When God’s Voice Is As Clear As Lightning

When God's Voice Is Clear As Lightning

Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live .. Isaiah 55:3

You can’t mistake lightning. When it flashes across the sky you take notice.  Even if your back is turned your eyes pick up the flicker of light causing you to turn your head and take a look.  There are times when we pray God’s voice would be as obvious and bright as lightning in the sky.

I was struggling with one of those requests a couple years ago.  My biological father had a family member track me down in 2008 and bio father started sending letters.  You see, he is in prison serving life (or so we thought) for kidnapping, raping and brutally murdering a 17 year old girl in the 80’s.

Not someone I want as part of my life.  Which hadn’t been an issue because my mom and stepdad had told him he was not to contact me until I was an adult shortly after he went to prison.  As an adult, I could then decide for myself if I wanted to correspond with him.

I knew the day would come.  I had expected it when I was a young adult but he waited until I was 31 to finally find me.  I checked the mail before taking the kids to a birthday party at the bowling alley.  When I saw his name and return address on the envelope, bile rose in my throat.  I couldn’t bring myself to even open it.

A Christmas card was our first contact.  Doesn’t seem very menacing.  I did think his suggestion for me to allow him to call me collect was a little presumptuous (not to mention those calls are expensive!).  So I did what most gals do when something tough comes up and I called my mom.

“Mom, I feel like I am betraying you for even having this contact with him.  I don’t know what to do.”

“Honey, you are not betraying me.  No need to feel guilt over it.  He is your father after all and if you are curious and want to contact him, it won’t upset me.”

I knew she was saying what a good mom would say, it didn’t really make me feel any less guilty for being curious about the man whose DNA courses through my veins.  But how can you really move forward knowing what this man did to an innocent girl?  How do you feel okay “befriending” the man that seriously abused your own mother?

I’ll tell you, you don’t.  However, I had no idea about this man’s family history or medical history. I wanted to know about those things so I wrote back and told him that for now, I would allow contact.  And I felt guilty the whole time.

We wrote back and forth for several months.  It never got easier.  Every time I saw the return address, my stomach would do flip-flops and feel ill.  From the second letter on, he would bring up how my parents kept him from me (when the facts are, he kept himself from me by his own choices).  I informed him that I completely agreed with their decision (and actually I remember my mom asking me if I wanted to continue contact with him after he went to prison, I said no) and that I did not care to continue to discuss that issue further.

After that, he sent me a card my mom had sent him in 1987.  Yes 1987!  In its original envelope, in perfect condition along with a poem called “The Backpack”.  The poem was about all the baggage we all carry around and collect through our lives and I guess he was unloading his backpack and passing his baggage onto me. 

He’d saved it all these years?  I found it odd and unsettling.  My gut instinct said it was manipulative. Did he save this card for 22 years so he could prove to me that my mom had kept me from him?  Hmm…  My next letter to him asked him as much.

I just wanted you to know I was telling the truth.

We’d already established this months before that I knew and agreed with my parents choice but he didn’t want to let that go, even after being asked in every single letter I responded with.

This is where the battle of what to do came in.  Had I made a huge mistake in the first place by ever responding to him?  Was I wrong about his motives?  If so, why did my body scream in protest every time I thought about him?  As a Christian was I obligated to accept him into my life, despite his past and how it made me feel to correspond with him? My mind wanted to explode from the turmoil.  There seemed to be no right answer.  I was frustrated and no clear answer was coming to me.  I prayed constantly over it.

A few days later I was driving home from Wally world, while talking to my mom on the phone.

“Mom, I don’t know what to do.  I really don’t want to have anything else to do with him.  I have asked him multiple times over the months to respect my wishes to not discuss you and Dad, but he just won’t stop.  I just wish God..”

It is not your job to save him.

This loud and clear message interrupted my thoughts and stopped me mid-sentence.  Like lightning, God spoke like a jolt to my mind.

“Mom, I think I just got my answer!”  and I proceeded to tell her about what I had just heard.

I got home and wrote my final letter to him and let him know that I no longer cared to continue corresponding.  It just wasn’t in my best interest.

That summer our family was alerted that he was up for a possible parole hearing! We were stunned and then more details came in.  He had to have family lined up to support his possible return to society.

