Jun 13, 2012

Wednesday SHINE

Today's Reading:  Job 40

Good morning fellow SHINE Girls and Happy Father's Day week to you.  :)

My name is Mary and I am really blessed to count Jill as one of my very closest friends. Not to mention she has the cutest toes in 10 states!  I mean, it has to be said!!  :) She has such an awesome ministry here and getting the chance to write for SHINE is indeed humbling.

Jill asked me to write about my Dad in honor of Father's Day week.  Knowing him well, she knew I would have a doozie of a post.  It didn't seem like such a tall order when she asked me last week, I quickly agreed and it wasn't until I began to write, that the pain began to come. Join me as I uncover the past and explain how God has restored the years that were taken.  I pray you feel the Father's love through these words.

My Daddy
I remember a little girl who spent much of her time wishing her Daddy was home more.  I am a twin who also happens to be the fifth kid of seven children (yes, that many kiddos from just one marriage, no Brady Bunch-ing at all and that's right, we aren’t even Catholic ;).

The size of our family made me feel like a little fish in a very big pond.  There was plenty of love in our home but most of my days were filled getting into mischief with my twin sister, Rebekah and always looking for my Daddy to come home from work.  We cut each other’s hair, collected our neighbor’s mail from nearby mailboxes and climbed that mammoth magnolia tree a million and one times.  

The Second Litter of kids, 4 of us within 6 years of each other
Dad worked extremely long hours, 2 jobs, one during the day and one through the night to make ends meet for the many mouths he had to feed.  He faithfully came home at dinner time and scooped me and Bek into his arms - - this was indeed my favorite place on earth.  I watched him eat quickly and saw the weight of the world in his eyes.  It was clear that he was determined and had only one option – to go back to W-O-R-K. 

Every night, he laid down after dinner for a short nap before leaving again for the midnight shift.  He would walk down the hall around 10pm smelling like his signature Old Spice after shave, patting the hallway outside of our bedroom all the way and then knocking on our door he would clearly say, “Bye babies, I love you!”  And we waited for him each time, like he had never done it before.  “We love you, Daddy – BYE!!”  We would say it in unison…night after night, year after year – we knew no different but just thinking back on it now, the tears are flowing.  I wanted him to stay, I missed him terribly and there was no other remedy for his embrace.

Mother and Daddy sacrificed so much so that Mom could stay home with us and in many ways she raised us herself.  She never complained. Never ever and neither did he. She ran a tight ship and we tried to stay in line.  Daddy was rarely there as he built beautiful custom homes during the day and when he was home, he spent his time catching a little bit of sleep, doing work in the yard or tending to our garden.   

There was a deep feeling of respect for him from a very young age.  He loved my Mother and openly showered her with affection for all of us to see.  He went to work ALL of the time and we all watched his overwhelming devotion and loyalty and in turn became just as devoted to him.  His words we hung on and his attention we sought.  At times, we felt like Daddy’s princesses, with beautiful “fancy pants” bloomers that he picked up for us to wear with our Sunday dresses or a dozen hot donuts from Krispy Kreme on Sunday mornings as he came home from work in Atlanta.

As I grew older, he retired from a 34-year long career at Georgia Power.   Nevertheless, he continued to keep busy never really retiring and has only recently stopped working at age 73.  And that family of nine has turned into a family of 30, with 14 grandchildren.
Daddy most enjoys spending his time with us at every opportunity and we enjoy soaking up those moments. 

He is my Hero in every sense of the word – the most giving person I know, if you have a need, he’s trying to figure out how he can help.  He and my Mom make quite a pair, always helping, always giving to each one of us.  They have been completely devoted to one another for a lifetime and will celebrate 55 years of marriage this September. 

Daddy loves Jesus and faithfully pointed the way to Him all of our lives.  He has forgiven me when I have blown it and shown me the true meaning of mercy and grace.  His relationship with my husband is beyond amazing, they are dear friends and Daddy has loved him like his own.  He has shown up and been there when the chips were down, not with a gruff word but only love and wisdom.  They talk regularly, outside of family gatherings and Daddy calls him directly and likewise.

I have had the privilege of living just ten minutes from my parents for the last 10 years and this has been the greatest blessing for my little family.  Over the same 10 years, we have given them 3 granddaughters and with that, God has totally lavished me with the most wonderful gift imaginable.  I have my Dad back!  

And, as often as I can, my car drives to Mom and Dad's house on auto pilot.  We drink coffee together, take them on our vacations, we smile and laugh at my girls as they run to him for that same embrace that I craved at their age.

He has their hearts and I know how they feel...

He comes to every special event at their school, pulls their baby teeth, brings them ice cream sandwiches just because he can, pushes them on the swing and tells them about the love of Jesus. 

They sometimes slip up and call him Daddy and my heart just wells up with love – talk about the ultimate jackpot in the grandfather department.  He is their Papa and they all 3 count on him and he delivers every time.  Through this amazing relationship between my girls and my Dad, I have received an inexplicable blessing.  To see him love them this way has met every need from those days long ago.

This is not just true for me, but, in talking to each of my siblings, you would find a common theme; Daddy has more than made up for every moment that could have been missed. It's a kind of healing.

With every connecting moment with their Papa, Audrey, Sloane and Gabby have fuller love tanks and the Lord shows me:
This is how much he loved you back then, Mary…he would have been there if he only could have.  You made his face light up the same way.  He adored your every move.  You just don’t remember it that way because he worked so much.  He had no choice.
Not long ago, my Dad told me, “I love you, Mary” and I responded, “I love you more” to which he replied, “that’s not possible, that’s just not possible.”  Wow.  He’s so right but his words resonated with me.

What an amazing thing to hear from my earthly father but even more amazing that our Heavenly Father gives us that same kind of amazing, deeper-than-deep LOVE, that we cannot possibly comprehend.
Hear the words of your Father today, saying “that’s not possible; I love you more than you can imagine.  Bring your hurt and wounded heart to the cross and really, let me supply all of your needs."

Joel 2:25-32

New American Standard Bible (NASB)
25 “Then I will make up to you for the years that were lost
My great army which I sent among you.
26 “You will have plenty to eat and be satisfied
And praise the name of the Lord your God,
Who has dealt wondrously with you."

Easter Sunday - Big Smiles with Nana and Papa.  <3

I love this song and it's fitting as we reflect on God's love for us.  Listen and be blessed.  :) 

How Deep The Father's Love For Us <- click here
How deep the Father's love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many souls to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that left Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

I'm aware that many of us do not have a fabulous relationship with our earthly father.  Some of us have open wounds that are directly from them and some of us have experienced incredible brokenness and loss.  I pray that if you aren't connected to your dad that you have other meaningful, God-given relationships where you have been blessed beyond any measure.  

The Bible gives a promise from God in Joel 2, verse 26 where he vows to restore to us what was lost in our difficult circumstances.  I believe He is doing that for me now and I pray the same for you.  

Bless you, Sweet Sisters.  <3
With Love, 

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