Nourish My Soul

He holds the Bible in his life-worn hands- this book as familiar to him as breathing.

A life devoted to the study of the Word of God, but no longer able to read and comprehend the words.  It is the greatest sadness for me to watch my Daddy and see that he is unable to gain sustenance from this well that never runs dry.

And yet, these words ring in my heart~ “…so is my word that goes out from my mouth:  it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11- NIV)

As my Daddy forgets more and more, I find myself seeking out his old Bibles.  I want to remember the man that he was.  And as I do this, I find gifts and treasures that I never could have imagined.

Those years of study?  They are all recorded in his files upon files of sermon notes.  They are in the margins of his Bibles, in the underlined passages of his favorite books and in the memories of his daughters, his wife, his congregations, his friends.

I am currently reading through The Book of John in my Inductive Study Bible and decided to open my Dad’s Bible to see what he had written about the same things that I am reading.  And it is like he is sitting with me in my living room, sharing what he has gleaned from the same passages that God is using to challenge my heart.

When my Daddy wrote “May the will of God be my food and nourish my soul”, I am sure he wasn’t thinking about his daughter reading those words during her personal study twenty years down the road.  He could not have imagined that the will of God for his life would be losing his mind or that he would be in a nursing home- the same places he had visited frequently during his years as a pastor to pray with and encourage the residents.

This process of slowly losing my Dad is actually a gift.  Would I appreciate the words that he wrote so faithfully if I wasn’t losing him now?  Would I feel compelled to record his life story or to share the rich legacy that he is leaving behind?

One of my favorite memories of my Daddy is the index cards and pens that he always carried in his pocket.  He was always ready to write something down.

As I recall those memories with fondness, I am challenged!  What legacy am I leaving for my children?  My daily devotion time is no longer just about me.  The great thoughts are worth recording, because God might want to use them in my children’s lives.

My Daddy is still teaching me- and this time the lesson is to be deliberate about leaving a legacy for my children.  Upon their graduation from high school or college or maybe even their wedding day, my desire is to present each of my children with a Bible that I have worked through- a record of what the Lord has taught be through His Word.

I pray that it is not God’s will for me that I would walk the road of alzheimers- it is a horrible way to lose a loved one.  But I want to be faithful NOW in this time that I have been given.

My Daddy was faithful with his life not knowing what his final years would bring.  And I am blessed because of it!

May the will of God be my food and nourish my soul!
~Lance Mills