What My Dad Taught Me From His Death Bed

What My Dad Taught Me From His Death Bed

"The purpose of a person's heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out." Proverbs 20:5

My Dad is the only person I have ever watched die. Such a painful and fresh wound on my heart.  I remember one of his final nights of full awareness. The room was dark and quiet. My Momma, brother and I gathered around his bed as he called us in closer. 

My Dad was dying. He knew he was dying and so did we. He could have talked about anything he wanted to talk about, but he chose to talk about his love for us and for Jesus. His voice was low and raspy as he told my Momma she was beautiful. He told us all, individually, as our eyes locked with his, he loved us very much.

He told my brother and me that he was proud of us. 

Daddy told us that he loved God as he pointed toward heaven. He asked us all to keep God number one in our lives. 

It was rare for us to all be alone together. We are a big family surrounded by friends who are like family. So this moment was so very special to me. I remember thinking, "Wow. This is how we spent a large part of our lives. Just the four of us together." 

That night as we whispered what would be our last "I love you" this side of heaven, I whispered in my Daddy's ear, "You're sweet." He could barely get it out, but he said, "You're sweeter." It is the last thing he ever said to me. 

I will never forget his final days on this earth. His body was fragile, but his spirit was strong. 

It has been ten months since he made the journey to paradise, and I have had time to reflect on that night so many times. 

There are so many sayings and poems about how people don't talk about work or accomplishments on their death bed. No one talks about the money they made, the sales goals they slaughtered, the number of books they wrote, or the number of sermons they preached. 

From my experience, they talk about family, love, and tender moments and sweet memories. A son tells a Dad, "You're my hero," as he reminds him of how he schooled him in basketball. A Daddy tells his little girl, "I love you." A husband tells his wife, "You're beautiful, and I will love you forever and ever."  

Love was the primary topic. It reminds me of 1 Corinthians 13:2 "Without love, I am nothing." {paraphrased}

Anyone that knew my Dad knew of his talent and love for music. He could play just about any instrument he set his mind to play. He sang every day.  It was his thing. It was his brand. Everyone seemed to know Tom Holt and the Sidekicks. Once, he changed the name of the band to "Nowhere Bound." If you knew my Dad, you'll laugh. He had a knack for witty sarcasm and humor. 

I remember being a little girl and hearing of him having the chance to try his hand with the big dogs in Nashville. I remember wishing he would, but I was little and didn't realize what all that really entailed. 

I remember hearing him say, "I can't be away from my family that long. Maybe one day when the kids are grown." 

I believe with all of my heart that he could have had a successful and professional music career if he wanted it. And I know deep down in his heart, it was a dream of his. Music flowed from his veins naturally. But on his death bed, music never surfaced as a topic....other than me playing gospel hymns while he rested. 

Dreams are a funny thing, aren't they? They keep us motivated. They give us hope. They propel us forward on days that we want to give in and give up. Dreams are powerful and good, especially when they are given to us by the very God that knitted us together in the womb. 

Recently, I asked myself the simple question, "What would change if I reached my dream?" If I could grab ahold of it and claim it. What would change? For me, I decided that not much would change, except the fact that I would have a whole new level of responsibility in my life. 

I would still have to do laundry, clean toilets, and sign homework papers. I would still have to battle it out with my kids over homework and attitudes. I would still have to navigate marriage and work relationships. 

I write and talk a lot about dreams. I want to empower others to reach their full potential and help them realize the dreams of their heart. I want to nurture and pour fresh water on the dreams God planted in hearts of those that I encounter. 

It's easy to lose focus on today while thinking so much about tomorrow. It's easy to get caught up in a spiderweb of confusion as we reach out and swoop one piece of the web away at a time looking for clarity. It's easy to ask "Is this my dream or God's dream for me?"

I have often found that dreams that have to do with helping other people are given to me by God. Any dream I have that would exalt me feeds my fleshly nature and is not usually of God.  

So many people struggle to find their calling, their passion, and their life's purpose. A plethora of books, seminars and counseling sessions are spent discussing this big question. All of those things can be extremely helpful, don't get me wrong, but what if it is so much more simple? 

Remember, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." Matthew 7:7

Just like my Dad whispered to us on his death bed about love, family, hope and Jesus, I believe the Holy Spirit whispers His dreams for us in our ears. We just have to lean in closer and listen. 

Dear Lord, I acknowledge you as Lord and Savior of my life. You lead me, you guide me, you give me discernment and wisdom. Every thing I am, I am because of you. I know that sharing who you are and sharing your love should be my ultimate dream no matter what else you call me to or from. I pray I always have ears to hear you when you whisper to my heart. I ask that you keep me in the center of your will always. In your son's name I pray. Amen.  

Beautiful Things Can Grow in the Dark

Beautiful Things Can Grow in the Dark

Major Decisions and Gate Changes

Major Decisions and Gate Changes