God is not ashamed to be our God

I was the fifth child of seven born to my parents. I was the fourth of six girls. Here’s where most people say, “Your poor father!”

My parents had a significant age gap between them; my dad was fifty-years-old when I was born. By the time I was two months old, my brother died from medical complications from a condition he was born with. He was ten.

Before my fifth birthday, my family moved from the suburbs to a large farm in southwest Ohio.  My parents loved the country and the spacious property gave our large family room to grow and play. By my sixth birthday, my dad suffered a massive stroke which left him paralyzed on his right side. All his dreams for that property died. Even at six, I knew my life would be different.

I was a daddy’s girl. He held me on his lap when the doctor gave my vaccines with a gun-like device that left a scar the size of a dime on your upper arm. (I think that’s why we called them “shots.”). My father taught me to ride my bike on the sidewalks of our suburban home and brought us donuts he made before leaving work as an executive chef.

Everything seemed to have changed. His personality and his body were different—broken.

The farmer, my parents bought our home from bought it back and let us live in the house for $100 a month until my parents got back on their feet. We lived there until I was twenty-one. I hated leaving that place when the next landlord gave our home to his newly married son.

My mom and the six of us girls did everything. We did the housework and the yard work. My dad sat on the porch watching us cut the grass with a push mower fearing we would get hurt. When we complained about cutting the grass or working in the garden, he would just say, “I know, I wish I could do it.” I now understand as an adult how much it hurt him to have to watch his daughters do “his” work.

He struggled with depression and feelings of uselessness.

I am unaware of my dad’s spiritual life before his stroke, but I know after his stroke his life changed spiritually.

He prayed constantly; not for himself, but for his family. My dad prayed for strength and comfort for my mom, who had to work long and hard hours to support the family. He prayed for each of us girls to know God as he did. Our salvation was the most important thing to him. Dad read the Bible to us every day at dinner and prayed over us before bed as we knelt by his chair so he could put his hand on our heads.

In Hebrews 11, the author shares the faith of many Old Testament saints. These men were righteous in God’s sight because of their faith and obedience in times of trials and persecution.

Hebrews 11:13 (ESV) says, “These all died in faith, not receiving the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.” Hebrews 11:38 says of these men,”…of whom the world was not worthy.”

They lived and died for their God.

The verse that overwhelmed me was Hebrews 11:16b, “Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God…” This verse is not in past-tense. It is in the present tense. Why? Because God was not ashamed then, and He is unashamed to be their God now.

No matter how we see ourselves, or how useless we may feel in our jobs or as a stay-at-home mom, or how many times we have messed up and felt as though we have let God and others down; if you belong to Him, He is not ashamed to be called your God. He has a better place prepared for you.

My dad felt useless in his body, but in his spirit, he was full of the life that comes from the Son of God. We may never know on this side of Heaven the impact we have on others. But, God does.

My dad did not realize the influence he had on his six girls. Even from his wheelchair, he spoke life over us and planted seeds for an eternal purpose.

If you do not have someone like this in your family, then be that person to someone else. Your eternal reward is priceless.

My dad died one month after I married twenty-seven years ago. I am thankful God allowed him to “walk” me down the aisle. He was a good man and a great father. I thank God he is whole again.

What’s your story? I would love to hear about it.

22 Replies to “God is not ashamed to be our God”

  1. Beautiful. Dad wasn’t ashamed of God either, I see that now in the way he lived and prayed. Thank you for your gift of letting me remember dad as such a warrior for Christ! Can’t wait to see him again, to tell him “Thank you” for never giving up on us.

  2. Have long held the opinion that the “Measure of a Man” is not what he accomplishes in his prime, but what he accomplishes when others aren’t watching. I think your Dad could have taught many of us life lessons that mattered. Thank you so much for sharing this important post.

  3. Thank you for sharing so deeply. I lost my Dad at 17 years old and was devastated. Never had the chance to say good bye. He was my hero.

    1. So sorry, Jackie. It’s a devastating loss. God gives us fathers to show us how He loves us. I hope the Lord has shown Himself to you. He understands our grief and loneliness. Blessings!

  4. What a beautiful story, of which I remember so much. I remember that farmhouse well. The swing set, the long path to the creek, the bedroom I spent many many weekend nights (when invited for a sleepover with Carla. I also remember how beautiful your family worked together. Even though your dear mother had to be overwhelmed and stressed, she found time to take her kids (me included to church, and even swimming at a friend’s pond -picnic included! ) I felt special at you house. Though your dad may have been disabled for much of your childhood-he enabled you girls to grow in strength and confidence in the Lord. That’s better even better than being capable of mowing the grass. 😉

    1. Oh my goodness! Shari how amazing to hear from you! I remember your sense of humor. We laughed whenever you came over and you always paid special attention to us as well as Carla. Thank you for your sweet memories, too! I’m glad our family made you feel welcome.

  5. What a legacy your father left, and what a beautiful tribute! There’s just something about a father’s love, isn’t there? We daughters of Godly men are very blessed indeed!

    1. Yes, we are blessed. Thank you, Patti. I believe our fathers are to point us to the love that God has for us, too. Of course moms can do that , too, but a daughter needs her dad to show her God’s love.

      1. Thank you for sharing. Growing up, we were never “brought” to church. Occasionally, I would ask my sister to walk me to church. We never had someonepray for us like your dad, but I can say that today, my husband and I both pray for our children. My husband brought me to Jesus, and for that, I am eternally geateful. I love my Lord andam truly blessed in this life. Again, thank you for sharing.

  6. Stephanie, I was so touched by this post. What a beautiful tribute to your dad—a man of faith. I’m sure he would be so proud of how you share your faith in God (that he demonstrated) through your writing. I know I’m sure blessed by it.
    I especially love this challenge you give us: “If you do not have someone like this in your family, then be that person to someone else. Your eternal reward is priceless.”

    1. Thank you Beckie! I appreciate your encouragement. The Lord has impressed upon me a few people who don’t have someone praying for them. We all need that kind of person in our lives.

  7. Stephanie, this is beautiful! I love that you point out Hebrews 11:16 is present tense. I also loved that you point out your father may have lost some physical abilities, but gained a steadfast faith in our sweet Lord Jesus Christ, that he lovingly passed on to you through his loving example. I also love that you point out to BE this for others even if this strong faith was not modeled for us. Thank you!!! I just loved this devotion.

    1. Thank you, Diane! We all need someone who will intercede for us, but we can also be the one who intercedes for others. My dad spent so much time in the Word and prayer. I still don’t do it like him, but someday I will get it.

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