A New Year: Thrive 1/19

a-new-year-thriveOur home telephone rang on the morning of January 1, 2003.
Still recovering from a youth lock-in the night before, I hardly noticed it. The phone was on Sara’s side of the bed, so I did not even move. But after answering the phone, Sara woke me and said I needed to get on the phone with her.
Strange.
My father-in-law was on the phone. Immediately, I felt something was wrong. I could hear it in his voice. Indeed, the news he had to deliver…well, you can’t mask it and talk as though everything is okay.
“Jared, your Dad went for a walk this morning…”
He didn’t have to say anything else. Somehow I knew.
My Dad had died.
I don’t remember anything else that was said.
I dropped the phone, went to the living room, dropped to my knees, and wept. Instinctively, I yelled, “No!” I must have said it a dozen times. My wife came moments later and wept with me.
Up to that point in my life, I’d never really wept over anything. Sure, there had been times I had cried, but I had never experienced loss like this. And I haven’t experienced anything like it since.
My Dad was my best friend. I always felt loved and valued in his presence. And there was a deep sense of warmth and joy when we were together. In an instant, those days were over…
Fourteen years later, I stood in my kitchen surrounded by my wife and kids. I was telling my kids the story of how I asked Sara to marry me (that’s another story for another day). Dad played a key role in that story and so I began to tell my kids about him. And surprisingly, as though it happened yesterday, I suddenly began to weep.
As it turns out, after fourteen years and at a moments notice, I can reenter that world of grief.
Having experienced grief for myself and having observed grief in others while serving as pastor, three thoughts come to mind.
Weep. Jesus wept. There’s a time for us to weep also. Grief is a glorious ruin. We live in a broken world. The Bible takes it as a given people will weep. In weeping we acknowledge things are not as they should be. We are restless for God to set the world right. We join with others and say, “How long, O Lord?” We look at the world as it is and with deep grief, yell, “No!” 
 
Hope. Though we say, “No!” to the world as it presently is, we are assured the brokenness is fleeting. Why? Because Christ has overcome death. One day we will chant with all the saints, “O death, where is you victory? O death, where is your sting?” O, to utter those beautifully powerful words! In hope we boast in the victory of our great God and Savior.
 
Learn. Losing someone often drives us to think more critically about life, our relationships, and our purpose. We realize our time is short and life is fragile. Grief can help us gain greater focus on what matters and clarity on why we are here. Paul encouraged his readers to make the best use of the time for the days are evil (Ephesians 5:15-21). Walking through grief can motivate a person to take this admonition more seriously.
In the end, I remain deeply thankful for the time I had to spend with my Dad. I recommitted to love those closest to me, making the most of the time we have together. And one day, I know I will be reunited with Dad in the presence of Jesus, where there is fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore.
Jared Burt
15826846_10210164748371708_1911672097188963309_n

Dad’s Dinks

This morning I laid out the 4+ years of Dad’s Dinks I still have in my possession. My intent was to pick a few of my favorites and text them to him throughout the day. But as I began reading through them, so many memories flooded my soul and I was overwhelmed with the treasure I have.IMG_2348

 

The enemy is after our children and my Dad knew the value of going to battle for his kids. Exodus 15:3 says, “The Lord is a warrior; Yahweh is His name.” My Dad has been many things to me, including coach, running buddy, youth minister, and boss. However, it is no wonder that sense my Dad is created in God’s image, the warrior is core to his identity and his role. The Bible even talks about children as arrows in their parents quiver (Psalm 127:4-5). Warrior image.

IMG_2351

My Dad started these “Dinks” when I was playing volleyball in junior high, and they continued through college. Many mornings, I would wake up with an index card lying on my dresser. The “Dink” always contained a scripture verse, and usually a thought or two. Miraculously, I held on to them, not fully appreciating their value at the time. I could write a sappy post about how loving my Dad was through these cards (which he was!), but more importantly I want to highlight how he was lovingly teaching me how to fight the enemy.

FullSizeRender (4)

As a parent, I appreciate the discipline it took for him to pen these truths to me. The words shared between a daddy and daughter can never be underestimated. Yes, my Dad taught me to play basketball, to ride a bike, to drive, to waterski, etc. But more importantly, he taught me to fight with the Word. My Dad knew the weighty responsibility he had to impart a spiritual legacy to his children. I have great respect for him and for the godly example he set.

 

So to all the dads out there: the little things matter. They add up to big piles of index cards forever cherished. Happy Father’s Day Daddy.

IMG_2349

To My Husband’s Dad

To My Husband’s Dad:IMG_2338

 

Never before have I have been more thankful for you than as of late. I was blessed to know you for eighteen months, but I feel as though I have known you my entire life. No doubt it’s because your godly character, humor, steadfastness, and as of recently, your love to write poetry, have lived on through your son.

IMG_2339

Your legacy lives on through your grandchildren as well. How much fun you would be having with them…and probably some mischief as well. I miss you. Your sons miss you. And that longing for reunion drives us to the foot of the cross, praising God for the hope we have. What we see and feel is not ultimate. It is not the end.IMG_2341

 

Thank you for modeling to your sons the invaluable gift of disciplined daily bible reading, pointing them to The Rock so they might lead their families well. Your son has become a man I could have never imagined fourteen years ago. God has blessed him immeasurably as he carries your name into the next generation. A picture of you sitting around a campfire hangs in your grandsons’ bedroom. I love to hear your son tell his boys stories of Papa Bo.

 

IMG_2342I honor you this Father’s Day. I cherish your memory as I listen to your son preach the Word he saw you read most mornings. You are a hero in my home and I look forward to eternity spent together. Happy Father’s Day.

IMG_2347