The Words I Said At Penny’s Funeral

When we found out the week after Christmas that Penny had a serious heart defect, we were faced with the possibility that she would die. It was hard as a father to take that. We want our children to live. But we determined to the best of our ability to be good parents to Penny regardless of how much time we had with her, and that meant making choices that were best for her instead of what we wanted. I don’t know that made a difference in any practical way as the Lord left us little to do, but it made a big difference in the way we looked at things, in the words we said, and in the peace we experienced. As parents, we are God’s representatives in our kids lives. And that’s why I wanted to be the last to speak today, because I think that’s what I should do as a parent, even though it hurts.

One thing we wanted was for people to know Penny, and we knew they might not have a lot of time. So for those who followed our journey online, loved on us, prayed with us, believed and hoped with us, I can only tell you how thankful I am for you. Maybe there was some selfishness on our part as it felt good to share this burden with those we love,  but I mentioned to mom the other day how strange it felt that Katie and I were the only ones who got to meet Penny, and she responded that it felt like she was known through us sharing her story, and that made me pretty happy, because I am still a dad proud of his little girl.

Another thing we did was give her the name Penelope Rae, so that she would share a family name with her Aunt Tiffany, who is a godly young woman full of faith and strength, and she is fighting her own battle right now.

Katie had a special responsibility in all of this as Penny’s mom, and I’m really proud of her. I can’t imagine a more difficult thing for a mother to endure than what she went through five days ago, but I could tell when it was over that love and faith are greater than her sorrow, so I know she will be ok.

When Penny died, my heart broke as a father. And if a father was all I was, I suppose there would be no end to the depths of my sorrow. But I am not only a father; I am also a son. A son both adopted into the family of God and a son born again through faith in Jesus Christ. The only reason I can pray to God as my heavenly Father is because God the Father once walked to a gravesite to bury His own Son, who died a terrible death on a cross to save the likes of me. And in just a few days we will celebrate His resurrection, His defeat of death, and His endless Life. Because the footprints left by Savior lead away from the tomb, I know that one day this grave will also be left barren. So today I can bury my child in hope that the grave is not the end of Penny’s story.

At the hospital, Katie said to me that she wished Penny could have known what a great dad she had, which is probably the greatest compliment I could ever receive. I am blessed to have a father who showed me enough of the fatherhood of God for me to want to know God as my father. So I told Katie that Penny is with her real Father, the one that I would have tried to show her. But now I don’t need to show her, because she knows and understands better than I do.

Let us Pray

Father of our Lord Jesus Christ and God of all comfort

May we in this moment of sorrow yet taste and see that the Lord is Good

May our momentary grief be met with everlasting solace

And preserve our tears for the day of Comfort

No pleading is needed from this father

For you are the Everlasting Father

In goodness you granted us a child

And in love you received our child back to Yourself

Our eyes are fixed on You

Our treasure is in the heavenly places

And we continue our journey with the knowledge that Eternity is rushing towards us

And with eternity, our sweet Penny.


4 thoughts on “The Words I Said At Penny’s Funeral

  1. I cried when I read this because Uncle Jim and I also have children waiting for us in heaven. And I wonder sometimes, will they still be babies or in their ‘perfect’ bodies be adults? I would like to be able to hold them in my arms, something I wasn’t able to do here. I know your grief and like you am so blessed to know that one day we’ll be reunited.


  2. lovely words for a beautiful child of God, our Hearts will heal. But little Penny will always be remembered. Love Uncle larry


  3. My thoughts and prayers continue to be with you. Wouldn’t it be cool when you and Katie get to Heaven that Penny gets to show you around! Sure am glad we don’t have to do this lost. Godspeed my friend!


  4. Nate, I want you to know that you, Katie and Penny have been in our thoughts and prayers for some time. Our sincere belated condolences to you and your family. Your faith is strong and will see you and your wife through the challenging times. God bless you all. Jerry and JC

    Sent from my iPad



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