By: Libbo Crosswhite
Two weeks before I gave birth to my baby girl, my family had the difficult task of laying my sweet grandmother Ruth to rest. She had suffered multiple illnesses for many years and although difficult to say goodbye, it was somewhat of a relief to see her finally reunited with her family. Saying goodbye to Ruth meant that both of my grandparents and my father were finally together again. It is quite miraculous how God uses seemingly difficult situations to completely change your outlook on life.
My father passed away when I was seven years old, so my memories of him are few and quite honestly vague. As I have gotten older, I have always desired to know more about who he was as a person. I didn’t know a whole lot about my dad, but I did know one thing—his favorite cousin was Sid.
Through the years, it has been a treat to speak with Sid, especially about my dad. As Sid made his way through my grandmother’s visitation receiving line, we began talking about what we both loved dearly—my dad. Sid told me stories I was familiar with, but could hear a hundred times over as if I were a child hearing her favorite bedtime story.
Then, Sid opened my eyes to a story I had never heard before. He began to tell me about meeting with my dad shortly after he was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of brain cancer. Sid explained that my dad was determined to fight—to take every type of new treatment that technology had to offer. My dad was realistic in knowing that he would most likely lose his battle with cancer, but he was determined to fight for time in this world.
My brother and sister were much older and would have memories to cling to after he was gone and he wanted the same for me. My dad fought the hardest fight of his life for his 4-year-old daughter that would have no memory of him should he lose his battle within weeks or months. He fought his battle for me.
As I sat in the car on the way home, I couldn’t help but weep at the lesson God had revealed—a lesson so desperately important to understand weeks before becoming a mother myself. Jesus longs for us to know Him and have a relationship with Him as my dad longed for us to have memories together. My dad suffered through countless procedures and surgeries so that his family could remember how he lived. As Christians, we are called to bring others to Christ through sacrifice—to fight for the kingdom, fight for others to know Jesus, something my dad did for me.
Although my dad wasn’t physically there to witness the birth of my sweet Mary Thomas, who was named after him, the lessons I learned from my dad were with me in the most painful and uncertain moments of my delivery. I felt God reminding me of the sacrifice my dad had made to know me.
I cling to the promise of getting to know my dad when we are one day reunited and am comforted by 1 Peter 2:21, “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.” I praise God every day for the example my father set so long ago and the legacy that he left for our family.