Friday, March 7, 2008

My Father's Heart

On February 29, 2008 my father turned 80 years old. As my family gathered together to celebrate this momentous occasion we had no idea what was in store. Just as every family on earth has its triumphs and tragedies, connections and separations, love and hate of relational dynamics and certain family characteristics, ours is no different. You never know what might happen when you come together; so sometimes before you get there you kind of prepare yourself for “certain family dynamics”. Well, we had the typical time of eating, blowing out of candles and conversations going on in all corners of the room.

Time was taken to read historical moments about political things, highlight clothing styles, and famous actors from over the last 80 years. We then asked my dad of memories he had from way back and had the opportunity to listen to many of the things that my father had seen, experienced or lived through in his 80 years. He talked about many of the natural things like having no refrigerator, (only a hole in the ground when he was a little boy), working in the fields when he was four and five years old, and many other things like that. When asked about what he feels has changed the most he said, “the morality of the world.” When he was growing up those that were unsaved were more moral than most Christians are now. His heart is very sad and grieved about that.

That is just one of the reasons I love my father; because for him out of all things, that stood out the most.

We then all moved to another room, children, grandchildren, friends and extended family members. He had been asked to pray and bless us. Now my father is a tall, yet gentle and quiet man. He does not like to be the center of attention and really did not want this gathering for him, as he did not want to put anyone out just for the sake of celebrating him, as he is not really a big group party man. But we did anyway because it was important to us for him to know he is thought of and loved. He would prefer to listen and not speak, but we asked him to share, because we believe what he has to say should be heard, received and honored. We all gathered and sat waiting for the few words we expected to come forth from his mouth. As he began to share there was literally a supernatural hush and an immediate stillness. The littlest child was quiet and the most active and squirmy sat completely still, as though mesmerized. We figured later it was because they were in shock as they had never heard Poppy say that much. J

He began with a testimony of what God had been doing in his life through a particular prophetic ministry word given by Graham Cooke. He then began to share through tears that it all comes down to how much the Lord loves us; that we must know and experience His love. From there, he went on to give us this word of the Lord that has changed him so much as a generational inheritance. He asked that we each would read through it with our families once a month or a year, whatever way that we would be led so as to reap the full benefits of what God has for each of our families. Then hands were laid upon each of the grandchildren that were there with blessings for them and for those that were not able to come. He then prayed an overall blessing for all of us. Mixed in with many of those moments were times that he repented or asked our forgiveness for areas that he may have failed us as a father.

I sat back amazed at all that was taking place. I am the 7th of 8 children and after their 4th child, my father and mother got saved and became church planters. They were in the ministry for many years, but then some family difficulty struck and that season came to an end. It seemed from that point on as though the wind was knocked out of my parents. I have vague memories of my father as a pastor as I was 8 when they stepped out of the ministry. Now as I sat listening to my father stand before us all, all I could see was the old mantle being restored, the strength of the teacher and heart of a minister flowing out of him, along with the new realization of God’s love for him as a son that he has never had. My siblings and I agreed later that we have not seen dad like that in over 30 years. It was supernatural.

I share all of these things mainly to honor my two fathers. First of all, I thank my Heavenly Father for loving and pushing into my earthly father’s life so intensely at this time to reveal His love to him. Because of THE FATHER’S LOVE, my dad is truly coming to LIFE.

Secondly, I would like to honor my earthly father in the fact that although there is not much in the way of natural inheritance to be passed on to our generation, he has passed on treasures that neither moth nor rust can destroy and thieves cannot steal. Although so little has been given to him in his life in any area, he has remained faithful to God. He has given us an incredible spiritual inheritance. I would take that over any amount of money, houses, or any earthly items. I am blessed and a very wealthy woman, for the Lord has given me riches upon riches within my natural family, a father who loves and fear God.