Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Leaving a Legacy

my dad
My hubby and I were at home one night in early December when the phone rang. I picked it up and I was taken back a bit as the name 'Peter Hiebert' was on the call display. This was my dad's name and he passed away 4 years ago. How could he be calling? But then I was reminded of a dear family friend whose name was also Peter Hiebert. Why was he calling? He had never called here before. I answered the phone and we chatted for a while as he was quite concerned for my mom. He wanted to be sure that her kids were taking good care of her and that she was being well taken care of in the care home that she lived in. I assured him that she was and gently explained how difficult it's been at times with her mental illness, but we were all doing the best we could to look after her.
He wanted to let me know that he felt bad that he couldn't take her out as often as she wanted them to. I told him no worries - cause my mom wants to go out A LOT! - and I told him how special he was and how thankful I had been for him being such special friends to both my parents, and now especially to mom. My mom loves to go out and she phones her kids daily to be visited or taken out. If she can't get a hold of us kids, she called Pete Hiebert or his friend Anne. :)  She knew that she could get away with them letting her eat certain foods she was supposed to stay away from because of her diabetes, her kids were always much stricter with her diet than her friends were. :)  Sometimes I felt sorry for them cause I think she called them just as much as she called her kids at times. :)  There are days when my mom's number is on my phone 7-10 times in one day! oiyahyoy! :)  Mr. Hiebert has been so faithful for so many years taking my parents out, even before my dad passed away, and my mom now when she was alone...he would take her to appointments or out for lunch or supper or just coffee. He cared so much for others and helped my mom a lot. He's been a family friend since as long as I can remember....a very dear friend. We said goodbye on the phone ....and then 5 days later he called again with much of the same concerns "I hope your mom is being well looked after. Is this home the right place for her? I'm sorry we can't take her as often as she'd like cause it's good for her to get out. Too many times children put their parents into a home and forget about them and we don't want that for her. I don't think we'll be able to take her out very much at all anymore." I assured him again that she would be ok and that things were not always as bad as she made it out to be. You see, if her children didn't see her everyday or call her many times a day, well then she never ever saw them. :)  We do see her every week and talk to her every week.
But his concern made me think a bit and I wondered if something was going on in his life. But then I also thought, - 'Mr. Hiebert, who's taking care of you? When you're all alone and something happens to you, who will be there for you?' I knew he lived alone now and I found myself praying for him that week. 2 weeks later I heard that he had been found on the floor in his home and was taken to hospital by the ambulance! I was devastated! I wish I would've talked to him more, went to visit him when he was on my mind, had him over here for a meal...so many what if's went through my mind. Did he know he wasn't going to be alive much longer? Was God preparing me for this through his two phone calls? Was God saying something through him to me and I wasn't listening?? So many questions. He had had a brain aneurysm and never fully recovered, even after surgery, and he passed away exactly a month after his first phone call to me. I had taken my mom to see him in the hospital on Boxing Day and he had been asleep when we arrived. When we spoke to him, there wasn't a response at first. But when I repeated "Mr. Hiebert, it's Lisa." he responded to me! :)  "I have Lena, my mom, here with me and you don't have to worry, she'll be ok, we'll take good care of her." He grunted "uh-huh" and moved his mouth. We talked to him a bit more, held his hand and just sat with him. When we said good-bye, he responded again. Oh I was so thankful! We prayed for him often the next week but on January 7th he passed away. I couldn't help but cry tears of delight because I knew he was finally reunited with his wife and children in heaven, although my heart was heavy for his son Paul who is the last to remain of his family here on earth. But Paul is an amazing man and I know that God will carry him through.

   You see, Mr. Hiebert was a modern day Job. In 1982, his 4 children had been in a terrible car accident, killing 3 of his children and a deep sadness was over him since that day. Their oldest son Paul survived but has lived with a handicap since then. In 1995 his wife Helen lost her battle with cancer. Peter and Paul were always together and they were often visiting people and involved with different ministries, always giving of their time and resources. They loved God and their life was very focused on serving Him. They were continually touching lives and ministering to others with the love of God. I loved this family! I remember jumping on the trampoline with their kids for hours, even being boosted off and landing on my back on the ground..ouch..but something I'll never forget. This loss hit the community so hard. But they were a strong Christian family, everyone looked up to them and each of them were following the Lord. In a newspaper article, they had written "We believe God has a purpose in all of this, that their early death may cause many to turn to the Lord for salvation. Let us all make certain, that we have the Lord Jesus as personal Savior from sin."

