Family Pix

Family Pix

Thursday, August 15, 2013

A Man of Great Faith

As many of you know my wonderful father in law passed away, just over a week ago. All 4 children(Ben-son, Katie-daughter, David-son-in-law and I-daughter-in-law) had the honor of speaking at his funeral. Many of you attended and were able to hear just what a wonderful man he was and how much of an impact he had on the lives of others.
I just wanted to share what Ben and I said at the funeral. May these words speak to your heart and may dad (Charlie) be an example to you of how we are to seek Christ in all we do. As I told my hubby, you can't talk about dad without talking about Jesus in the same breath. I pray that one day I would leave this same legacy for my family. Dad was a great example of a man with amazing faith and obedience to Christ. His example in how he led his life has encouraged me to really examine how I lead my life as a follower of Christ. In all he did, he gave Glory to God.

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

Katie's Speech:
For those of you who don’t know me, I am Ben’s wife (Katie) or as dad called me Rosie. There are many memories that I have, since I have the privilege of knowing dad for 16 years. All of the memories I have, show the character of the man he was.  I would like to share a few memories which stood out to me. Which leads into the first day I met him.
Ben and I both played basketball for Meadow Creek and when we went to away games both the girls and boys team rode on the same bus. I had never met dad before this particular day. As we sat on the bus headed to Chisago Lakes; I noticed that all American stud sitting up at the front of the bus, so I made my way up there to sit by him. Little did I know what was about to happen…As I began to flirt with Ben…A tall white haired man walked up to me and said “Leave my son alone, he has to concentrate on his game.” Let’s just say the first impression of dad left me a bit scared.  
As I started dating Ben this moment stuck in my head, I knew Ben was so important to his dad, his children were important to him. After 6 years of dating Ben, we got married. Until that day I didn’t know just how important his children were to him. In the bible it says that when a man leaves his parents he will become one with his wife. Dad lived this scripture. When I married Ben I became dad’s daughter too, not just his daughter in law; his daughter. That’s how he introduced me and that is how he treated me. I was never on the outside, I always felt I belonged.
The wonderful nickname that a lot of you know me by, which is Rosie was given to me by dad. The story behind this is that one day Ben was not being nice to me so…Dad turned to Ben and said “Don’t be mean to my Rose Bud”. Then the name just stuck. Even until his last days, he would ask for me by asking “Where is my Rose Bud”. A nickname I will always cherish because this showed his deep love for me.
Being a part of his family was always fun and exciting. Especially on those days where he would call me and I would be at Target while grocery shopping and he would say to me wait, I will be right there…And I would be like “why does he want to shop with me?” He would show up and pay for all my groceries… I am sure it always was odd seeing a girl crying in the Target line as my wonderful generous dad would pay for it all. Just one example of his generosity to others, especially his family.
Probably one of my most impactful memories I have is from March of this year. I was told I had to have surgery remove some cysts. I was so thankful that my wonderful husband could be with me for this. But what I didn’t expect was to see dad who had  chemo all day long the day prior and then drove home from Marquette MI over 9 hours while deathly ill to be right by my side for my surgery.  He sat there for 9 hours waiting for my surgery and recovery to be done. He sat there quietly, not complaining (although very ill and suffering), he sat there just being a support, a rock. Through the struggles Ben and I have gone through this year with fertility, he has been there each step of the way. Coming to my appointments with me and advising me. He never left me. Surpassing the duty of a father in law. Each day though struggling to fight for his own life, he didn’t think of himself, he always thought of others and encouraged me to always have faith in God’s timing and in God’s plan for our lives.
The final story I want to share with you happened just about a month ago as dad was in the hospital. Ben and I had drove home from our MN Glory tournament in Indianapolis. When we got there, he was not well but mom had told us that when he was having his chest tubes inserted that dad grabbed the hand of the surgeon and prayed over him as he began to insert the chest tube to give the surgeon wisdom. Then while Ben and I were there one of the doctor’s came in and began to start the exam. But dad had other plans first. He asked the doctor to pray for him. She looked stunned and didn’t know what to say. Dad again asked her to pray for him. She said, what God to you pray to. Dad said, the one true God, my savior Jesus Christ. So the doctor began to pray for dad. Then dad in tears began to pray for the doctor and quoted James 1:6 “But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” Mom, Ben, a nurse, the doctor and I all stood in the room next to dad in tears.  Even in his final days was sharing of Jesus’ love. He had boldness like no other. He was a disciple of Christ, spreading news of Jesus to all who came in his path.
Dad lived what he preached. He wanted each child and grandchild to know Jesus as their personal savior. As it says in 3 John 4 I have no great joy than to hear my children walk in truth. This was dad’s greatest joy.

