessed to have you. I am blessed to have had you and your love for all these years. I will love you forever. I can’t wait to see what you’ve been building in heaven. When I get there, we’ll eat raspberries together, watch birds, you can teach me to golf, and we’ll sing some rousing hymns. And that’ll just be the first day. See you soon, Dad.”

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His faithful servants. Psalm 116:15

Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you. Exodus 20:12

 

Please feel free to write a brief tribute to your father or mother in the Comment Section below.

 

PERSONAL CHRISTMAS GREETING

This Christmas is especially meaningful for me and my family. My dearly loved 82-year-old father – who was actively golfing and planting bushes last spring – is recovering from a serious illness. He and my step-mom have been through a grueling five months of doctor visits, long hospitalizations, and even longer stays in rehab facilities. When Dad was in the hospital, we kids – and the grandkids too – teamed up to clear the driveway of shellbark nuts, mow the lawn, rake leaves, get groceries, help outfit a new adjustable bed, and decorate for Christmas.

This photo is a close-up of the nativity scene on their mantle – looking exceptionally beautiful this year.

6039

May the brightness of Jesus’ birth be center stage against the backdrop of the challenges, opportunities, struggles, and joys in your life. All is well; Emmanuel is here.

 

“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”

Matthew 1:23

HOW ARE YOU RESPONDING TO GOD’S STANDING INVITATION?

As leaders, hands-down the most vital relationship in our lives is with Jesus Christ. It’s also the most private, invisible, and perhaps for those reasons – easiest to shortchange. Yet, when our relationship with God is thriving, the systemic impact in our lives and leadership is unmistakable.

So how are we – today, in this season – responding to God’s standing invitation for intimacy?

bible and journal

As a visual learner, God occasionally gives me mental images to characterize a season in my life or confirm a direction He wants me to take. Paired with Scripture and discernment from other believers – these visuals are one of the ways God keeps me on track.