A Tribute To My Dad- by Heather Freeman Bryant


We are all in the process of leaving a legacy here on earth. What kind of legacy are we building for our families? To all the dads reading, are you modeling the love of Christ in your homes? As we approach Father’s Day, my prayer is that fathers are making a huge impact for the kingdom in their homes. It matters. It mattered to me and I want it to matter for my kids as well.

That said, sorry ladies and gentlemen but MY DAD is the best human father that has ever existed. In honor of Father’s Day I wanted to share with you all a little about my dad. Here are a few words that I would use to describe my dad: funny, loving, manly, respectable, endearing, caring, kind and lastly, godly. Ironically, Father’s Day this year will mark 2 years since my dad went to be with Jesus and I miss him so incredibly much.

Growing up, I knew how great my dad was – I knew that he was loved, adored and respected by pretty much everyone he came in contact with – minus the few random high school boys that dared to disrespect his little girls in any way, shape or form. They, of course,  would never be fans of my father. And that is because he protected us. I have an older brother and two younger sisters – he protected all of us. Just like God does, my dad protected us. My dad showed us in real and tangible ways the love of God. He always led us straight to the cross. I knew this growing up.

Then when I no longer had my dad here with me, I realized even more how great he was. And I missed him. I missed having him to call for advice. I missed going fishing with him. I missed taking him to Gritz on Thursday morning to have breakfast with his friends. I missed listening to him snore on the couch. I missed how loud he would keep the TV. I missed all of those things. And in missing him, I learned so much about the legacy he left behind.

Growing up, my dad and I played a game called “Gotcha Last” – before bed we would have a contest to see who could get the other last – a simple tap on the leg would do. Sometimes a good punch was used. I always got him last – just before I ran to bed. I always won. Until years later – well into college – when my mom shared with me that every single night when I was growing up, after I went to bed and fell asleep, my dad would sneak into my room, touch my leg and whisper “gotcha last.”

My brother told this story at my dad’s celebration of life service – which as a side note, was the GREATEST celebration service in the history of life celebration services. And I am not just bragging, I am telling you it was a GREAT service – the presence of Jesus was incredible. So my brother told the story and it warmed my heart. I wrote the following letter to my father that was shared at his service, and in memory of him and his great life, I wanted to share with you. It pretty much sums up the impact he had on my life. Choose to make an impact. It matters.

My dad has an amazing legacy. I know he has led so many people to Jesus and I know he has filled in as a father to so many who have lost or who never knew their own dad. I know he faithfully taught bible study until two weeks before he died. I know his passion was sharing the gospel and he would do so at sporting events, restaurants, at home when visitors dropped in or any other place he happened to be. I always thought I knew his legacy but now I realize I missed so much of it or never even knew the half of it. The past week has been eye opening, humbling and nothing short of extraordinary. I almost feel I have learned more about my dad since he went home to be with Jesus than I did in the 35 years I knew him on this Earth. I knew he was at work for Christ – every day, but I didn’t realize the vast impact on God’s kingdom he has made – I knew it was big….huge….but there isn’t a word to describe just how big or just how huge. I pray I can make even half the impact for Christ that my dad has made. I’m writing this before the service but I’m going to go on a limb and say just look at all the people here today – and that’s only one small piece of my dad’s legacy.

You heard my brother talk about the game of “gotcha last” I played with my dad growing up.  Here on earth, I touched him last.

Daddy, I gotcha last but you won, because you touched Jesus first. I love you so much and I miss you every second. I am so thankful for the time I got to know you as my earthly father – and I look so forward to spending an eternity with you as my brother……sharing our amazing Father. I love you.

Heather

 

 

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Comments

  1. I just had a good cry…

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