Finally I would just like to share a poem I wrote for dad….. 
A man with character, strength and grace
A man who would greet each person with an embrace
A man who could withstand any amount of pain
A man that I never heard complain.
A Doctor well educated and full of knowledge
A Doctor that all of his colleagues respect and acknowledge
A Doctor who was devoted to each baby who came into his care
A Doctor full of compassion and was a big teddy bear.
 A Coach who dedicated all of his time to each player
A Coach who ended each game and practice with a prayer.
A Coach who shared the salvation message with each team
A Coach who tried to help each player live their dream.
A husband so loyal, caring and respectful
A Husband always there and always helpful
A Husband  who adored his wife more than words can say
A Husband who always spiritually led the way.
 A dad who showed us how important it was to pray
A dad who led by example every step of the way
A dad who taught us how to walk like Jesus walked
A dad who showed us how to talk like Jesus talked.
A Papa whose kisses were sweet to the touch
A Papa who loved his grandchildren so much
A Papa whose legacy will live in our children’s hearts
A Papa whose grandchildren got his smarts.
I know I will miss him dearly
I can count all the ways.
My father, my friend,
Strong in the Lord until the end.
Ben's Speech:
When you are a little boy, you look at your father like he is Superman…you think he can do no wrong.
As you grow older, you start to look at him as the toughest guy you know…
When I was in the 7th grade I remember having a discussion about our dads’ at the lunch table with Joe Holm, Mike Wiggin and Dan Helm. We were all talking about how our dads would win in a fight against each other…I started coming up with ridiculous scenarios where my dad would win…..we ended up all agreeing that Mikes dad could beat all of our dads up…..although I still secretly thought my dad would win.
Normally when you move on to the High School years, you start wanting to hang out with friends exclusively. I never hit that phase as I just wanted to hang with my dad. When other kids were partying, I was going to movies and going to basketball games with my dad.
Next is college. The party years, supposedly the greatest years of your life as I always heard growing up. Again, all I ever wanted to do was hang out with my dad. This time it was even more basketball games and movies with my dad.
Next stage of life is getting married and starting a family. Almost everyone I know says they talk to their dad/mom once a week/month or in some extremely baffling cases to me…once every 4-6 months.
Apparently I never hit that phase either. I spent the last 9 years of my life calling my father literally every night after work to just talk about my day. If I forgot to call him, he would call pretty much on the dot at 8 pm to ask how my day was and to tell me he loved me.
That’s the thing about my father, he was a man who loved and he had a specific order as well. His order was:
1.    The Lord Jesus Christ
2.    My Mother Cathie Paxson
3.    His Kids: Myself, My sister, My wife, My brother in Law David and my sister Ann Elizabeth who died after birth.
4.    Grandchildren: Addison, Elizabeth and Ethan
5.    His Friends (Glory Players, Work Colleagues, the babies he took care of)
Growing up with my father gives you a full dose of what a Godly man is and how a Godly father/husband should live his life.
How a father will love and cherish his wife and put her above everyone.
How a Godly father will raise his children to love the Lord God Almighty. He will not lie, he will not cheat, he will not drink, he will not chew and he would always add in a joking tone….he will not go with the girls that do. (it is how I chose my wife)
My Dad was a walking Bible, one of the verses he brought me up on was: Exodus 20:12: Honor your father and thy mother; that thy days may be long upon the land, which the Lord thy God has giveth thee”
I spent my entire life trying to honor him and make him happy with my choices.
There are many stories I could tell you to show the side of my father that some people never saw but we don’t have the time.
So I have narrowed it down to several or 4 to be exact.
The first story I always think about is of the White Coffee Mug.
