God's hand reaching out in front of the sunPsalm 139:14 says, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” God truly made our dad fearfully and wonderfully on purpose, for a purpose.

If there is anything we knew about our dad, it is this:  he loved the Lord and the Lord loved him. Dad understood that God provides our every need:  strength, shelter, unconditional love, redeeming and forgiving love, and a light that would illuminate the journey on those days when darkness stood on the path. The morning following Dad’s passing I was reminded of the poem, “The Dash.”  “The Dash” is the time spent here on earth between birth until death – and Dad’s life was full of significance and abundant blessings.

Our family’s lives have been covered by Dad’s anointed prayers. He led us by example to be the light and the salt— to go out and make a difference, for we are called to let our light shine in a world of darkness. Our dad made a difference to so many. He had no fear of death and his eyes were on heaven. Life here on earth was a temporary stepping stone to the joy of eternity.

The last few years with Dad, although not always easy, were worth it. The time, lessons, laughter and the blessings to care for him and Mom are priceless. As many of you know, Dad loved to tease, and his sense of humor held on as long as he did. Last Friday as an EMT was going to transfer him to a gurney, she told him to give himself a bear hug. Instead he wanted to hug her. She told him again, and that time he showed her his muscles. Memories not to be forgotten.

I share with you what I journaled in the “Final Hours:”

Heavenly & Gracious Father,

You have carried us through. As I sit in the final hours, I am reflecting on how you orchestrated every second of this season. As Dad’s final breath approaches, I give you all the honor, glory and praise.  Prayers of thanksgiving as we draw near the end together.

Lord, I have to be honest, more so with myself than you, because you already knew what this journey would be like – some days were challenging with thoughts of, “I’m so exhausted, I can’t do this anymore.” You knew differently and would draw me closer. You surrounded me with a support system that didn’t fail. The love of this support has and will continue to surpass all I could have possibly asked for.

Lord, I know this day is not my last with Dad; he will be waiting in your kingdom with arms open wide.  My heart is full and this season will be complete in a short while. I lift up my eyes and raise my hands embracing peace, comfort and love, being totally blessed. It’s not the end. It’s only the beginning – as Dad’s body will be healed and whole, receive by you who created him, a celebration of the 94 years of life blessed beyond measure.

As I listen, his breaths are irregular, the rising and lowering of his chest pulling in air with what energy remains.

The memories Dad and I share can never be taken away. Love, laughter, tears, and the crazy things that came along, bundled into this season. My prayer this morning is:  Lord take care of him as you have for 94 years. What a miracle it is to come into this world and a miracle to depart. Now I ask you Holy Spirit to comfort, protect, love, guide and teach me as I move into the next season.

By your mercy and grace, Dad and I are going to finish his race together. I take with me the final moments, blessed to lay hands on him and offer a prayer of surrender for Jesus to take his hand.

Within minutes, peace and healing prevailed. AMEN and AMEN. Thank you, Jesus.