As a young child, I grew up in a small town in Alaska. My mother was an alcoholic and physically abusive. My father was abusive in every manner possible. Simply put, my three sisters and I did not have a good example of a father or mother.
Skipping ahead quite a few years, when my daughter reached the age I was when my father started abusing me, I started seeing a therapist. His advice was to invite my father to a session and tell him face to face how his actions had damaged me. After the session, my father disowned me. I never heard another word from or about him until his death.
Being a single mother in the early 80s, I knew I was missing something, and so was my daughter. So, we joined a church. Over the years, I worked in three different capacities at my church, preschool director, secretary and then accountant. I also served on many committees, occasionally cooked Wednesday night meals, sang in the choir and taught Sunday School in the preschool department. From the outside I looked and acted like all the other church members. In my heart I knew something was missing, but I didn’t know what it was. I thought I was doing everything as God wanted.
In June of 1989, Dr. Bailey Smith was visiting our church for a revival. I was the Preschool Director and in charge of providing care for the little ones. During the week-long revival, I had to take the place of no-shows, except for one special day. To my surprise, I had extra volunteers who were not on the schedule. God had spoken to three church members during the praise portion of the service, they left their pews and came to the preschool department. I now know that the volunteers listened to their hearts, their message from God, and gladly obeyed. God intended for me to hear the message that day.
That night, I was blessed to hear Dr. Smith’s message. It was on Father’s Day. His message was on Matthew 13:24-30, the parable of the wheat and tares (some versions of the Bible say weeds). If you aren’t familiar with this passage, it’s about tares being planted among the wheat. In it’s early stages a tare looks exactly like the wheat but has one major difference. It’s empty inside. As I listened to his message, I sat closer and closer to the edge of the pew, leaning forward to catch every word. It seemed as if he was talking just to me. I could feel the emptiness inside me and the yearning to have a father that would love me the way I was. All I had to do was accept Jesus as my Savior. The closer Dr. Smith got to the alter call, the more rapidly my heart beat, tears of joy streaming down my face as I impatiently waited for that moment. Then he said the words I had been waiting for, it was time for me to accept the gift of salvation. I didn’t wait for the three people who blocked my exit from the pew to move. I jumped over their legs and ran down the aisle to the alter. I gave my heart to Christ that day and gained a Father who loves me unconditionally. A Father who would bring no harm to me and take away my pain. I also forgave my parents that day and found peace in knowing I didn’t have to carry the burden any longer.
It was the perfect Father’s Day gift. I had a Father again. I could rest in peace, in the palm of His loving hands.