• This website contains affiliate links, which helps me support my family at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting this site in this way. See my full disclosure policy in the resources section.

Redemption Of Hearts

Photobucket“You’re just like your mother! You’re not even my daughter!”

Not even my daughter…  His words tore her little heart into a million tiny pieces.  The pain was too much.  She couldn’t  breathe.  The sobs overtook her young body and she crumpled to the floor of her bedroom.  She became certain of one thing; this was the last time her stepfather would ever hurt her…


That young girl was me.  I was fifteen when this scene took place. My step-dad’s words cut me to the very core of my being.  You see, he wa
s the only Father I had ever known from the time I was a toddler/preschooler.  Like most little girls, I thought my Dad hung the moon and stars. He was my hero.

He wasn’t always like this. We had a typical father/daughter relationship when I was young.  He taught me to ride a two wheeler and he fixed my boo-boos when I fell down.  He took me to get a new little critter when my beloved pet hamster died.  He took me camping and taught me how to roll my sleeping bag properly.  Best of all, he loved me and treated me like I was his.

But something changed as the years went on and the alcohol took over. When my parents separated, it shoved that man over the edge.  He became bitter.  He was angry and my brother and I got the brunt of it…

Fast forward to the evening that my Dad let his tongue loose and said things that damaged my heart.  He said the one thing every step child fears the most. Not even my daughter…

I moved out of my Dad’s house the next day and I didn’t speak to him again for almost 10 years.  He missed my graduation.  He missed my wedding.  He missed the birth of my first two sons.  He missed my life and I missed my Dad.  I spent countless nights crying in my husband’s arms over the loss of my Dad.

He tried to reach out to me once but he was still so deep into his disease that I had to tell him no.  I didn’t want my children to have to witness the illness or abuse that I had experienced.  It broke my heart, so I prayed.  I prayed for him constantly for years.

My brother and I often spoke of how we knew we would get a call someday that Dad was either dead or dying from cancer.  That call came in January of 2003.  I had made a hasty trip out of town to see my brother.  God sent me for a purpose.  The next morning we were awakened to an early morning phone call.  Dad had stage 4 lung cancer and was dying.  The kicker of this?  He’d been sober for 3 months and he wanted to see us.  Both of us.

I was scared but I trusted God with my whole heart.  He had told me to get over the mountain to my brother and I had obeyed Him.  My brother and I clung to each other and cried.  We cried for the man we loved and had seemingly lost.  We cried for what was ahead and the loss that was inevitable.  We were going to have to truly say good-bye to him soon.

At a family gathering for Dad, he came into the house full of people, looked me in the eye, and said, “Mel, I am so sorry for everything that I have said and done to you in your life.  I am truly sorry and I love you.”

I met his gaze, “Dad, that’s all I ever wanted to hear.

Now this story doesn’t end here!  God’s just getting started.  Grab a tissue.

I was able to spend almost 4 months off and on with Dad while he was dying.  My husband and I gave him a bible and a bible study on the book of John.  When I talked to him on the phone, he’d tell me he was reading his bible and tell me about what he was learning in the book of John.  I never pushed, I just let him tell me.

When he stayed with us, we’d invite him to church but he’d always decline and stay behind.  We’d go to church and  pray for him.

While he was sick, he and my Mom started talking again.  His face would light up talking about his phone calls with her!  That was truly a miracle, as you can imagine, they had not been friends or on speaking terms for years.

As his time came nearer to the end, he told me had accepted Christ as his personal savior.  Oh how we rejoiced!  He wanted to be baptized as soon as possible.  His sister arranged for her pastor to come to the nursing home and they found a way to completely submerge him in order to baptize him.

Sadly, we missed the baptism by just a few minutes but the glow on his face was something I will never forget.  Ever.  I have never seen anything like it.  He beamed light from every pore of his body – I’ve never believed in auras but there is no other way to explain the light that surrounded him.  The joy was astounding!

I stood in awe, staring at a man I thought was lost, not only to me forever but lost from eternity as well.  Now here he lay, a new child of God.  A new creature.  A healed and forgiven man.  Once shattered and broken, now completely healed in Christ.

Not only did God save my Dad that day but He saved my heart too.  Forgiveness and redemption in the last day of a dying alcoholic.  My Father died the very next night.  He held out long enough for his full immersion baptism.  He splashed out of that water flashing the hugest smile and giving God a thumbs up!!

Good-bye Daddy!  Until we meet again and I am ever so thankful to know that we will indeed!

This was my favorite verse during this time period.

Psalm 37:4
Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.

and

Romans 8:28
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him,whohave been called according to his purpose.

