Tears in a Bottle

Posted by Belinda Howard Smith on April 17, 2017 in Relationships |

FredDHowardBooks Seventeen years ago we buried my daddy. Today, I intermittently bawl like a baby as rain falls from the sky and I wonder if God is crying too. He sees my every tear and saves them in a jar.

Today is more difficult because I am removing another piece of Daddy from my shelves. It’s time. It’s time to part with many of his books he used for reference while a seminary student, as a pastor, and as a university professor of religion and Greek.

I’d never considered the ripple effect of his love, his work, until a colleague spoke of it at his funeral. For decades Daddy taught ministerial students – preachers in the making. He counseled them, performed their wedding ceremonies, and sometimes buried their children.

He made an impact. Fred D. Howard was the greatest influence on my life. He was my daddy, the term that reflects affection, that’s who he was to me. I sure do miss him.

And now it’s time to pass on, to another “preacher-in-the-making” some of his books to produce more power to that widening ripple. Some of the books are profoundly marked with underlined text, notes in margins, insights. I’ve kept the numerous bookmarks, perforated strips of dot matrix print paper, right where he left them. The recipient will find them there.

I’ve kept a few books too close to my heart to let go. Though some I’m giving I could use in the future. They need to do more work than sit on my shelves to be occasionally opened.  Most will go, to be used again for reference in preparation for a sermon, or Bible study, or perhaps insight for another writer.

Daddy was a prolific writer. I am blessed to have copies of the numerous books and commentaries he authored. I can no longer ask him a theological question, which he typically answered something like, “the Catholics interpret it as … the Presbyterians as… the Baptists as…” and left it at that. Those experiences taught me to think and to form my own opinion. Now when I want to gain a clearer understanding of a New Testament concept, I simply open one of his books. His writing style, his voice is right there. How blessed is that?

Greater than Daddy, is my Abba Father, God. When I want to spend time with Him I can sit quietly or I can pull out His Word, the Bible, penned by men inspired by God, and I can read it.

Though God has a book He continuously writes in:

“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book” (Psalm 56:8).

He Knows My Name

I Have a Maker

by Paul Baloche

I have a maker
He formed my heart,
before even time began
My life was in his hands

He knows my name
He knows my every thought,
He sees each tear that falls
and hears me when I call

I have a father,
he calls me his own
He’ll never leave me,
no matter where I go

He knows my name
He knows my every thought
He sees each tear that falls
and hears me when I call


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  • Judy Gattis says:

    What a beautiful tribute to a great man. I was privileged to know and work with him. You are blessed

  • Thank you for your kind words and for taking the time to do so. It’s encouraging to hear about the impact my dad made on others’ lives, as well as to hear about him from a different perspective. I appreciate your thoughtful response.

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