Friday, June 20, 2008

"MY FATHER'S EYES" ...conclusion

If you are just joining me, you need to go back and read my last 3 posts. This has been a 4-part story as I share my story of forgiveness and restoration all this week. Thank you for all of your comments and emails. It has encouraged me so much. For those that have contacted me in regard to your own experience of a Father that is missing in your life...I dedicate this last posting of my reconciliation story to you! May God fill you with peace and forgiveness that is out of this world, and may you find the "eyes of your Father"!

My THEN SINGS MY SOUL song is a special song that helped me alot during this time of reconciliation. After reading my story, you might be saying "Wow I don't know if I could have done that". Well, can I tell you, in my own strength I would not of been able to! I give God ALL of the praise for what He has brought me TO and brought me THRU! My video that goes along with my story is "VOICE OF TRUTH" by casting crowns. For too many years I listened to voices that told me I was no good! I was worthless without a father! My dad didn't care about me! He didn't love me! Laurie...you are unlovable! But that was all a big, fat lie from the enemy. God had a different story to tell and I am so glad that I listened to what He had to say.....

DADDY, I'M HERE
It was Christmas eve day, my family and I had traveled to Wisconsin to spend the holidays with my in-laws. As my family sat at a local restaurant with my sister-in-law, I received a phone call from our oldest son who had to stay back in Arkansas.

"Mom, your step mom just called!"

Somewhat confused, I answered "I don't have a step mom!"

"MOM...THE LETTER. REMEMBER THE LETTER!!" David, my son is a wee bit excited. "I TALKED TO HER, MOM! THE LETTER...YOUR DAD GOT IT. HE WANTS TO TALK TO YOU! I GAVE HER YOUR CELL NUMBER....OK?"

The letter!
He got it!

Wow. I didn't think this all the way through. I didn't actually think he would call. I didn't actually think he cared. What was the chance of all of this happening?

CHANCES?
Was it CHANCE that out of a list of four names, that my letter arrived at the correct address on the first attempt?

Was it CHANCE that my oldest son happen to be at home to intercept the phone call from Florida on that Christmas Eve?
Was it CHANCE that just a month prior, someone in our church gave us a week's vacation using their condo which happens to be in Florida!
Was it CHANCE that this condo is located only 30 minutes from the address that I sent my letter to?

I don't believe in chances. Not really. Every step of the way was GOD'S PLAN. God knows exactly what He is doing. His ways are MUCH greater than our ways!

ISAIAH 55:9 " For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts."

As I hang up the phone with my son, so much emotion floods my heart.
I just can't believe I found him!

A short time later, my cell phone rings.
A phone number I don't recognize. It's him. I can't bring myself to answer it!

Should I have answered the call? I ask myself. What would I say to him?
How is the weather? So, what have you been up to for the past 40 years?

December 25, 2004
Christmas Day

My cell phone rings. It is that same number who called yesterday. It is him. It is my Dad.
This time I answer it.

Hi. Great, you got my letter....
after 20 minutes of small talk. Weather updates. Christmas greetings. A silence and then the strangest thing came out of my mouth...
I love you Dad!

WHAT! Where did that come from?
IT'S A GOD THING! The strangest thing happened to me at that moment. The past 40 years of anger and confusion of how a Dad could leave his daughter and not look back just totally evaporated. Instead of anger and wanting to ask WHY, my heart was filled with compassion and love for this man I had never met. Definitely a God thing!!

For the first time in 40 years, on this special Christmas day, I heard on the other end of the phone, my Dad say, "I love you too" and then I heard crying. My first conversation with my Dad ended when his wife gets on the other end and tells me that he can't talk anymore because he is crying too hard.

OK. Merry Christmas. Great to talk to you.
I hang up and realize the miracle God had just performed in my life. Uncontrollably, I fall into the arms of my sweetie and cry like I have never cried before. Once again, God had not failed me!

Two months later, my husband and I flew to Florida to spend a week at a condo that someone in our church had given us to use. The condo was just a 30 minute drive from my fathers house. It was a Sunday morning, and we had agreed to meet for breakfast at a local restaurant. When we had arrived, all of the staff had already heard our story from my Dad and his wife, Martha as they had been anxiously awaiting our arrival. As I looked into the eyes of my father...I truly saw him as My heavenly Father sees us...with love and forgiveness. It was difficult for me to stop looking at him during that visit. There were so many questions I had. So many lost years. For some reason, none of that was important to me...the thing that seemed most important was saying "Daddy...I'm here"!
Larry (my Dad); Laurie and Clayton

It has been four years since our first meeting. I still keep in touch with my dad. I have only seen him one other time besides that initial meeting, but I keep in touch with him on the phone and in writing letters. He is now in a nursing home with failing health. He is in the latter stages of Parkinson disease and many times when I speak to him it is difficult to understand him. But every single time I speak to my Dad, just like that Christmas Day in 2004, we end our conversation with him crying and me saying "I love you Dad."

Laurie with her Dad at Gulf Shores on vacation in 2005



THE VOICE OF TRUTH...by Casting Crowns

(you have to mute my music on the sidebar before listening to this video)

Want to hear other great WORSHIP-filled blogs,

VISIT AMY at Signs, Miracles and Wonders

Praise to God for all He has done...