Read more of my story at: (In)Courage

* If you enjoyed this story, please click like and feel free to share it.  *
Photobucket
PhotobucketPhotobucket

25 Comments

  1. Wow, that’s such an inspiring story and I’m rejoicing with you that your dad became a child of God before he died!

  2. Out of the ashes, beauty will rise. A wonderful ending, and beautiful beginning…God is so good!

    And you were right, I did need a tissue.
    Melissa recently posted..The Doves Eye

  3. Thank you, God! You’re such an awesome writer! Please feel free to stop by: Don Tolman Self-Care Revolution
    DonTolmanUSATeam recently posted..Heartburn…

  4. Wow ! A tissue was definitely needed. Thank you for sharing your story and wish you and your family the best. I am glad you could spend time with your dad in his days of need and he rejoiced in his redenption.

    Shashi
    Shashi Bellamkonda recently posted..My Cooliris Holiday Story

    • Thank you Shashi! It was the biggest blessing! I am so very thankful for the time we had. Thank you for stopping by and commenting!

  5. wow, what awesome account of God’s redeeming grace. I love to read you!!!

  6. Great post. Thank you for adding it to the Mystery Post Blog Hop! I grew up with an alcoholic father as well. Amazing how it changes someone.

  7. Tears brimming my eyes, I am overcome with joy as I recall how my brother led our alcoholic step father who had sexually abused my brothers, the twins, and me for many years. What a profound joy it was to be able to forgive him completely and know that, he, too was saved by a loving God who forgave us as we forgave him. What freedom there is in forgiveness!

    • That is awesome Nolvia! And also the topic of my new ebook 🙂 Forgiveness is so freeing! I am so happy for your family too!

  8. What a wonderful story!!!! I wish that my step-father had given me a gift like that before he died in a car accident a few years ago. I hadn’t talked to him in several years and I just pray that he changed before it was too late.
    Melody recently posted..a little off balance

  9. Breaks & gladdens my heart every time I read this or think about it. And I just love the backpacking pics of him. Those were some of the best times we had & I still miss them. I’m so thankful that God brought him thru the dark times into the Light & was able to mend each of our relationships. I love you, dear daughter.

  10. What an incredible account! As I read through, I was HOPING there was a happy ending for you and a redemptive ending for your dad. Thankful, to HIS glory, there was both.

    Thank you for your transparency, honesty and desire to share your story. Through each you glorify and lift Him up!

    Have a wonderful day as you walk in freedom…

    • 🙂 Thank you Stefanie! It’s one of my favorite stories of Christ in my life. He did some AMAZING work here!!!

  11. Jackie Beauchene

    Wow, I really appreciate this and I can relate to some degree. Alcoholism is a horrible illness and can do so much damage to so many people, but thank God for His grace and redemption that can break any stronghold. And for your courage to put your heart on the line for the sake of your dad. You were blessed to have eachother.

  12. You’ve a beautiful testimony, Mel. Indeed, God’s workings are amazing and there aren’t enough words to really describe His wonders nor to express our gratitude to Him.

    The Lord Jesus restored my family after more than two years of heartbreaking, tumultuous estrangement from my husband. And now, we are all serving Him joyfully. Yes, He’s more than wonderful, more than miraculous…

    Thank you for sharing your inspiring story. Have a blessed week,
    Rina
    Rina recently posted..A Year of Healing Moments {giveaways}

  13. Praise God! What a beautiful story and tribute to God’s faithfulness! Thank you for sharing your heart.

    Blessings, Joan

    P.S. Thanks for linking up with Sharing His Beauty! (This is a beautiful post indeed!!)
    Joan recently posted..Can’t Steal My Joy!

  14. This is absolutely beautiful and breathtaking. The stuff movies are made of. Bless you for being so faithful in your walk with God, Mel. You are braver than you know.

    Christy
    Christy recently posted..Faith through the Fog

  15. I am so glad that you got to share those final days with your dad and that old wounds were healed.
    April recently posted..It’s Twilight Time Again?

  16. what an amazing story. oh my heart broke and then was restored. how beautiful!

    visiting from emily’s place today! <3

  17. Just bawling over here, Melinda. Thank you SO much for sharing this. I just love that picture of your father holding you in his arms. He looks so proud of his little girl.
    Emily Wierenga recently posted..Imperfect Prose on Thursdays: I’ve Slowly Stopped Needing Control

  18. Pingback: Happy Father's Day 2014 |

  19. I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great.
    I do not know who you are but definitely you’re going to a famous blogger
    if you are not already 😉 Cheers!
    Sophie Dennis recently posted..Sophie Dennis

Comments are closed