Posted by: theedwardsfam | December 15, 2011

Happy 55th Birthday Dad!

My Father turned 55 a couple days ago and I have been thinking about his impact on my life for the last couple of weeks while trying to figure out how to put that impact into words. It hasn’t been easy. In fact, it has been impossible!

But here it goes anyways! :)

My father is one of the greatest men I have ever known, if not THE greatest!

It is not because he is perfect. It is not because he is the coolest. It is not because he raised me. It is not because he is the smartest. It is not because he is a superhero. It is not because we share the same love of basketball.

I consider my father GREAT because of his love for God, his love for his family, including me, and his love for people who need to know our God. Even though he was close to perfect (he will disagree), even though he is cool (my friends thought he was cooler than I did), even though he raised me, even though he is incredibly smart, even though I consider him a superhero and even though we love basketball, all these things are such a distant 2nd place to his love for God, his family and the lost, there is NO comparison.

When I was growing up, I didn’t always want to be a pastor for a number of reasons. I saw my dad (who was/is a pastor) work harder than I ever wanted to, I wanted to do what I wanted to do more than anything else and even more sadly, I wasn’t willing to humble myself and be like my dad and my Savior. I saw some of the sacrifices my dad had to make for the people he shepherded and I was too selfish to make those sacrifices. In many ways now however, I am more like my dad than I ever thought I would be.

The following are things that I learned from my dad, but this list is far from complete!

1)I learned what it meant to be devoted to following the Lord and growing in a relationship with God. I saw my dad take the time to read and pray. I saw my dad memorize scripture and review it often. I saw my dad work on his weaknesses and grow in them. I saw him preach many sermons that had impacted him far more than the sermons impacted those of who were listening. (Well, mostly listening while zoning out here and there as a child). I saw the cost of following God through my dad but I also saw that it was worth it EVERY TIME!

2) I learned what it meant to trust God. I saw my dad (and mom) pray for things that we needed and wait for God to provide them. I saw my parents pray for things for 30 days before purchasing the necessary items and watched God almost always provide them far cheaper than if they bought them immediately…and then I watched them give the money they saved to missionaries around the world instead of keeping it themselves.

3) I learned to care for others more than myself. I watched my dad do this week after week in so many different ways and yet only now am I beginning to understand it. My dad was willing to sacrifice his time, energy and whatever else to help anyone who needed it.

4) I learned to put my family first. My dad will be the first to admit he could have done a better job loving us and yet I believe that he did a tremendous job. My dad was almost always my basketball coach (unpaid) in 7+ years of playing basketball. I can’t remember him missing a basketball game, track or cross country meet or anything else that was important. And the same was true for my 3 siblings.

5) I learned how to care for and protect my family. There wasn’t anything my dad wouldn’t do for us. There were a few moments in my life where either my mom or one of my siblings were being threatened and my dad always responded in self-control, but I will tell you that I’m glad I wasn’t the person stupid enough to threaten us! My dad was willing to suffer personally but was never willing to let someone mess with us.

6) I learned how to share the Gospel. I constantly saw my dad share Jesus both with his words and with his actions and I’m not talking about in church while he was preaching. I got to go with my dad around San Diego (where we lived growing up) and he would share Jesus with strangers whether it was planned or not. I got to go with my dad to the other side of the world and share Jesus with people in 8th & 9th grade because I had learned how to share Jesus with people who didn’t know the God who had saved us.

The only thing I was disappointed in was I never got to share with the Jehovah Witnesses or Mormons at our home because whenever they came door to door on our street they always skipped our house! I guess my dad had done too much witnessing when they came the first few times that the people didn’t want to loose their converts at our doorstep. There were trying to convince my family to believe in the false gods they worshiped and my dad would walk them through the Bible and show them who the real God was. I never got to talk to them because by the time I was 8 they stopped coming to our door…looking back I could have gone out to the sidewalk and talked to them.

7) I learned to be humble and be willing to apologize. There were a few times when I was disobeying my parents that my dad got angry when I was arguing with him. I shouldn’t have been disobedient and I shouldn’t have been defiant and shouldn’t have argued with him, but that didn’t stop my dad from coming to me before I ever apologized to him and asking for my forgiveness. There were times that I said I was willing to forgive him for raising his voice at me for a moment and then I wouldn’t apologize back for ALL the sinful things I had done. It didn’t matter to my dad whether I apologized to him or not, he was willing to humble himself, admit his mistakes and do everything he could to make our relationship right once again. THIS MIGHT HAVE BEEN THE 2ND MOST IMPORTANT THING I LEARNED FROM MY DAD!

8) I learned how to play sports. He spent hours teaching me how to play sports. He encouraged me to play the sports I wanted to play even he didn’t particularly enjoy. He was delighted when I gave up on soccer and baseball and chose basketball and running. Although I didn’t know this until much later in my life because he wanted me to do what I wanted to do instead of what he wanted me to do. Most importantly, he taught me how to use sports as a ministry and how sports could open doors for sharing the Gospel that would no other tool would have been able to open.

9) I learned how to be a man. I learned how serve people. I learned how to love people without expecting anything in return. I learned how to treat other men respectfully. I learned how to treat women respectfully. I learned how to be mature as well as how to enjoy life. I learned how control my attitudes, actions and thoughts. I learned how to read the bible and be the type of men that the Bible commended because that was the type of man my dad was.

10) I learned how to use my passion/competitiveness/determination to help other people. This is something I’m obviously still working on but even to control my competitiveness so that other people can win. I remember my mom telling my dad from the front lawn to let us win at basketball because my dad was scoring on myself and 2 other siblings at will (we were like 11, 9 and 7 years old and less than 5 feet tall). My dad finally let us…but barely! :) I learned how to be aggressive in the right things and let the others not matter. I learned to be passionate about God, my family (physical and spiritual), people who aren’t saved yet and pour my energy into those things and say no to the things that don’t really matter. (This is an area that I have learned but still need to put into practice far more often!)

These are only 10 things that I learned from my dad, the list is far longer. I wouldn’t trade my dad for anyone else in the world. I’m thankful for him and I’m even more thankful that God chose to give him to me as a dad because I wouldn’t be the person I am today without him. I tell people, especially my students, that I have the best dad in the world because it is true!

Dad, thank you for loving me and even more importantly loving God more than you love me! Thanks for your example too!

I’m thankful that my 2 sons have a grandpa like you to look up to and imitate like I do!

(My dad & I while were serving on a mission trip in Greece in 2004)

(my parents holding Peter & Titus in 2011)

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