I asked Michon Franks Henegar if I could post her tribute to her daddy, Pastor Ray Franks that she had posted on her Facebook page. Pastor Ray passed into the arms of Jesus on Jan. 25th, 2014. Ray was the founding pastor of Evangel Christian Center in Albuquerque. If you did not know Pastor Ray Franks you really missed out on this super duper man of God! I love this man, I also worked for him for a bit at the TV station, I did the news. I also did a TV ministry program for a couple of years on his TV station and got to know Ray’s heart, mind and soul. When God called me out of radio, Ray gave me great advice as God launched me and Sharon into FGGAM. Two things really stick with me on the wisdom he shared. Number one is, always pray for the Lord’s Will to be done, not yours. Number two is, don’t start Church in Albuquerque, there is a church on every street corner and some only have a hand full of people. Stay focused on what God has shown you, carry out the Great Commission. Amen! I get asked almost every week, “Where is your Church?” I always respond, “It is all over the world.” Sharon and I have been at FGGAM for almost 11 years now, carrying out The Great Commission. Just a couple of other notes on Pastor Ray, he was the first radio host on KKIM Christian radio in 1972, the station I managed up until 10 1/2 years ago. Ray obtained a license to build KAZQ, Channel 32 Television, which today reaches nearly all of New Mexico, parts of northeastern Arizona, and southwestern Colorado with family oriented and inspirational programming. He was the founder of KLYT radio, building the station from the ground up, using used equipment and equipment donated by other broadcasters. Ray needs to be in the New Mexico Broadcasters Hall-of-Fame! I know he is in God’s Hall-of-Fame!
It was a cold Saturday in January and I got up that morning knowing that the day I was getting ready to face would be one of the most heart wrenching days of my life.
I remember standing and facing myself in the mirror, as tears streamed down my face, and I tried to get ready for the day.
Our family packed into the car and headed to the hospital. There we stood as the doctors and nurses coached us through the process of what would happen as my Dad would take his last breath on this earth and his first breath in heaven.
We embraced that morning with last words, final hugs and kisses, and I took the comb and ran it through his hair one final time. I stood holding His hand with one of my hands, and I placed my other hand on His chest, so I could feel his heart beat.
Music was playing in the background, and as the song said “Your Grace Finds Me,” the finality of earth happened and eternity began for my Dad.
I remember standing there in that hospital room knowing that life had just changed for our family and it was not something I could repair or fix. I would have to make many adjustments. This wasn’t my first time to loose a parent, but now they were both gone.
As I sat at the funeral so many things were said about my Dad, he was remembered fondly by many. Words that were used were Faithful Leader, Loving Father, Great Pastor, Wise Mentor, and the list continued on. It made me think, what would people remember me by?
I have pondered those words for the past nine years. My perspective has changed as I know that life is such a small time frame we are given and I will choose how I move through it and use it.
As I look in the pages of my Bible, I am reminded of so many stories of God’s grace and provision.
Gideon saw God in what seemed like an impossible battle!
The King saw God when Daniel was in the lions den untouched.
Ruth saw God’s favor when she moved from her homeland to an unfamiliar place and met Boaz.
Hannah saw God as she poured out her heart to Him and was given her son Samuel.
The 3 Hebrew children saw God show up in the fiery furnace as they walked out without their close being burned or even smelling like smoke.
In all of these stories we see triumph rise from tragedy. God was glorified in the battle, in the field, in the presence of lions, in the unfamiliar, in the anguish, and in the presence of fire.
I have learned from my personal loss, intermingled with other tragedy, that we all face those unexpected life moments, but I say with boldness and confidence, that I have seen God in my life as my story has unfolded with moments of pain and uncertainty.
When I embrace the fire of affliction under His perspective, He changes my outlook and my heart. I can share my victory through the trial, knowing that just as my Dad experience grace on that cold January day, so I have received grace in my unknown moments.
The prayer of my heart is that as I have surrendered these moments to Him, I would rise up with new determination to walk in the favor of God. I want to live my life well.
I believe that my Dad heard the words “well done” that Saturday in January and I pray that I will run my race well as a warrior for God alone, reminding others that He is the river in the desert, the rain in the drought, and that He can and will make beauty from ashes.
Today my heart is filled with gratitude for what I learned from that cold January day. Today I say, “My Dad is healthy and whole in heaven, and grace has triumphed over grief.”
I Corinthians 15:55-57, “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”…….But THANKS BE TO GOD! He gives us the VICTORY through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Psalm 116:15, “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his faithful servants.”