There are many things my Dad taught me that are practicalhow to ride a bike, how to change a tire, how to play lacrosse, but it’s the character-building lessons that shaped me and made me who I am.

There were many of those lessons: be a good steward, be generous, love your neighbor, take care of family, honor those who serve our country, be grateful for every day and be true to your word, but I think the most important lesson my Dad ever taught me was that God loves me.

When we were children, my sister, Carolyn, and I would spend Saturday nights with Dad. On Sunday morning Dad would break out the Children’s Bible and lead his own version of Sunday school. When I was in third grade he gave me my very own Bible, a King James Version that I still read from on occasion. But more than just teach the stories and reinforce the importance of the Bible, Dad taught me about God’s love.

Dad was always there when I needed him: sitting beside me while I was confined to bed rest and making sure my every need was met; standing beside me at the funeral home as I mourned the loss of my nephew, Ryan; walking with me to raise money to defeat Sjgren’s syndrome, the chronic illness that plagues me and my daughter, Anna. Whatever was going on in my life, my Dad was there: reliable, constant and faithful.

Dad’s love for me, like God’s love, was immeasurable, limitless and unconditional. On a retreat many years ago I came to understand that God loves me more than my Dad. It was hard for me to grasp at first, but over time I came to understand that truth. I am forever grateful that my Dad taught me that God loves me. Dad personified Christian loveselfless, others first love; the kind of love our Heavenly Father has for us; the kind of love that never leaves you, never forsakes you; the kind of love that is boundless.

Dad showed me how wide and long and high and deep the love of Christ is for me. Because of my Dad’s love I know a love that surpasses knowledge. My father’s legacy to me was love. I can think of no greater gift.

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