My father loved coffee mugs. I don’t think a Christmas went by in 25+ years where he didn’t request a mug of some sort for Christmas. My first chance to buy him one with my allowance came when I was 6 or 7. I bought him a White Coffee Mug, we were sitting in the car on the way home from church. He was drinking some coffee from a mug he already had that was white. See, I wasn’t too bright as a youngster and bought him basically one he already had. I asked him if he would like another one just like it. His response was “nope” and I said but what if you saw one for a good price…he said “no son, your mom bought me this one, and I love it”. I ran out of the car and up to my room and started crying. 2 minutes later my sister came running up and said “Ben, something bad happened to dads coffee mug”
I looked outside and saw my dad standing in the driveway picking up a white coffee mug that he had dropped and was completely destroyed.
He came in the house holding the mug in like 20 pieces and said “Son, I broke my mug, what am I going to do?”
I smiled and said “maybe Santa will get you one for Christmas dad”
Little did I know that when I went running up to my room crying that my sister said “Dad, Ben bought you a new white mug for Christmas”. I guess it took my dad all of 2 seconds to decide to just break his current one. My father never wanted his children to cry or get hurt.
 The next story of my father is why I view money the way I do.
In the 80’s when I was very young, my dad was working practically 7 days a week, all day for several years. He wanted to amass wealth so that when he died, he would leave a tidy sum to his kids/wife.
He had gotten his wealth over 2 million dollars, and it was obviously growing fast. His financial advisor was a former pastor. Long story short…the man he trusted with the money ended up stealing every cent and fleeing to the Cayman Islands. My father was left with none of the money he spent years accumulating. Hundreds of people had their money stolen by this man. My father had two responses that shape how I look at money.
1.    My father was the only person to not go after the man with lawsuits.
2.    After the initial shock, my father did not let the man anger him, but instead he was angry at himself as he felt the though Lord was teaching him to not seek wealth.
From that point on, my dad found jobs around the country that were willing to employ him at 10 days a month. So he could be with his family the other 20 days.
(Side note: Not a single baby died under my fathers care in his entire career.)
It is because of him that my view is “It is just money”. I could care less how much of it I have. My father passed it out like hotcakes to people, to churches, to missionaries and to kids to play MN Glory or to go to Meadow Creek School.
 The third story I want to share about my father is also from my youth:
I was inside watching a movie and my dad was snow blowing the driveway. He had been trying to clear out a part that was stuck and the next thing I knew was he had cut his finger off.
My mom called 911 and the ambulance was on its way. I went outside to see my dad. He was sitting on their front porch slowly rocking back and forth. Not crying, not panicking. He was just sitting there quoting scripture. He did this for 10 minutes until the ambulance got there.
My father was amazing like that. In times of strife and stress is when my father was at his finest.
The final story I want to share because it is without a doubt the most important story of my father’s life that relates to me.
Again, in my youth, I was at the kitchen table with my family.
My dad prayed for our meal. After he prayed, I asked him why he prayed and he stopped dinner and went and got his Bible. He came back and went over John 3:16 and many other verses. At that moment in my life I chose to devote myself to Jesus Christ. My father had Jesus, and I wanted to be like my father.
You probably noticed that most of the stories I told involve my youth. My youth is when my fathers, Heavenly and Earthly, shaped the man I am today.  It is why I encourage and plead with the young men who my father and I coached to be men of God, be husbands who love your wife more than Christ loved the church. Be Supermen to your children. Be the rocks of your family like my father was the rock of mine.
There are people here today who follow Christ and there others that don’t. I plead with the ones that don’t to accept Christ as your Savior and be there in heaven with my father.
My father he did many great things on this planet and helped MANY people with wisdom, money and counsel. But none of his works on this earth mattered if he didn’t accept Christ as his Savior as works will not get you into heaven. Only accepting the Lord Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior will. I love you dad and look forward to eternity with you and will spend whatever time I have left on this earth trying to honor you.