I’m sitting in my living room, beautiful, calming Gospel music playing on the Pandora radio station I have it tuned to over the computer, and, I am having a nice, hot cup of coffee. Yes, Daddy! Almost everybody has a computer in their home now, or can get it directly from a phone(they’re called cell phones), which they hold onto, and check on, almost constantly. You would have loved all the new technology! And yes, I am a coffee drinker. I absolutely love it; have since the first time you left a cup sitting next to you on the cherry wood colored end table, the one sitting right next to the couch that you always fell asleep on after you’d had a cup. Even cold, the little bit you left in the bottom of that cup was delicious.
Daddy, I miss you so much! A lot has happened in the twenty five years since you’ve been gone. I won’t bore you with too many of the details, but there is a lot that I want you to know. First, you would have thought, me being a Daddy’s girl, that when God called you home, I would have lost it. But, the thing that no one knows, the thing that no one would ever understand, is that God had been showing me your death for twelve solid years before He came to bring you home. The first one, when I was twelve, I came to you, and told you about it, not as a father, but as my pastor. But, the rest of them, all the way up until I was twenty three years old, the rest I kept buried deep inside of me. I couldn’t talk to my siblings. I didn’t want to hurt them, scare them, or make them worry. And, the same goes for Momma; I couldn’t tell Momma anything like that. So, I carried it…everyday, I carried it.
And Daddy, while I carried it, you, and Momma, had to watch me make some horrible mistakes. I’m so sorry, Daddy. I did all I could do to hide my sins from you. I never wanted to disrespect your name, or the name of the Lord, but I was going through so much. And, I didn’t know what to do with it; my young mind processed it all in such an immature manner. And, in that process, the people around me got hurt. I don’t want you to think I didn’t feel it; I did. And, the day you found out about the pregnancy I had hidden from you for six months, and I saw that tear stream from your eye, I broke. Not only had I disappointed myself, I had disappointed my Daddy, and therewith, God. And, I never came to you, and talked about any of it. Then, suddenly my worst nightmares started to present themselves in my waking state; you got sick, and died. I didn’t think I would ever recover. In fact, the devil had me convinced I wouldn’t. But he is a liar!
I want you to know that I carried it all with me: everything you taught me. “Oh, how I love the name ‘Jesus’. It is the sweetest name I know”. Through everything, through my sins, through my tribulation, every single test, or trial, that came up against me, every bump on the head I took, I had the name “Jesus” ringing in my heart, and head! My faith in Him made me so sure, so firm I stood on that name, that the people around me just couldn’t put two, and two together; it didn’t add up! A sinner, with faith enough to move mountains? Unheard of! I heard them say things like “Girl, I don’t know how you do it. I would be going off!” And, I would answer: “God can do anything but fail!” That was your influence Daddy. Not every parent instills faith in God in their children. And, because of you and Momma, even in the sinful state I was in, I knew God would carry me through.
I’m sipping on my second cup of coffee, and sitting at my marble topped dining room table Daddy, and I want you to imagine, just for a moment, that you are sitting right here in front of me, your legs crossed all preacher-like, your Bible, the one with the navy blue, leather cover on it, laying somewhere close to you, like always. And imagine me, Red, sitting, and sipping, with a facial expression that makes you know how serious I am about what I am about to say. Thank you, Daddy! If I hadn’t known about Jesus, if I hadn’t loved you so much that I hung on every Word you delivered from the pulpit, I might have given up a long time ago. You see Daddy, and I know you already know this, but there are some folks out there that prey on young girls, and women, whose fathers are not in whatever picture of themselves they put on display. So, when God took you home, because you taught me about God, the Father, and because He had already prepared my heart for the loss, I became a problem for the predators. I wasn’t scared. I wasn’t vulnerable. I stood on God’s promises. I stood on Faith. And, the devil got mad; he went chaotic on me. He tried to beat out my faith, crush it with heartache, demolish it with despair. I don’t want you to think that I stood, like Superwoman, and never got bent to my knees, because I had many days that left me feeling like I was broke down to my knees! But, I didn’t break. Daddy, the Word of God got in so deep that I became like a Cypress branch; unbreakable.
I know it was God. I’m not writing you to give you all the credit. I’m writing you to give you your just due. You made a difference. And, after all I’ve been through, I wish you were here to see the “better”. I would love to see that tear stream down your eye again, this time with joy, though. I chose Jesus, Daddy. I choose Him. And, it’s not because I was taught to, Daddy. I’ve studied some religion, I get it’s background. I understand what the scholarly professors are trying to convey. I remember almost every testimony given in almost every church I’ve been in. My mind retains a lot of information. I remember your testimony, the one about how some time after you lost your dad, God led you to a prayer meeting, and saved you, and cleaned you up, instantaneously. I remember Momma’s testimony about a good friend inviting her to church, and the seed of righteousness being implanted in her at a young age, as well. But Daddy, it’s hindsight that is holding up my faith. When I look back, and I think about all the times He was there, all the times He kept me safe, kept me alive, kept me from going crazy, the joy is overwhelmingly real! I mean, Daddy, I choose Christ because I realize He has loved me through so much; He loves me the way you would every day… if you were still here.
I want you to know that I’m ok, Daddy. No one could ever take your place. But, you left me with knowledge of the perfect surrogate. You taught me about a Father that never dies, never leaves, is ever present. And, I’m so grateful, Daddy. I’m grateful that God thought enough of me to leave me in the charge of parents who taught me the value of prayer, the love of God, and the passion of Christ. And, because God thought enough of me to do all that, I made it through. Because you taught it with such conviction, I believed, through it all, that God was there. And, because I believed, He brought me out. He brought me to a place where “was” is past tense, and I know that God “IS”! He brought me out, and brought me to a place where I must tell you, just like I told Momma a few months ago, “I really appreciate what you’ve done for me. Thank you!” Without you, I may not have gotten the chance to know Him. And, without Him, I would be nothing! So, thank you, Daddy, for so much. And, I pray that I get to see you again, by and through, my Faith in God.