Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Gifts

This past Saturday was my dad's 64th birthday, but he sure doesn't look it!!!!! His whole side of the family is extremely young-looking, so it's no surprise to me when people come up to me and guess my age to be around 16 or 17:o). I visited my Grandmother tonight (Dad's Mom) and noticed again that this lady does not look like she's going to be 87 in December! So I know which side of the family to thank for the genes and to put up with the comments now... for if I ever live to 40, I'm going to enjoy being told I look like I'm 28!!!


~My sister Sherri, Dad, and my brother Jack in November 2004~

But anyway, Dad's birthday was this past weekend so we had a family dinner on Sunday with my brothers and some friends. Now if you know me in day to day life, you'll know a couple of things: 1 ~ Dad claims to be a Christian, but it is seriously doubtful. 2 ~ God has taught me so much about being thankful for the situation he has placed me in. 3 ~ His grace is sufficient for all things.

I have wondered in the past why my dad couldn't be like _________'s dad or __________'s dad. I have also wondered if girls who grow up being "Daddy's girl" realize how absolutely wonderful it is to be loved completely and have that love expressed in a million different ways. I have bemoaned the fact that while others were encouraged to follow God's Will no matter what, I had to fight to explain why I made the choice to go to Bible Institute rather than the prestigious, nationally known college(s) that are nearby. Please do not misunderstand me for one minute and think that I've had a terrible life and that I was thrown in front of 18-wheelers:o). Now that I'm older, I have come to appreciate the Dad I have and I am so very thankful that my dear, sweet Mother is a faithful Christian who devotedly loves her God, and has also placed herself under her unsaved husband. (1 Peter 3:1 ~ "Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives.")

The topic came up today twice about having various gifts. In the first case, one girl was talking about how she wished she was a natural athlete like the captain of the volleyball team. But I told her, "you might not be a natural athlete, but you are a natural musician. And ______ is a natural athlete, but she is not a gifted piano player." So after telling this girl as gently as possible (you know me! I'm very blunt!) that she was having a royal pity party, I turned back to my work. Then tonight at visitation, the speaker mentioned how each and every one of us Christians are expendable in the work; God doesn't need us and yet He has gifted us with certain abilities to use for His glory.

So as I thought about my Dad, I realized I had a "gift" that most girls are not given. So the question to ask is this: why did God give me my Dad and the situations that came along? Was it so I could have one pity party after another? Was it so I would get puffed up with pride when I thought *I* had conquered that rebellious nature that flares up and bucks what Dad says? Was it so others would pat me on the back and say, "I don't know how you do it"? Was it so I would look longingly at the *greener grass on the other side*?

I daresay that at one time or another, those thoughts and actions have been played out in my life many times. But God's Word is so gentle, yet precise. It's a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart and is sharper than any two-edged sword! (Hebrews 4:12 ~ " For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."). God meant only for good what I saw as destroying my life.

I've been blessed to have a God in Heaven care so much about me that He wants to see me come through the fire, refined seven times and purified as gold. I would not ever get refined if I was placed far away from the fire. And although there were times that I thought the fire had gotten too hot, God had the temperature under control the whole time. He kept the heat on long enough to burn away the dross and impurities.

As far as I can tell today, my dad is still unsaved. But my walk with God is stronger as a result of my Dad. When I have been driven to the quietness of my room in tears, God's Word has been a tender, healing balm. When I have reacted in anger and spoken harsh words, God's Word and His Spirit have brought conviction to my heart that has often, but not often enough, caused me to go seeking forgiveness. And when my dad has praised me for something good I've done, I have walked away rejoicing that God has answered my girlish prayer to be a "Daddy's girl" ~ even if it is just for a moment.

I am still learning to be conformed to His Image... and my Dad is being used by God for that very purpose! As I finish this post, I have one favor to ask of you: please pray for my Dad, that he would be saved. If God brings him to mind in the future, pray for his salvation. All the hurts and pain of my past will be nothing compared to my Dad not getting saved.

Hurts are but for a moment; eternity in Hell is forever.

3 comments:

Happymama said...

Anne, I remember your Daddy's salvation in prayer. I'm sure you are a great testimony in his life.

This was a wonderful post and we are ALL continually being conformed to His image.

Tell your Dad Happy Birthday!!

~Kristi

Anonymous said...

Hey Anne girl! At least we can both look 16 together. LOL :D This was a very touching post....thanks for sharing your heart with us!

Just wanted to let you know that I moved my blog to www.theviewfrommyfishbowl.blogspot.com

The transition didn't go as smoothly as I wished, so errggghhh. :( Anyway, just trying to let everyone know.

Have a good day with your nephew! :D

Anonymous said...

Good post. It reminded me of my wishes to be a princess when I was a little girl. Now as daughter of the King of Kings, I am!

I know what it is like to have unsaved parents and have prayed for your father. God worked a miracle in my own family and now both my parents are Christians with my father even being an elder in the church! I continue to pray for my siblings who still don't know Christ.