Thursday, February 5, 2009

Thankful Thursday - The Love of God

4 Generations: January 1998
My Father (Elton - 2 1/2 weeks before he died), Travis (3 1/2 years old), Heather, and Me

This week’s attribute/character study of God (Beelieve – Know God Intimately please see my post for this week) is LOVE. “God is Love”. 1 John 4:8. Love is the very nature of God and the greatest Christian virtue.

I am so thankful for God’s Love in so many ways. Today I will share a special reason why God’s love means so much to me.

On February 4, 1998, with my sister, my husband and I by his bedside, my father took his last breathe on earth and woke up breathing celestial air. For those of you who have followed my blog or my sister, Marsha’s blog, you will know by now that our father was truly a sinner saved by grace. Of course we all are! But our father had a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personality. You never knew when he was going to explode and woe to the one in his path. He was a physically abusive man until I was 11 years old when our mother first divorced him. He continued to struggle with verbal and emotional abuse throughout the following 30 years of his remaining life on earth; mostly to his family. Shortly after my parents’ divorce, each of us became Christians within the next few years. God used the bad in our lives to bring us to His saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” Romans 8:28. Not everything in our lives are good… but our God can take all the ugliness of abuse and sin and bring it together for His good and ours!

It took me a while to trust the Lord fully. When I first heard the plan of salvation I was not sure I wanted to know God. The youth pastor gave an example that God is our father and that just like our earthly father, God loves us even more. All I heard was that God was like my father, and I didn’t want to have anything to do with another father image! Then the youth pastor described a different kind of father that was a bit foreign to me. He described a father who loved us unconditionally, sacrificially, and would never hurt us, or forsake us. I perked up…just maybe I should listen a little further to what this man has to say. I am so thankful I did; since that day (40 years ago), I have had the tenderest loving, forgiving, merciful, faithful Father anyone could and can have.

It is hard to believe that God could love sinners like my dad and myself so much that He would leave the portals of Heaven; be born of a virgin; live and know the woes of human pain and suffering; die on the cruel cross of Calvary; raise again on the third day; returned to heaven and is preparing a place for me; and will one day return again in all His glory and set up His kingdom; all this so we can become joint heirs with Christ God’s blessed Holy Son! Praise His glorious name!

As my sister and I sat by our father’s bed, we remised a little of life with our him. It was not always pretty to say the least; but we did make peace with our earthly father many years ago and had a manageable relationship with him for 30 years. When our father took his last breath there were tears of sorrow and tears of joy! Our dad no longer had to be tormented by the pain of cancer and craziness of his duel personalities. We were rejoicing that our earthly father was finally whole, in the loving and forgiving arms of his and our Savior. One day we will see our earthly father again – what a glorious day of rejoicing that will be!

Dear gracious loving Father, I come to with a grateful heart that you save sinners like my father and I. I am so thankful you have taken the bad in my life and have made something good and useful for the furtherance of your gospel. Thank you heavenly father that I have the hope of seeing my earthly father again one day along with other loved ones who have gone on before. I am so thankful that you are not just a loving Father, but you are LOVE. Help me Father to be a living legacy of Love to my family all those who I come in contact. May they see Christ through me. In Jesus precious name, Amen.

For previous Beelieve- Know God Intimately posts click here

For other bloggers Thankful Thursday posts click here


Denise said...

Heart touching my friend, love you.

Jennsmere said...

thanks Michelle for this sincere and loving post. It took me quite a few years to break the 'mold' that I had place my heavenly Father in. I had put Him in my dad's mold and He doesn't fit there at all. Now, I am freely able to love Him deeply, and love my earthly father more as well.

Bless you!

Lisa said...

What a beautiful happy ending Michele and such a vivid portrayal of the benefits of serving the Lord and having faith in Him, I am so encouraged, thank you for sharing your experience.

luvmy4sons said...

Thank you for this testimony of the saving power and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. I was touched by your story of love and redemption...

Beth in NC said...

That was beautiful Michele. I'm so thankful that God used what satan meant for destruction.

God is so good!


bp said...

Thanks for sharing this.

He & Me + 3 said...

Beutiful my friend. I am so Thankful for His forgiveness and love.

Laurie Ann said...

Beautiful post. Isn't His forgiveness the best? Thank you for sharing this story. I needed it. Happy Thankful Thursday.

Angela said...

What a POWERFUL testimony of God's glory..I praise God that He can take the messes of our lives and make it into His message of power and glory revealed...your post truly displays that truth!!

Marsha said...

Beautiful Sis! Man, I forgot how aweful Dad looked at the end. I've got a different picture in my head of just a few months before.

Love you. God is faithful to redeem, bind up up wounds and restore that which was broken.

Jennifer said...

Thank you, Michele for sharing this huge piece of your heart with us today. What a beautiful story of God's forgiveness, mercy and grace!

I am so glad that your father was saved, peace was made between him and his children...God is so good!

I am so thankful to serve a loving father, who takes me as I am, cleans me up and sets my feet on the right path.

Thank you again for sharing your beautiful story!


June said...

Very touching, and shows the spirit of forgiveness.

Happy Thankful Thursday

Susan said...

Wow, what a POWERFUL testimony!!!

Thanks for sharing this today Michelle. I was deeply touched...


Cathryn said...

Michele, I appreciated reading this for reasons you are aware of. Thank you friend. Love, Cathryn

DeeDee said...

Precious Picture - and thanks for sharing your story.
Amazing Grace - our Chains are gone!
Sweet Blessings,