Mr. Hiebert had such a heart for all of those around him and yearned for everyone to come to the Lord. At their funeral, singing the song "Because He lives, I can face tomorrow, because He lives, all fear is gone. Because I know He holds the future, and life is worth the living just because He lives", I saw a depth of trust in God that I had never experienced through anyone before. I was 13 years old at the time of this tragedy, the same age as their youngest son Alden. When I graduated from high school in 1987, I had asked Mrs. Helen Hiebert to sew my grad dress for me. She had never been able to enjoy her own daughter's graduation so I wanted to bless her with the opportunity to sew one. Ever so gracious and kind, she took to the task with much love and care. I loved that dress and I still have it to this day. This special time was one we both cherished. I felt like a princess in a royal gown sewn with much love.

I had saved the newspaper article and read it often over the years. We don't always understand why things happen here on earth, but through it all and every tragedy that I hear about, I know that God IS Sovereign and has an amazing plan for everyone who loves Him. This family loved Him. God was faithful and continually gave His comfort, care and compassion. Mr. Hiebert was not a perfect man, he had human faults just like the rest of us, but the steadfast faith he carried with him all his life is one that I desire to have in myself. He was a Job of today....did not curse God in the midst of tragedy and clung to His Savior more and more every day. He never wanted a pat on the back for the things he had done or had been involved in or for anyone to speak too highly of him, he was a very humble man and would always say, "no, it's God."  He always gave the credit to God. :)

I had been asked to share at the funeral home on Friday night with the family and friends. I shared what I just shared with you above, but I also shared that I knew what happened at death's door for my dad in his last moments, was what happened with this Peter Hiebert as well. These were some random verses from Psalm 18 that God had me read when I was sitting with my own dad when he passed away and I shared them that night with the family as they took another meaning for me that day too. Peter Hiebert and his son Paul had been at my dad's funeral. They always encouraged me greatly every time they saw me, they always had a smile and asked me how I was doing, how my family was, how my parents were and they always spoke about God. It always blessed me that Paul always remembered who I was...I was "Heebutt" to him :) - that's how you say Hiebert in German and he often bugged me about how much I talked. :) But these verses I read at my dad's bedside are for Mr. Hiebert too and as he was alone that day of his fall in his home, listening to his praise music, God was there in a mighty way, holding him and guiding him in his last few days here on this earth.

"I love you Lord, you are my strength.  The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection.  He is my shield, the strength of my salvation, and my stronghold.  I will call on the Lord, who is worthy of praise.  The ropes of death surrounded me; the floods of destruction swept over me.  The grave wrapped its ropes around me; death itself stared me in the face.  But in my distress I cried out to the Lord; yes, I prayed to my God for help.  He heard me from his sanctuary; my cry reached his ears.  Then the earth quaked and trembled; the foundations of the mountains shook; He opened the heavens and came down; dark storm clouds were beneath his feet.  Mounted on a mighty angel, he flew, soaring on the wings of the wind.  The brilliance of his presence broke through the clouds, The Lord thundered from heaven; the Most High gave a mighty shout.  Then at your command, O Lord, at the blast of your breath, the bottom of the sea could be seen, and the foundations of the earth were laid bare.  He reached down from heaven and rescued me; he drew me out of the deep waters.  He delivered me."

God had delivered and rescued both of these men and they are now in Heaven with Him. I know this to be true. They both were not perfect, and I knew my dad struggled at times, as I'm sure Mr. Hiebert did too, but both of them knew God and wanted nothing more than to live in eternity with Him and to have their family and friends following the Lord.
Another thing I remember about visiting the Hiebert farm was the large rock that stood on the edge of the field at the end of the driveway. The farm is still in the family, it's owned by a nephew of Peter's and the rock is still standing there, just as you see in this picture. So I didn't even have to think about which Scripture verse to memorize for these next 2 weeks in the Scripture Memory challenge that I'm involved in for 2014...I know that this is the memory verse that God has for me this time. Peter's Rock of Strength and Refuge was, is and always will be the Almighty God.

"The Rock of my strength and 
my Refuge is in God"
Psalm 62:7

On the back of the bulletin for the funeral were these very fitting words for the life focus he had on his difficult journey here on earth:  

"They are before the throne of God and serve Him day and night in His temple and He who sits on the throne will shelter them with His presence. Never again will they thirst, the sun will not beat down on them nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their Shepherd. He will lead them to springs of living water and God shall wipe away every tear from their eyes." 

Amen and amen!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your heart! May God richly bless you, and continue to give you a burden for souls!!