When you hear the word Father what comes to mind? A father of anger, a father who was not present, a father who was drunk, a father who hurt you, a father who loved you, a father who you could not see, a father who was too busy, a father who was proud of you? Just think for a moment that there is a FATHER who LOVES you more than YOU can EVER IMAGINE or fathom! He has loved YOU from before you were created! He has loved YOU just the way you are! He loves all of you! Big, tall, short, skinny, freckles, pale, tan, short hair, curly hair, long hair, blue eyes, single, married, young, old, childless he LOVES YOU JUST THE WAY YOU!!!! As a matter of fact HE is CRAZY about you!!!!!! I know for some of you this may be hard to comprehend or understand but it’s true! There is a FATHER who loves you UNCONDITIONALLY!!!! I know for some this may be hard to grasp that there is someone who LOVES you no matter what YOU have done or WHERE you have been! HE LOVES YOU!!!!! I at times have a hard time wrapping my mind around the FATHER’s UNCONDITIONAL love! I am beyond grateful that he loves me so much no matter what I look like, how many questions I ask, how much I talk to him or say things that are silly, He still loves me exactly the way he created me! I know He LOVES YOU that much too!!! In fact HE loves you so much that he stretched his arms out on the cross and said “(insert your name) I LOVE YOU THIS MUCH!
If you do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ I high encourage you to seek one out! It will ROCK YOUR WORLD!!!!! It rocked my world in high school and into my early twenties! I had known that Jesus lived in my heart since the 3rd grade when I had asked him in but it wasn’t until I was 18 years old and started attending Granger Community Church where I realized how much Jesus Loved me and how much He wanted to KNOW me! The creator of the UNIVERSE wanted to know little ol me! The not popular girl who was working at United Airlines! Once I realized during one of Rob Wagner’s sermons when he said that Jesus wants us to climb up into his lap. He wants us to look him in the face and call him Abba, Daddy!! did I realize that the only person in the whole entire universe that could LOVE me no matter what I did or where I went was my HEAVENLY FATHER! Yes, we can disappointment Him by the things we do, we can make Him mad, angry and upset but he sits with open arms welcoming us back in! I am so grateful that I realized what that personal relationship could be like! I spent many of nights on my bedroom floor praying to my heavenly father, talking to him just like I would talk to you! I still have conversation with my heavenly father each day. Yes, I can NOT see HIM but I know HE hears my prayers, my hurts, my pain, my JOY’s! He is all knowing and for that I am grateful! In Psalms 68:5 it says “A father to the fatherLESS….”
Today was a hard day too but much better! I took the kids to Kings Island and it was hard not calling dad and telling him about it because that was something he would have loved doing with us!
So, on with the story where we left off…..Josh and I were dating and he asked me what I thought about moving to a church in Iowa. At this point in life I was dead set on going to the Honor Academy at Teen Mania, little did I know that plan would change. I told Josh that I would LOVE to move to Iowa since the majority of my family was from there or lived there. So, we went out and candidate….that is give a practice sermon. It was the last weekend in August. We had already driven out there prior so Josh could see what Iowa looked like since he had not been past Chicago! We told my “mom”, Sandy to bring dad and grandma and grandpa to the church. Dad was very surprised to see us! After church the board had a meeting with Josh to decided if he was the one for them. While the meeting was going on I chit chatted with my family and I could tell my dad was getting very excited about the prospect of having me 2 hours away! A side note, while we were talking my Grandpa Cobb said he needed to go for a walk. So, he went for a walk and found a nursing home to play a piano in! He was always on the look out for a piano to play for people! We moved to Iowa a week later and God started mending a broken relationship between a father and a daughter. To be quiet honest it may have never been broken, I was angry that my dad was so far away and the Lord provided a way for us to make up for lost time! I am beyond grateful for the 6 years I had in Iowa with my dad. It was by far one of the HARDEST days of my life to have to move from Iowa back to Indiana. Some of the things that happened while living in Iowa that may have NEVER happened otherwise: we got to see my dad at least once a month, he got to be at the hospital within hours of each of the grandkids being born, I was a hop, skip and a jump away when Grandpa passed away, dad was there when Timmy was transferred to Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines, we got to spend a few Christmas together and Thanksgiving’s. Something that had been missed for YEARS!, he was at the grandkids birthday celebrations. The one thing that I have learned from the time the Lord gave to me with my dad being so close was that BE INTENTIONAL ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS!!!!!! You NEVER know when they will be gone until next time!!!!
