Friday, May 26, 2017

Remembering Jeff


I think it all began over football in 2012. Being a relentless Packers fan (and owner), I would continually spout off on Facebook about NFL activity each week. As a member of the same contributing group of writers as I, Jeff Davidson saw my posts and eventually had to jump in with his comments. 

Prior to that I hadn't really known this fella, but with his characteristic spunk and sass, we became fast friends.

Having read his touching words via his own personal blog, Goodnight Superman, I knew that I wanted to invite Jeff to contribute to our devotional blog when we opened it to other writers in 2013. His relationship with Jesus was something that other dads walking the same path so deeply needed. And to this day, I haven't seen another man in this nation who has a heart for dads raising exceptional kids like he did.

If parenting a child with a disability, chronic illness, or special needs is isolating, leading a ministry to these families is even more so. There are few I have been able to commiserate with and consult in my role over the years who truly "get it." Having both answered God's call to serve around the same time, Jeff and I found we had much in common. Our organizations were around the same size. While he was in the South, I was here in the frozen North. Jeff was always far more of a visionary than I, having the people and financial resources to make many of those visions become reality. Yet, he was never competitive or back-biting like so many sadly are in ministry. 



Jeff introduced me to his beautiful Becky via video conferencing and our friendship continued to grow. We shared ideas and problem-solving. The two of them never hesitated to share systems they were using that worked and encourage me as a fellow leader. It was my tremendous privilege to lead a Facebook study of his book, No More Peanut Butter Sandwiches, with Becky shortly after it was released. Ever the humble and grateful one, Jeff just had to make sure that I saw that he had listed me in the acknowledgements of the book. It is I who was truly humbled -- He was always so much more than I could ever hope to be as a leader.

I was also very honored when he and Becky flew me down to speak at their By-The-Brook Retreat in the summer of 2015. It was so great to hug them in person and meet so many wonderful people at the event. I seem to recall that Jeff had just overcome one of his many medical episodes right before that retreat. Those issues always seemed to loom over him and at the most inopportune times.

Despite the trials, the laughter and sass between us continued to give us buoyancy as we served. At one point, we had a hilarious battle between Chick-Fil-A versus Culver's -- South versus North. When he heard a Chick-Fil-A was finally opening within driving distance of my house, of course he had to tease by sending a gift card. I did the same when Culver's opened in his area. He DID have to finally confess that the butter burgers and frozen custard are matchless.

Living as far apart as Tennessee and Wisconsin became much more difficult and painful as our friendship grew. I wanted to do so much more for Jeff and Becky than merely send our signature TLC baskets and gift cards from Snappin' when the medical issues were unrelenting. As a fellow parent of warrior kids, my inclination was to get on a plane, roll up my sleeves, and give them practical help. Prayers have continued to pour over them both personally and from our confidential prayer team throughout the years. 

If I have any regrets, it would be that I let the busy-ness and demands of life get in the way of talking to Jeff more this past year. He was a light in the world, even in spite of his trials. I always came away from conversations with him feeling brighter in spirit.

I am honored to have called Jeff Davidson a colleague, friend, mentor, and brother in Christ. Until we meet in heaven again soon, I pray that God will show him what a difference he made in the world around him. And may the Lord also guard, guide, and comfort Jeff's precious Becky and Jon Alex in his absence.

Here are some of the highlights of Jeff's past contributions to this blog...
  1. Just Leave It There - March 10, 2014
  2. A Christmas Letter to Mom - December 9, 2013 (This was one of our top posts for the year!)
  3. Here In The Room - July 14, 2014
  4. I'm Overwhelmed! - August 31, 2015
  5. In all things? - November 25, 3013
  6. Taking a Walk on the Dark Side - June 27, 2014
  7. No More Peanut Butter Sandwiches - February 10, 2014 (The precursor to Jeff's October, 2014 book release NO MORE PEANUT BUTTER SANDWICHES)

The memorial service for Jeff Davidson will be held at The River Community Church of Cookville, TN on Saturday, May 27th, 1:00 PM, CST. The service will be broadcast via Facebook LIVE on Rising Above Ministries' Facebook page.

Leave your memories and tributes to Jeff Davidson 
in the comments below.


6 comments:

  1. Jeff, you are dearly missed. You poured love into so many people, most of all into your family. Praying for Becky and Jon Alex.

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  2. I never had the privilege of meeting Jeff in person, but his tremendous accomplishments as an advocate, father, disciple and writer and husband have always made me feel "honored" to be in his "circle" of distant acquaintances with whom we share a common theme ... our brokenness and our dependence on God is what makes us whole. I'll meet you in Heaven someday, Jeff. And to Becky - I'm praying for you and your beautiful son as you adjust to this next part of your journey. May God show you his mercy and love.

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  3. I wish I had met Jeff in person. His heart for his family was so evident through his writing. It always took my breath away. I pray that Jeff's words and life will continue to inspire fathers everywhere. May his legacy of love continue. God's peace to Becky and Jon Alex.

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  4. I, also, never had the privilege of meeting this humble servant of God but am very familiar with his writing. How he blessed us with his tender heart and his passion for his family and disability ministry! Praying for all who mourn his loss in this earthly life especially his wife and son. I'm sure he was welcomed home with a robust well done thy good and faithful servant!

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  5. Like so many others in the disability ministry world, I never met Jeff. But I also felt like I knew him well. I cannot believe this fellow soldier is gone and it hurts to try and accept his loss. Becky and Jon Alex - I respected, admired, and will miss your dad. None of my feelings toward him can ever compare to yours; I think they just add to the pile of hurt. While we trust him to God's loving hands and eternal grace, we also entrust you two to a community that loves you by that same love and grace.

    "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." - John 14:27

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  6. Thankful for a life well lived for God's glory on this side of heaven. Grateful for Jeff's testimony of being faithful to take what God had given him and use it for His glory. May His life and words continue to have eternal impact on others. Praying that God comforts the hearts of Becky and Jon Alex and gives them the assurance that He will give them the grace to walk this tough journey.

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