Stories & Blog

A Glimpse of My Dad's Restored Life

Connie Neckers | June 23, 2022

Growing up, I didn't have a great relationship with my father; he struggled with alcohol. Often, he was critical, high strung, hard to please, and pretty scary. I equated him with a grouchy bear and I kept my distance. Sometimes it was hard to remember positive childhood memories — it was mostly a blur.

Thirty years ago when I had been participating in a 12-step recovery program called Adult Children of Alcoholics I could tell that God was healing my heart. He was showing me that my Dad was a sensitive soul who had heartbreaking losses as a young man and had been forever changed during his time of serving in the U.S. Navy. He brought to my mind examples of his generosity and tenderness when around babies and his love for animals.

I knew that I needed to try to form a better connection with my dad and a few weeks before his 68th birthday I felt nudged by God to buy him a sweet little book entitled “Fatherhood” that had been written by one of my favorite authors.

I felt like I needed to inscribe it, but I struggled coming up with something to say. I ended up writing that I was grateful for my life, I thanked him for being my father and I said that I loved him.

Six months later he died unexpectedly after having a heart attack. When I was helping my mom pack up his clothes I found that little book tucked in his dresser. My mom said that he had been deeply touched by my gift.

I was really grateful that I had followed that nudge and given it to him; I am certain that it helped me better deal with his death, without being weighed down with the regret of unspoken words and unfinished business.

I had previously paid for and been scheduled to go on a spiritual retreat a week after the funeral and I debated if I was up to going. Frugality won out and I decided to attend, and I am so glad I did! While there, I had a profound experience of God's incredible goodness.

We had just finished a session and had been encouraged to go back to our rooms to journal or process what we had discussed so far. I was sitting quietly when suddenly, in my mind's eye I saw myself in heaven at a work site with houses in various stages of construction.

I was looking for my dad and I asked a group of the construction workers if they knew Bud Young and they all nodded enthusiastically and one said, "We sure do, he is the best carpenter we have around here. He is the one who is called in to do the most difficult tasks."

He pointed up a ladder and said, "There he is now!" Sure enough there he was, fitting a tricky piece of ornate trim to the peak under the roof. He had on a white construction hat, indicating that he was the foreman.

In real life, my dad had always wanted to be a carpenter. When he had tried to do that type of work when he was young, his father had criticized him, and he soon lost his confidence and stopped trying.

In real life, my dad would ask my husband, who did have some good carpentry skills, to help him with projects but after a few minutes he would lose focus and would wander away to take an extended break to smoke a cigarette or drink beer with the neighbors.

I remember feeling dumbfounded, and when I asked the construction worker how did he have the skills to be able to do this fancy finish work, he replied that he had been taught by the master carpenter himself – Jesus.

I somehow knew that his addictions to alcohol and cigarettes were gone, he was doing the one thing that had been his heart's desire and he was held in high esteem by a group of his peers. Although I didn't speak to him he appeared to be incredibly peaceful and happy.

I became a little weepy I knew in my heart that this was my dad as God had intended, with his pain gone, his chains broken, fulfilling his purpose, living with peace in his heart.

This experience was a game changer for me. I could not have imagined a more perfect eternity for my Dad – I felt I was given such a gift to catch a glimpse of his restored life.

Any residual anger and contempt that I had been holding on to towards my father evaporated. I was filled with joy to see him so happy.

In the Amplified Bible we are told in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that God is all about restoring our lives. It starts the moment we invite Jesus into our hearts and continues on until we are finally safely home in heaven.

"Therefore if anyone is in Christ [that is, grafted in, joined to Him by faith in Him as Savior], he is a new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit]; the old things [the previous moral and spiritual condition] have passed away. Behold, new things have come [because spiritual awakening brings a new life]."

I don't pretend to know how and when my Dad's transformation took place; after his heart attack, he lived for three more days before a second heart attack ended his life. However, I do know a bit about the nature of God, he adores all of his kids and wants all of us to walk in freedom and to be fully alive.

John 3:16-17 (The Message) says,"This is how much God loved the world; He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn't go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts him is acquitted."

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