A Letter to My Dad on Father’s Day {Finding Life :: A 30-Day Challenge}

Dear Dad,

I haven’t seen you for the last 17 Father’s Days.  That seems  hard to believe.  I had a dream about you after we said good-bye here on earth.  You were riding in some wagon –maybe horse-drawn.  You looked like you were in your 20’s but your smile told me everything …it was the biggest I’ve ever seen.  I had peace in knowing you were having the time of your life.  Your faith was seen as sight.

I was thinking about you a lot this weekend with Father’s Day coming up and I thought I’d tell you how much you mean to me and how much I love you. I want you to know, the life you modeled for me spoke louder than any sermon you ever preached.

Growing up on the farm in Inman, South Carolina, in the 20’s and 30’s gave you a great foundation for real life.  You learned to work hard, save your money, and live within your means.  Loyalty and love for family was deeply important to you.  As we drove that hour or so  drive up that long road from Laurens to Inman every Monday night to see your Mom and Dad, I learned about sticking together as a family …holding on to each other through the seasons of life.

As best I remember,  you told  us about being in the woods as a young boy when “God got a hold of your heart,” as some would describe it.  You mentioned your mom, (Grandma Carrie Waters)  praying earnestly for you — tears falling as she ironed her clothes that day.  God answered the prayers of your mama’s heart and you surrendered to follow God wherever He wanted you to go.

Part of that path would lead you to meet Mama and marry her in 1943.  Well-done, Dad!  You picked one of the best in the world!

Wedding photo (1943)

When you and Mama left your home state of South Carolina and moved to California to receive Bible training for the days ahead of being a pastor,  I know that must have been hard to leave your family.  California might as well have been a foreign country to you and Mama during those early days.

I thought a lot about you and Mama when Roger and I picked up and followed God to move to Massachusetts to start a church back in 1990.  I found myself relating to your pioneer spirit as we experienced the joys and sorrows of leaving all to follow God.  You taught me a lot about that.  You took up your cross and followed Jesus …no turning back.  That gave me wings to do the same when it was my turn.  Thank you, Dad!

After finishing Bible School and being a part of God’s call in  starting 4 churches in California, you did another brave and courageous thing and moved back  across the country to South Carolina to start Faith Baptist Church .  You had 4 small children at the time.  I learned from that.  The family together …following God …serving Him faithfully.

Getting the Good News of Jesus Christ to as many as possible was the most important thing in your life, I believe.  Using the technology of your day, you utilized the printed word wherever possible like  “The Missionary” and “The Baptist Bible Trumpet”  that went out all over the state and  beyond.

On a side note, you would love the computers we have today.   If that machine you bought in California to make your own records was the coolest thing since sliced bread, laptops and printers and cell phones would put another big smile on your face !  You would see it as another way to get the gospel out all over the world.  Funny thing, your kids and grands are doing just that with the technology God has provided in our time.  You’d be proud of that.

I remember waking up in the morning and looking in your room.  Before the day had even started, you were on your knees beside your bed …praying.  I learned from that.  Prayer is deeply embedded in my being.  Thank you, Dad.

You and Mama read Scripture at breakfast.  I have that large print Bible you used with the check marks above the chapters you had read for that day.  You must have gone through the New Testament and Psalms many, many times together.  I learned that God’s Word is powerful and needed for daily bread.  Thank you, Dad.

Lunch time brought you home from the church office for good food and a siesta, as you called it.  You understood the value of a power nap before it ever became popular.  It’s how you managed to sustain your energy for the day.

After lunch you and Mama would kneel by the couch in the living room and pray together.  You showed me that prayer needed to happen a lot throughout the day.   Thank you, Dad!

Supper was a favorite of your’s, I do believe.  Mama always made the best food but I loved watching you eat that cornbread and milk after many-a-meal.  Of course, strawberry shortcake was always a favorite as well — especially on special occasions.  I can still see you at the table…a symbol of security and faithfulness in my life.  Thank you, Dad.

Mama and Daddy with many of their grandchildren around 1987

You taught us about following God wherever He leads and you trusted Him to provide all along the way.  He did just that.  My memories of you preaching behind the pulpit at Faith Baptist are precious to me.  It’s what God made you to do.  You served Him well in that same place for over 40 years. Longevity.  Faithfulness.  Endurance.  Life!

Dad (John Waters) at Faith Baptist Church, Laurens, South Carolina (Photo by Mrs. Loretta Woods)

I’m forever grateful that you took me along with you on those afternoon visits to those in need.   As I watched you love and minister to people of various backgrounds, I learned to love others …especially the poor and under-resourced.  You taught me much about that.  You had a big heart for those who were considered the “under dog” …the poor …the  simple and humble in spirit.

Today,  Roger and I  live in a neighborhood much like the ones you took me to as a child.  I’m very comfortable talking to people in just about any situation.  I learned a lot about that from you and I’m so thankful, Dad!  You taught me to walk with the poor …to love them right where they are …and to tell them the Good News that Jesus saves!  Life!

I miss being with you but your life and legacy live on inside of me in many ways.  You were a good dad and I love you very much!  I’ll see you and Mama on the other side!  Life!

Today’s Challenge:

If Daddy were here today, he’d ask you if you knew Jesus as your Savior and Friend.  Do you?   The Heavenly Father is waiting for you to talk to Him.  Today’s a great day to let Him in …especially on Father’s Day.

And if you’re already walking with Jesus, is there someone you’ve been praying for who needs to embrace the love of the Father?  How about letting them know that the Father in Heaven loves them dearly and is waiting with open arms to bring them into His family.  It’s a great day for that too!

#Day17 ~ Finding Life :: A 30-Day Challenge

5 thoughts on “A Letter to My Dad on Father’s Day {Finding Life :: A 30-Day Challenge}

  1. Pingback: Church {Finding Life :: A 30-Day Challenge} | a life-giving moment

    • Thank you, Nancy. That was sweet of you to read this long post and respond 😊. I think it was good for my heart to talk about Daddy. Thank you for your encouraging words… that means a lot. Love you!!


  2. Truly a beautiful testimony to your mother and father! ❤ I'm at work today catching up on A Life Giving Moment during some down time and feeling myself fill back up in the process. Thank you!


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