Blessings, Laurie

13 comments:

Liza's Eyeview said...

An incredible story - a testament to God's love and grace. Thanks for sharing.

And this song "The Voice of Truth" - it ministers to me more than I can ever tell. Thank you for posting this.

Melanie said...

Good Morning, Laurie. "The Voice of Truth"... what a GREAT song. So many truths in there about listening to only God's voice. It is a song I turn to when I feel the world is caving in on me and too many voices are trying to tell me the way.

Have a great weekend!

lana said...

What an incredible story! It is great that you have shared it. Thanks so much!

Susan said...

Oh Laurie,

What a BEAUTIFUL story and conclusion after all those years.

I was able to actually record my dad saying he loved me for the first time just one week before he went to be with Jesus.

I know the power of those words spoken to a daughter, who longed to hear them...

Blessings to you today♥

Mocha with Linda said...

What a sweet story and a wonderful song!

Anonymous said...

Laurie, I have been anxiously awaiting your 4th installment of this beautiful story; I am sure it will touch thousands. You will probably never know how it will help the healing of many broken relationships. Wonderful Post!!

My story is different but with the same underlying theme of forgiveness. I lost my dad at 30, and he died a slow painful death of all the years he abused his body. Growing up we had good times and bad. My poor dad had so many issues that were very hard for children to understand. But he was so sick and I helped take care of him till his death. Shortly before his death he looked at me and said, " I am so sorry, and if I could redo your childhood I would." This meant so much to me and I told him he had nothing to be sorry for and that he did the best he could with the issues he had to face. He went into a coma shortly after that and I was the only person he responded to when he was spoken to. It shocked me and the nurses, they said,"He may not know exactly what is going on but your voice shows there is a deep connection."

For many years I was hurt at the things I had seen and experienced but God never took away the deep love I had for him, and I was able to forgive.

My mother met a wonderful man 2 years later and remarried. At first it was a hard to accept but little did I know that through the years he would be such a source of love and wisdom that I would need. He is also my dad and such a blessing in my life. Last week was Father's Day and while I remembered my Dad in heaven, I was so thankful to have a dad on earth to share it with. We may never know why we endure things on this earth, and I have been dealt some heavy blows as a mother that my dad wouldn't have been able to help me but, the dad I have now has been a source of wisdom, love and strength and someone I have had to run to a lot, especially the past 5 years dealing with my 20 year old who has a major disibility.

Of course there is nothing like our heavenly father; so I guess you can say having more than one father is a good thing. :0)

Blessings on you and your entire family; I have truly been touched.

Peggy said...

Laurie...I came daily reading each part and glad to see such a testimony you have made of your incredible journey to the Father (both earthly and Heavenly).

I was here at 1:30a.m. & almost forgot to return to comment!

From the above comment, WOMEN TAKING A STAND, can be thankful for the ministry that you (this woman)will have in bringing forgiveness & perhaps restoration into other's lives...that's what this is all about...Praise God!

I'm rejoicing in the Voice of Truth, because I love Casting Crown and I know who the Son sets FREE is FREE indeed and there isno greater Truth!!! This was truly a GOD thing and moment! Be blessed!

boutcrazy said...

Woulnd't it be great if we could look at every situation as a time for God's glory to shine (as the song suggested). We might handle our issues better. Thank you for sharing your story.

Laurie Ann said...

Laurie, what a precious ending. I love the song, too. God is so so so *there*. I don't believe in coincidences either. God's handprints have been all over this situation, and I rejoice that you were reunited...and reconciled. Reconciliation has just got to be another word for grace, doesn't it?

Laura said...

Beautiful, incredible, amazing story! TOTALLY a God thing! I am so blessed by reading your forgiveness story. I see that God has given the song "Tis so sweet to Trust in Jesus" to both of us this last week. I want you to know you have been such a HUGE blessing to my life...it, too, has been a God thing! I was just thinking about you when I finished up my latest post.
Praying for you,
Laura

Cheri said...

Wow! What a great story. I am like you...there are no coincidences-just God working out his plan.

It's so wonderful that you have this opportunity before it was too late. Sorry to hear of his failing health. But how great to know that that you will have no regrets.

Is Larry a christian?

LAURIE said...

I wanted to thank EVERYONE for you wonderful comments and sometimes I come back here and read all of them and it brings a tear to my eye as I think of how wonderful my Lord is to allow me to go thru this experience and see that my pain is truly His gain!

Thank you for your encouragement and if you find yourself reading this and all of these comments and wonder how you can find this place of forgiveness and reconcilation - would you please get in touch with me, either by leaving a comment here or email me at supermom4jc@yahoo.com. I would love to pray with you.

God bless. "God won't bring you TO it unless He takes you THRU it"

-Laurie

Beth in NC said...

I'm crying so much I can hardly see the pictures through the tears. God bless you Laurie. I can't imagine ... but I am SO GRATEFUL that God allowed you to meet your Dad before he got to this stage of Parkinson's.

What a wonderful gift. Thank you for sharing this with us.

Love!
Beth