After an illness forced me to stop writing for publication in the late 90's, Doc would call me on the phone and simply read back to me something I had written years earlier and sent to him. Then he would say, "God wants to use this in the lives of others. Get it out there." And so Doc, I am finally "getting it out there." I've known this faithful man of God since 1988 and God used him to change my life...in fact he probably saved it.
As a preschooler, I yearned for a grandfather. Storybook pictures of children curled up in a grandfather's lap fascinated me. I wanted one too and frequently upset Joey, the kid across the street when I introduced my imaginary grandfather into our play. My grandfathers died before my birth but my mother knew my desire and suggested we find a substitute. We chose a great uncle, a godly man on the maternal side of the family, Greenwood Worthington. On our next visit with extended family, Mama and I visited him and made known my request. He was delighted to have a new granddaughter and I was so excited. My next trip back was to his funeral a couple of months later. I never searched for another grandfather.
As I grew older, I longed for a close relationship with my daddy but he wasn't spiritually or emotionally equipped for such a relationship. We often butted heads and my relationship with Christ was something he neither appreciated or understood until close to the end of his life. Even after marriage, I longed for a relationship with him. At the time, I told Al that it felt like I had a hole in my heart that would never heal. I was fortunate not to fall into the mistake I've seen other women make...trying to force their husbands into a father figure. I loved being Al's wife and was never tempted to confuse those roles. I sought Christian counsel and was told that because of his advanced age, Daddy would probably never be saved and I needed to forget having a relationship with him.
I continued t pray for Daddy's salvation and came to understand that while I wanted a relationship with him, my greatest concern was that he come to Christ. Most parents do the best they can for their children and in time I was able to forgive him for the rejection I felt and simply love him. I also asked God to fill that hole in my heart that had been there since childhood with a relationship with Him. I began to write in my prayer journal almost daily. As I read through my Bible each year I discovered that my Abba, Father wants a close relationship with His children. The Creator of the Universe wants fellowship with me!
"Hear , O Lord, when I cry with my voice! Have mercy also upon me, and answer me. When You said, 'Seek My face," My heart said to You, 'Your face, LORD, I will seek.' Do not hide Your face from me; Do not turn Your servant away in anger; You have been my help; Do not leave me nor forsake me, O God of my salvation. When my father and mother forsake me, Then the Lord will take care of me" (Psalm 27:7-10<span style="font-size: 8pt;"> NKJV</span>).
As parents we're to love, support, care for and teach our children the best we're able but God never intended that we meet all their needs. If we could do that, they wouldn't need their Heavenly Father. There would be no reason for my children to come to Christ if I had the ability to give them what only their Heavenly Father can provide. We all have a big hole in our hearts that only He can fill but many try to fill it with another person, a career, money, drugs... the list is endless.
Although I had been a Christian since the third grade, it wasn't until I learned to fill that huge hole in my heart with a relationship that only Christ can give that God brought My Sweet Doc into our lives. God moved them back to the city where he and Louise met, married, and began their lives together. We met years after I thought I no longer needed or even wanted another earthly father and he became "my father in the gospel." At age 97, My Sweet Doc continues to learn...and to teach me.
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pictures and text copyright Janice E. Gray 2013