My Tribute to my Father-in-law

As some of you may know almost a year ago my father-in law left us unexpectedly. Today, I wanted to share with you my tribute to him. I want to share my relationship and well basically all bundle of thoughts and feeling in written words.

First, off if you never got to meet him I am sorry..He was a great man. He had this love that is very hard to explain but I will try. His love is much like I imagine the love of Christ. You see

more often you wouldn’t even realize it till you were caught in the middle of it. He loved you for who you were, he loved even if you weren’t nice to him or if you had done him wrong. His love was very forgiving.

But it was done in quiet. He showed it through kind deeds, quiet conversations, a hug coming from nowhere and for no reason, a phone call out of the blue to see how you where doing, an extended hand to help with anything that might lighten your load (and I do mean anything from tackling 13 grandkids at once, a place to stay, caring for elderly, his reputation up for your 10,000 chance at a new start, a ride, and much more)

I only was blessed to spend a short part of his life with him but it has certainly changed my life in unmeasurable ways. To start I learned about that love I talked about earlier which helped me understand more about how God loves us unconditionally and in many ways.

Also, I learned what a real father looked like. I didn’t have a father growing up, so all the talking in the Bible about our relationship between father and child. Well it didn’t really click, so I just replaced it with mother-chlid relationship.

But to be honest. There is a difference and I learned that through him and his example. Seeing the slow to anger, carefree like things just roll off. (I cannot really describe it adequately but if you didn’t have a father growing up or had one but they were unloving, please pray God will send someone your way so you can see it) But his example help me understand the Heavenly Father’s relationship and/or desire for relationship with me.

His relationship with his wife spoke volumes to me. Coming from a single-parent home, I really thought marriage was supposed to be a fairytale. But I saw the closeness that comes from marriage and loving one person for the rest of your life. I saw how he was quick to the defence of his wife, I saw how he had the desire to work on problems that they encountered, how concerned he was for her feelings when she was upset.

I seen how two people can work towards a marriage that is fulfilling for both people, I seen how you really can have way more good days than bad ones (almost like a fairytale 🙂 ) I seen how he stood beside her and had her defence even if he didn’t totally agree (but you wouldn’t know it) and wait to talk about the different opinions privately. I seen that there is such a thing as soul mates, where two people complete each other perfectly.

I learned a lot about marriage from him and my mother-in-law. I have learned a lot from my mother-in-law about the role as a wife but I will save that for another post. And I know my husband has learned a lot about how to be a husband from his father because I feel that same love from him and I get to see his dad too through him. (he looks a lot like his father)

I also learned what it meant to be a better friend from him. He loved relationships with people, (you have to, to let 5 or 6 of them live with you 🙂 ) He accepted them with all their faults and never acted as if he was better than them. And was always very understanding when they talked about their problems even if they were over exaggerated.

He was my mentor as well. I would call him to talk about a problem or if I just needed to talk to someone about my problems. And he listened and seemed to always give just the right advice and say just what I needed to hear to make my problems disappear. I know it is selfish but I miss our phone calls. Some days I try to think ,if I called him today about this what would he say…it’s just not the same.

Also, he was very honest and humble. He would never say he was wise, but he was. He didn’t try to pretend to be something he wasn’t. We came from similar church backgrounds and that particular background has a lot of do’s and don’t and even if you do it and it is on the don’t list you are not supposed to let anyone know. (It’s more implied than spoken guideline)

But he was real and real isn’t 100% perfect. Real is accepting and confessing our flaws, aiming for perfection even though we fail and giving it all to Jesus. Real is more about a relationship with our Lord, over perfecting our works. He was real and I learned how to be real through him by him being used as a vessel by God. I learned how to ask Jesus to break down the religion aspects that I had learned and accept the relationship God wants for me.

Oh I miss him so much, if I could only have one more hug. But I know God needed him. Oh how thankful for the time I did have with him. Oh how I look forward to when we meet him again. I can imagine when that time comes he will be there with Jesus with his arm around Jesus like they were just hanging out  drinking coffee waiting for us to meet them.

But until then I hope that God will use me to show the love of Jesus. That I will be a vessel to which Jesus flows freely out of me and touch everyone I encounter. I pray my friends that you have an opportunity to meet someone like that your life will not be the same. Be Blessed.



  1. Oh, Sara, how beautiful. I am crying as I read this post and type this reply. I didn’t know him well, however, everything you said about him, I had already known. He wore it on his face and in his actions. Thank you for sharing this with us. Love you and your family and think of all of you often.

  2. I’ve been thinking about Diaz alot lately even yesterday I saw some guy walking down the street messing with his hair and it reminded me of him. You did a great job describing him! He was an awesome guy with one of the biggest hearts I’ve seen! This is beautiful Sara, keep sharing your heart!!

  3. Interesting what you said, I had similar experiences. Although, for me not growing up w/ a dad I always was encouraged about what the bible said about having a heavenly father. While I may not have had an experience of a close relationship w/ an earthly dad, I always was glad I was not alone and was able to experience that guidance and love from God. I also felt like Diaz filled a fatherly role in my life too. It was great to have the opportunity to have him to go to when needed.

    I also second what you said about Donna and Diaz’s marriage. It was great to see a couple who made it work, even when it was hard.

    Thanks for sharing so many of the same feelings I had! This is what I think so often “Oh I miss him so much, if I could only have one more hug.” 😦

    Love ya!

  4. Hi Sara, I met Diaz the first time at a clinic in Indiana long before I was ever a student at Teen Challenge. What I remember the most about him was that from the first time I saw him–I knew that he was different from the other people I saw there. He had a quiet, assured confidence that drew me to him. I trusted him. He was a counselor and I was a huge mess!!! I remember finding myself in his office several times…I couldn’t stay out of trouble then– in that environment, being sent from my counselor’s into his office was the equivalent of being sent to the Principal’s office. He was kind to me. I am sure I had a horrible attitude, but he always treated me with love and patience. I remember that he was the first person to ever suggest going to Teen Challenge to me. The Milford location was not even thought of at that point. I remember that he had a picture of Jesus laughing on the wall in his office and I knew in my heart that it was Jesus that made him stick out so much inside that clinic. He was rough on me—told me that I was spoiled and selfish and needed to get real…He was right!!! Not sure why, but I never felt offended…just knew that he was the “Real deal” and (as frustrating as I was) I knew that he saw me—the real me…not just an addict. Now, I used for years after that, but I never forgot him…He was the first person to tell me that I could be free…I NEVER forgot that. Just wanted you to know!!! —All of my Love

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