In the year leading up to my Father’s death, he was in and out of the hospital numerous times. When he was admitted to intensive care three days after Christmas, the doctors pronounced a diagnosis no one was prepared to hear. “Mr. Lowery,” they explained, “your heart is no longer working and there is nothing else we can do.”
What do you talk about when your loved one is only hours from leaving this world? More importantly, what parting words does the person who’s leaving have to say to those left behind? The finality of the doctor’s prognosis brought a different finality to my mind. The words I had longed to hear from my dad would never be said. And it ripped my heart to pieces. Was he really going to die and never say what I had always wanted to hear? It was so gut wrenching, I cried out to God in prayer. This was my conversation.
Me: Lord, my dad is dying and I am never going to hear him say that he is proud of me. I’ll never hear him say I was a good daughter, a good wife and mother or that he is proud of my accomplishments or anything else for that matter. I’m never going to hear any of it.
God: What is it you really want to hear from your dad?
Me: …..(deep sigh)
God: What words do you most want to hear?
Me: I want him to hold my hand, look me in the eyes and say, “Well done daughter. Well done.” That’s what I want to hear from my dad.
God: Sweetheart, you’re never going to hear those words from your dad.
Me: ….(Sighing with tears)
God: But, you WILL hear them from me! You will defiantly hear “Well done” from me!
Immediately my tears of agony flowed in to tears of joy and peace. Although I would never hear those faithful words from my earthly father, the assurance that I would hear them from my Heavenly Father transformed my heart. It healed the wounds I feared would stay a lifetime. God also helped me realize that my dad had never heard those words either. He was on his death bed and had yet to hear anyone say “Well done.” That revelation changed my entire perspective.
The next evening, I was given a divine open door to spend some quality time with my dad. I decided to use it as an opportunity to once again express my gratitude to him for all he had taught me and all the things he had done to help me navigate through life. He was conscious though unable to speak. But I could tell he was enjoying our conversation about old times and crazy stories that ushered in the enduring life lessons I will always be grateful for.
As I stood at his bedside, all I could feel was God’s love for both of us. In spite of a lifelong strained relationship, the only thing that mattered was what mattered most to God. For the first time ever there was no tension or distance between us, only the love and grace of God for a daughter and her dad.
Gazing in to his blue eyes now weak and frail, I squeezed his hand a little tighter. Leaning in closer I softly whispered, “The main thing I came to tell you is, well done Daddy! Well done!” As if finally resting from a long and tiring journey, his entire body surrendered to a place of deep relaxation. Then turning his head towards the window and the moon lit sky, he peacefully closed his eyes and drifted off to sleep. That was the last conversation I had with my dad. “Well done” were the last words he heard me say. A few hours later my father was gone.
All my life I had assumed my dad was capable of giving me what I needed. The years of waiting and not receiving felt like a multitude of rejection, a multitude of insensitivity, a multitude of missed opportunity, a multitude of love withheld. The truth is he simply did not have it to give because he had never received it for himself. But the whole truth is, only my Heavenly Father could say what I needed to hear in a way that would satisfy my soul. Only God could meet the needs of my heart to such a degree that I could give the overflow to someone else.
You see, when we experience the love of God for our own hurts and disappointments, when we receive from Jesus what we are seeking from people, it gives us the ability to know the Father the same way Jesus does. It opens the door to the original God connection Adam and Eve had before The Fall.
My dad waited 78 years to hear someone say “Well done.” But you don’t have to. If you are a child of God, if you have made Jesus your Savior, then rest assured these beautiful words await you as the Last Will and Testament over your life. I pray that realization permeates your heart and mind. I pray it brings complete acceptance and validation as it did to me. God loves you. He cares for you and has predestined you to know him more and more each day.
If, on the other hand, there is uncertainty about your connection to God, you can reconcile all that right now. You can know without a doubt that your mistakes are covered. You can know the peace that comes from complete forgiveness of sin. You can have the guarantee of hearing, “Well done good and faithful servant. Enter in to your Father’s rest.” All you have to do is pray this simple little prayer. In fact, let’s pray it together.
“Heavenly Father, I’ve tried to make the best of what life has given me. Even though I thought I was doing the right thing in each situation, I realize that turning to myself or the world was the opposite of what I truly needed. I realize I should have turned to you. Thank you for being so faithful to bring me to this moment in time. Thank you for ordaining all my steps so I can step in to a new life as your child.
Forgive me for all the ways I’ve tried to provide for my own salvation. Forgive my ignorance, forgive my stubbornness and forgive my complacency. Most of all, forgive my sins. I am truly sorry for all the ways I have misjudged you or misunderstood who you are and the value you place on my life.
I give you the mountain of experience that has hindered me from knowing you and asked that it be crucified on the cross. Father, resurrect me with a new heart, a new soul, a new mind and spirit. I asked for your mercy and peace for the journey ahead. Seal my heart with your Holy Spirit from this day forward. Amen.
If you prayed this prayer, please let me be the first to say, “Welcome to the family of God.” Secondly, please email me and tell me about your experience or send any prayer request and questions you might have to firstname.lastname@example.org
God bless you!