DISCLAIMER: Today has been an emotionally rough day!
We live in a world of brokenness! My parents were divorced after 19 years of marriage. I’ll never forget being in 5th grade gym class and proudly telling Mr. Foster, my parents are celebrating 19 years of marriage today to which he responded I hope they have many more! Little did I know that my world was about to change and my dad was going to leave for Iowa and come back for a little while then leave for Colorado then come back for a little while and then leave for Iowa again this time for good. In between those times my dad was hospitalized for various mental disorders. This rocked my little world of being a 5th grader. All of a sudden my dad is gone! I dealt with the situation the best any child could have. I was in counseling all throughout jr. high and high school because this was a strange time for me to begin with and now adjusting to a “new” dad and home. This was not how life was supposed to be and I am sure my kids think the same thing but it is how life is. Each summer we would spend a week with dad in Iowa. This was the best week of the year because we got to plan what we did. Some times we would go back to Jefferson, go swimming, ride bikes around town, go shopping in Boone, Carol, Des Moines or Ames. We would go to Adventurland each summer as well. Dad would give us $50 or $100 in cash to spend on whatever we wanted! Being a teenager and getting to spend cash given to you on whatever you wanted was exciting! I would buy clothes, lotion, music or jewelry. Some summers we would go to Wisconson Dells and one summer dad let me drive to the Mall of America! It was exciting! Little did I know how much my dad delighted in watching us spend the money and enjoy being kids with him! Then it was back to reality back in Indiana. Back to the broken world that we would now have to wait another year before we could see dad again. Back to waiting each week in hopes that we would get to talk to him on the phone. Waiting each week for his weekly diary letter and yes the $1 bill or stick of gum that John and I would fight over. In some ways I am sure God sits and waits for us to call him. We should call and talk to our heavenly Father as much as we can! He delights in that! As I grew older and become more involved in work I grew apart from my dad and was angry for the situation that I had no control over. And Yes I am well aware at some point my children may become angry at me for the way things have gone. I don’t really remember the exact moment I just remember growing apart from my dad and not wanting to spend time working on our relationship. I think it was him being in Iowa and me in Indiana and we lived two different lives. But I am not 100% sure. I am sure if Sly, my old boss from McDonald’s, was reading this he could help me recall as I spent many hours talking to him about this! Then I met Josh and he suggested moving to Iowa. I was excited at the thought but did not want to get to excited because I would be closer to my dad again. GOD’S HAND WAS IN THIS PART! You’ll have to come back tomorrow to see what happens!!!!!!
This year is my first Father’s day where my earthly father is no longer here. It’s the first of many to come that I won’t be searching the card aisle to find him that perfectly worded card that only Hallmark could write! and BEFORE my mother makes a comment YES I DO HAVE another FATHER figure in my life to buy a card for his name is BILL. O.k. got that out of the way! Now my dad had a collection of shirts that we had gotten him for fathers day ranging from a hat that said BANK of DAD (sorry closed) to a t-shirt that said something to the effect of Grandpa’s the name Spoiling’s the game! He loved his grand kids to pieces and had a unique connection with each of them in his own special way. Lily was the first born and like her mom the only granddaughter! She had grandpa wrapped around her finger and they loved spending time together weather that was reading a book, putting a puzzle together or going swimming. She was his buddy. Timmy was the first grandson. Dad was there when Timmy was born! He was there when I called him and said we are being transferred to Blank. Timmy and Dad had a special bond. Then there was William. William could get dad to do ANYTHING because he was just smitten with him! When we were in Florida and dad was exhausted, William said “up grandpa” and Dad picked William up because he LOVED him!
Growing up as a child I have fond memories of making dad tread water when I was in preschool because I was scared to jump off the diving board BUT he wanted me to jump in so much that he bribed me with a McDonald’s happy meal if I jumped in! I jumped into his safe arms and never looked back! My dad took us swimming just about every week he could. He would have to bribe us with Slurpies from 7-Eleven to get us to leave the pool! Some weeks we would go play putt-putt golf and he got to share in his enjoyment with his grandchildren because William called it “putt golf”. Once in awhile we would get a special treat and get to go to Chuck E Cheeses or to G.L.Perry’s and buy something! Does anyone remember G.L.Perry? My dad delighted in seeing us be happy and I know that God delights in his children when we are filled with joy!
Tomorrow I will share with you the story of separation and then the story of reconnection! Don’t miss it!