Last week I spoke about my mom and celebrated her, on what would have been her 68th birthday. Today, I would like to share some thoughts on an incredible blessing God gifted to me and my sisters, our dad, Paul.
When I woke up last Saturday morning, February 2nd–my dad’s birthday–the Lord placed a scripture on my heart concerning my dad and over the course of the week revealed to me, through the Holy Spirit, my dad’s faithfulness to Him and showed me his legacy.
It is easy, through the lens of time, to look back and see how God has a plan for our life, knows our heart completely, and uses us in ways that can bring triumph out of tragedy.
In fact, God may start a ministry in your life, in such a subtle way when you are young, that it is only revealed, upon reflection and with the help of the Holy Spirit, when your hair is a little grayer and smile lines have deepened. Such is the story of my dad.
Back in the mid to late 1960’s, when my dad was in California and right out of the Air Force, he and his cousin Jack hung out a lot, they even went out on double dates together. Jack and his high school girlfriend, Sue Thorne, my dad, and his date went to the movies and restaurants together frequently. Deep friendships were formed.
What God was working behind the scenes of these lives links them all together for eternity with God at the center–my dad was beginning a life that he would have never imagined for himself, but God did. A life of selflessness and compassion, a ministry of helping family through their hardest times: as widows.
In late 1969, Jack got the call to go to the Vietnam War. He was newly married and his wife, Sue, was pregnant. My dad, at 26, was already out of the Air Force and was a civilian. Because Jack and my dad were so close, he asked my dad, should anything happen to him, to step in and help Sue out if she needed it.
Sadly, Jack was killed in the Vietnam War at 19 years old with a six-week old baby at home, my sister Melanie. My dad stepped in right away because my mom didn’t have parents to help, her in-laws were not very nice to her, and other family members had young kids themselves and couldn’t help as much as they would have liked.
My dad brought diapers, soothed her when she was crying, and just helped out in any way he could, like Jack asked him too. Over time, they fell in love and got married. Three daughters blessed this couple, and their was no dividing lines of love. All were loved and cared for equally.
My parents, Paul and Sue, were married around 19 years before my mom passed away from cancer. My dad has never remarried. My mom was the love of his life. I believe, if God had remarriage in His plans for my dad, he would have been open to it. But God had other plans…
A few years after my mom died, my grandpa had a stroke. The stroke left him paralyzed on his left side, unable to walk, and he also couldn’t talk anymore. Being a widow himself, he didn’t have someone to live with him. This is where God used my dad.
My dad moved from California to Indiana, moved into the farmhouse, and took care of him. He worked a local job at night and took care of him during the day. I don’t remember him complaining to me–not that what he was going through wasn’t difficult–but he grew up with the mindset that you do what needs to get done. Period. He cared for my grandpa as long as he could in the farmhouse he loved so dearly.
A few years went by, and during that time he lived with my husband and I a short while, getting to know his grandkids, making memories, and helping us out. He also lived with my sister, helping her out in the same way–as dad and grandpa! 🙂
God soon had another plan for my dad to help out a widow–his Uncle Pete. As a recent widow, Uncle Pete needed someone to live near him on his property, spend time with him, and to keep him from overtaxing himself. He was known to do too much in relation to his capabilities. His mind made plans his aging body couldn’t keep up with. This is where my dad partnered alongside him and helped him complete the tasks he wanted to do around his house and property.
My dad had a long history with Uncle Pete. Whenever my dad was on leave from the Air Force, it was Uncle Pete that always stepped in to pick him up and bring him home. My dad never forgot how he helped him and now he was at a place to help him out. It was never a burden to him, he loved and respected his Uncle. He stayed and helped out until Uncle Pete’s care required more than one person.
Decades ago, when my dad was beginning his life, I’m sure he never envisioned a life of moving around so much. He may have thought he would have lived in one neighborhood raising his family. God had a different plan. He used the tragedies in his life as a way of helping others and to bring Christ like love and compassion to the their time of need.
To those on the outside, my dad’s life may appear as though he moved from house to house and didn’t place his roots down to one house and job like many people do.
In reality, what my dad chose to do, is place his roots in Christ first, and followed the directed steps of His savior.
My dad is a faithful and remarkable man. I love him deeply for many reasons, but what stands out the most is what a selfless and compassionate man of Christ he is.
Happy 75th birthday, pop!!! You mean the world to me!!!
All the glory to God,
Image of 1 Timothy 5:3 by heartlight.org.
Image of Proverbs 16:9 by One Accord Ministries.org.