Yesterday was a special day in my family, as I know it was in Mary Joy’s family: yesterday was Will’s first birthday in the Presence of God. In so many ways, it was a quiet, reverent day for me as I looked back and remembered that day last June when my family was able to spend time getting to know Will, Mary Joy, Annie, Josh, and Michael for the first time; it was the day that the relationship we had online moved to a real-life, face-to-face, friendship!
How precious and fragile is this life – - – and how important it is to take each day as a gift.
I took for granted that this special day could be just one of the first of many times that we were going to be able to spend together. How was I to know that less than a month later our precious friends were going to be in the car accident that changed so much? On that day in July, Will was ushered into the Presence of God while Mary and the boys survived as living miracles of God’s healing and Grace.
I asked Mary if I could share my heart about how meeting her Will has touched my life and my family. Thank you, Mary, for this opportunity to share my heart and, in my own small way, pay tribute to the life and legacy of this special man of God.
It’s hard to know how to start this post – - – how can I in mere words share with you how Will Pershing impacted, and even to this day, still impacts, my life and the life of my family?
Yesterday would have been Will’s 46th birthday, so I felt like God would have me write 46 ways he made an impact on my life. 46 things I remember about Will. 46 things that will always mean “Will Pershing” to me…. even though I only met him once face-to-face in his home.
He was a man who made an impact on me, even in the short time I was blessed to know him…..
Here is my list, in no special order:
- Meeting Mary Joy THROUGH blogging – and gaining a sister of the heart
- Being able to blog WITH Mary here on this website that he gave her as a gift
- Ministry opportunities through the written word – through blogging (see the blogging theme?) and Facebook
- Cherishing the Bible as your primary treasure in this world
- How to share the Treasure we have in God and His Word with others
- Learning the Books of the Bible THROUGH singing
- Using the Word of God to lead your family and make Godly decisions
- How to lead your family in family devotions
- Using media to bless your family
- Using media to bless others
- Being honest about your struggles as a person
- Knowing that in our weaknesses, HE is strong in us
- What it looks like to love your wife – in the way she needs you to
- How to be a great co-parent of your child – and enjoy the time you have with your daughter
- How to be a great step-father - and then grow as the primary daddy of two boys who needed him so much
- How to support your wife as the mother of the children in the home
- How to teach your kids to respect women – by respecting them
- What it looks like to be strong and tender at the same time
- How to be a servant leader
- How to initiate family traditions
- How to make your kids laugh
- How it looks to reassure your wife of your love and fidelity
- How parenting means getting down on the level of your child to reach their heart
- How to reach and teach your kids
- How to have FUN
- How to laugh at yourself
- How to connect with others – and make your home a place of outreach to your community
- The music of Nathan Clark George
- Unconditional love
- Homemade salsa
- Homemade chili
- No-bake oatmeal cookies * See recipe below*
- Heart of Dakota Homeschool Curriculum
- A wife – his Mary Joy – who has drawn on his love and the Truth he shared with her to walk this new, unfamiliar road with peace in her heart
- A daughter – his Annie – who loves God and desires to serve Him more than anything else
- A son – his Josh – who got to experience the real, safe love of a daddy
- A son – his Michael – who knew no other daddy but his safe daddy
- How to make family your primary ministry
- Diet Pepsi (we liked the same soda pop!) and Iced tea
- How to draw healthy boundaries
- How to focus on building relationships more than your resume or your bank account
- How one decision in time can change your destiny
- How to focus on the important stuff – and let the other things go
- What it means to leave a Godly legacy
- Most importantly, …. that when you leave this world and see the face of God, your legacy as a man or woman of God lives on in the lives you touched, the loving words you left behind, and that when you invest your life in the the lives of others, the ripples of your influence continue to spread out farther and farther until we all reach Heaven.
Thank you, God, for the gift of my brother in the Lord, William Pershing.
Husband to Mary.
Father to Annie, Josh, and Michael.
Loved son, brother, uncle, friend….
Man of God.
Thank you, Will, for your legacy. I am honored and blessed beyond words for all that you did to impact my life in the time that I knew you.
Grateful for you and your care for me and my family even on the day that we came to visit you – - – because of you, we were directed to take shelter from that storm that almost make us cancel our visit. There is no way to know if you kept us from experiencing harm that day – - – thankful for you listening to God’s leading and watching the storm for us, guiding us through the storm to safety, and eventually to your front door, unharmed and grateful.
God’s Presence was so real that day. I think we all knew it. Such a special, almost holy, time where You, Father God, were in our midst. Such a gift for us to meet one another. To have you impress God’s Truth upon our hearts. To see the family God had given you to serve and love in your unique and Godly way.
To a man who finished the course and kept the Faith – - – well done, Will, well done.
New International Version (NIV)
23 The Lord makes firm the steps
of the one who delights in him;
24 though he may stumble, he will not fall,
for the Lord upholds him with his hand.
2 Timothy 4:6-8
New International Version (NIV)
6 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness,which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
* No-Bake Cookies Recipe *
Courtesy of Annelyse Pershing, Will’s daughter
Cook 2 c. sugar, 2 T. Cocoa, 1 stick butter or margarine and 1/2 c. condensed or evaporated milk.
Remove from heat and add 1/2 c. peanut butter, 1 T. vanilla and 3 c. oatmeal.
Stir well until mixed and drop by teaspoonful on waxed paper. Let cool.
* I enjoyed making and eating some of these cookies yesterday when thinking of Will – and his life. May you be blessed – by the Love of the LORD! *
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