Today, while waiting until escrow closes, I began organizing family documents when I found my father’s U.S. Army discharge papers. I knew he received an honorable discharge, but I was proud when I found his character noted as “Excellent.” As a child, I was ashamed of my father, a binge alcoholic. Then as an adult, I discovered the hardships of life myself and became guilt stricken while making excuses for him. But when Jesus came into my life, He set me free.
Below is a short memoir not to dishonor my father, but to honor my heavenly Father.
Daddy Where Are You?
Standing beside my father’s coffin in tears, I placed a red rose beneath his arm and felt his cold hand. Where is he? From that day on, I cried on every Father’s Day, his birthday and the anniversary of his death because I didn’t know where he was. Until God drew me to Himself.
As a young woman, I rejected God, and now I’m burdened with sin, which I considered unforgivable. After reading several women’s testimonies, I realized if God forgave them, He would forgive me. So, “God, You are the Creator. You sent Jesus your Son to die for my sins on the cross and raised him three days later. Please forgive me, and I promise to do what you say and go anywhere you ask.”
Several years later, while speaking to my Bible study leader, I burst out in tears. “What’s wrong? When I read the Scriptures, tears flow. It’s my dad.”
“Do you need to forgive him?”
“No, I’ve always wondered where he was. He was a binge alcoholic. As a child, I never knew when he was leaving or returning. It may be a week or months.”
“Is he alive?”
“No, he died from cancer ten-years-ago, but I still dream of him. I’m running through the hospital corridor, opening every door on the left and the right, until, I find him in the last room. He’s frail, but alive. What is God telling me? I’m visiting my mom next week, I’ll talk to her.”
“Relax, enjoy your visit. Let’s pray, Lord Jesus, give Paula wisdom to understand your will and courage to obey?”
“Mom, do you remember Dad at peace?”
“No, he was restless, but the night before he died, he told me two men from church visited him and he was sorry for the trouble he caused. The visitor, a former alcoholic, talked to your dad, but he was alone.”
Later, I remembered Dad was at peace when he died, and I concluded the second visitor was Jesus.
When I returned home, I heard Dr. Charles Stanley, In Touch Ministry, describe how to make amends with those who have passed on. I pulled up a chair beside me, “Daddy, I love you. As a child, I was ashamed of you. Please forgive me. I didn’t realize the hardships of life.” I had peace. But where was he?
Then, I listened to Dr. John McArthur, Grace to You, preach on heaven. When he finished, I knew my dad was in heaven, and I will see him again. That day, the dreams and tears ceased. For Jesus came to set the captives free and heal the brokenhearted (Luke 4:17).