In my early twenties, I was saved. I was in a troublesome marriage and I longed for an unconditional love that would save me from the destruction of my heart. I found it in going to church and loving Jesus. After my divorce, I slowly began to leave the love I had found behind. I don’t remember being deliberate about it. It just happened.
Alcohol had long been a part of my life. My loving Dad had an issue with it as well as others in my life.. Dad’s disease of alcoholism spiraled out of control and not long after my grandmother passed away from Alzheimer’s disease, Mom and Dad separated. Mom moved in with me and Dad moved back to Dallas with some of his family. Over the years of separation, Dad has been in rehab a couple of times, in and out of extended family’s households and eventually became homeless.
He lived under the bridges of Dallas and frequented the homeless shelters. I couldn’t understand how alcohol could have such power over such a strong, loving husband and father. My mind couldn’t grasp why someone would rather live on the street not knowing where their next meal would come from for the sake of a drink or drug. Why on earth would you throw away a family who loved you because you couldn’t put the bottle down? I just didn’t understand it.
For years none of us knew where he was and for years we worried about him. When the ice storms of Texas would come in January or when the sweltering heat of August would take our breath away, we wondered if Dad was somewhere safe. Change occurred for us in July of 2015. Dad had been found! He was in a local hospital with a broken hip. We all decided to go see him.
Our first visit with Dad in over five years was bittersweet. It was wonderful to see him and know he was alive and safe. We talked, laughed, and shed a few tears. Then we heard the news that would change our lives forever. Dad has stomach cancer. What do we do now? Cancer, we were told, was inoperable and was given about a month to live. The doctor would send him home on hospice. The problem was he didn’t really have a place he could call home, so where would he go? It was decided he would come home with us. Dad would live out the rest of his days surrounded by the ones who love him the most. His family.
These events remind me of the parable of the prodigal son. In this biblical account, a man had two sons who received a share of his estate. The younger son decides to leave home with what he had been given. While he was away foolishly spending all of his money and living it up, the older son remained behind and worked hard in his father’s field. After squandering his inheritance, the younger son returns home ashamed. To his surprise, his father welcomes him with open arms and celebrates his return; no questions asked.
Our situation is different, though, Dad knew his addiction was out of control and was hurting those around him. I now understand that is why he decided to leave. It is the same because we welcomed Dad back with open arms and celebrated his return; no questions asked. God was at work in this. God’s plans are bigger than ours. He knew exactly what he was doing.
This is my story, what’s yours? I would love to hear from you! Click on the “Tell Me Your Story” link and know that all stories shared are done so in confidence. I may even contact you for permission to use your story as a featured post in the future! Inspire other about your story of God’s power in your life!
Come back for part two of this story next week!
See you then,