My stepfather is only one example of a man who has impacted my life as a result of his relationship with Christ. Throughout this series, I want to share with you about some of the other men who have impacted my life solely because of their relationship with Jesus. I believe as I share that you, too, will connect with them and discover for yourself how God has always had a plan for you, is working it out in your life and will never leave you.
Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, if I die before I wake, I pray the Lord, my soul to take...God bless mommy, God bless da... God bless da...
When I was a little girl, I had a hard time praying for my daddy. You see I grew up with a father who was never home. He was in the military and was always traveling around the world. When he was home, he seemed to always be angry, tired, and restless. Neither my mom nor me and my brothers could ever do anything right. There were times that he would abuse us, verbally and physically. Times when he would not come home after being out with the guys. Times when he just didn't come home. But to be honest, those were actually the best times. Times I didn't fear, didn't run or cry. I did pray, not for my father, but for God to bring me a real daddy. A daddy who wore a three-piece suit instead of army fatigues, had a briefcase and came home every night (this represented a real dad to me). A daddy who would play with me, let me sit in his lap, and spend time with me. A daddy who would tell me he loved me. I wanted a daddy who I wasn't scared of. I wanted a daddy who didn't scream or hit. I wanted a daddy who didn't leave. I wanted a daddy who stayed no matter what I could have ever done.
I didn't know if God would bring me a real daddy, you know like the ones you saw on TV. I would watch "The Brady Bunch" and ask, "God, can I have a daddy like Marsha and Greg has? You know the type that comes home every night, kisses their wife, hugs the kids and then sits down to dinner together with his family and gives thanks to God?" I just kept praying.
Finally after 15 years of marriage my parents split. During this time, things were tough not only financially but emotionally as well. My mom had to work outside the home again for the first time since I was 4. We had to go without some of the basics not to mention any extras. This new lifestyle would not only test my mother, but each one of us kids as we had to learn to take care of ourselves, cook, clean and above all get along. That was easier said than done. I could see how my mother would come home so tired, so worn out. She would share with me how she knew she had made the right decision to leave my father and that things would get better as long as we stayed together. During that time I also realized how lonely my mother was. How she longed to not only be loved by a real man but have a provider for her and her kids. She was always praying, praying for God to answer her prayer. What she didn't know was that I had also been praying for the same thing. But would God answer our prayers?
Then one day, while at work, my mom met a tall, handsome, bigger-than-life man who had also suffered his share of trials, sadness, loneliness and a failed marriage. He started spending time with my mother, my brothers and me. We grew very fond of Henry. He was kind, gentle and had a lot of love for all of us. A year later, Henry married my mom. Then Henry did one of the most sacrificial things a person can do. He proceeded to raise another man's kids even though he himself had already raised two kids. He took on all the baggage, the pain, the rejection (that never seems to go away), the abandonment, the sadness and the fear. He took on the challenge of being our father even though legally he wasn't. His love was far greater than anyone besides my mother. He showed us the kind of love that is only shown by the love of Jesus Christ. I remember one day prior to the wedding he told me he loved me and I was like, love me, you don't even know me! He said, I love your mother and you are apart of your mother and so I love you. I quickly blurted out, "OK, you can marry my mom." Oh, and did I forget to mention, he wore a three-piece suit, carried a briefcase for the next 14 years, came home the same time every day and sat down with his family for dinner, giving thanks to our God?