The reality of it all hit me hard.  He had written to line up family he might be able to stay with and have support him.  He’d finally taken his anger management classes, joined NA, and a few other things he’d only started in the past two years in order to look good before the parole board.

I have to admit, finding this out hurt.  There was a small part of me that stung because my bio father hadn’t really contacted me out of love (it might be a part of it but he always wrote that he cared about me, never that he loved me) but out of trying to manipulate the board so he could get out of prison.

I’m thankful I listened to my instinct.  From the beginning it screamed, “Manipulation!” and I could never quite put my finger on why. I could just feel it. W/o going into gory details about his past, this fits his typical M.O.

God doesn’t always speak this clearly to us but when He does, we better listen up! God knows my fragile heart.  He knows I’ve been hurt so deeply in life that I really couldn’t handle more. What I really wanted was to do what God wanted me to do.  I truly believe if his attempts had been sincere, the message I received that day would have been very different.  I do forgive the man for the things he has done but I don’t believe in inviting toxic people back into my life unless the Holy Spirit prompts me to.

Do you listen when the Holy Spirit speaks to you?  Have you had a time where you ignored Him?  Or a time when you were clearly spoken to you and you listened?  I’d love to hear your stories.  Thank you for taking the time to read all of this.  I know it’s a lot but I wanted to share it.

PS – Just to be clear, I will NEVER refer to this man as my Dad. So if you see me reference my Dad, I am speaking about my stepdad who is the only father I’ve ever had. And he did not get out of prison but he is now eligible to go before the parole board every two years, but he has not done so since the first hearing.


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  1. That is a really tough one. I praise God that you listened to His Spirit. I pray that you have forgiven him, your bio father. I have a father I refer to as my bio father too. He is not and never has been in prison. But did pretty much removed himself from my life unless it was convenient for him to be there. I’ve forgiven him, but that by no means says that what he has done is okay. I forgave him for me, not for him. In fact, I’ve never even discussed it with him, because he would never understand that his actions have hurt me or anyone else. Thank you so much for sharing this. I know it was painful to write, but will benefit many!

  2. I am SO sorry all of this has happened to you…I just know that God is Mighty and Loving and He has GREAT plans for you, because of all that you have endured. I pray that the Holy Spirit would work through you,to allow many others to grow closer to Christ. You are an AMAZING person and I am glad to call you my friend…Love you 😉

  3. I took your advice in your comment on my blog post @ HOPEannFAITH.wordpress.com and hopped on over and read your article.
    I identify closely with your very personal post, in many ways. My abusers were family too, and the only offender I managed to see put in prison was my ex-husband who abused our sons…but I know that sicking flip of the stomach when you open a mailbox to those letters.
    I commend you for your faith and obedience to God in these terrible matters of the heart. I know them well, too.
    Blessings to you Mel. I will be reading.
    Thank you,
    Andrea (HOPEannFAITH)

  4. Mel, your story is a true testimonial to the healing, and protective power of the Lord Jesus Christ. I too have come to recognize the subtle promptings of the Holy Spirit in my everyday life. This not only allows me to see others through the eyes of Jesus Christ, it also keeps me from falling into the pitfalls of my past as well. We are living proof that our pasts do not have to dictate our future…and when Jesus Christ is at the head of our lives, there is no fear or condemnation there.

    In Jesus Christ,

  5. Theresa@Heavenlyglimpses

    Wow, as I read your story like a movie, I find myself cheering you on, answering your difficult questions, wondering what will be next. And then I see, by God’s grace, you handled your situation just right. The perfect closure. What a gift the Holy Spirit’s guidance is!

  6. This was an amazing testimony. We are to listen to God’s prompting, but the salvation of someone else isn’t up to us or on our shoulders. Our part is to witness and then leave the rest in God’s hands. I’m so glad you stopped by my blog today. I can see we are sister’s in Christ and I’ll be checking out your posts from now on.

  7. Oh, Mel. Wow. What a powerful and moving story…Your testimony is incredible – I absolutely see how God will use this for good.

    First of all, I am so sorry for this pain. I can’t imagine. But I must say that the first thing that struck me while reading this post was “wow, this woman really gets the whole grace thing.” You may not feel that you do, but you most certainly did with your father.

    You allowed him to open the door for a bit. He took advantage. You clearly gave him an opportunity to repent, to show he had been a changed man and even after you stated you no longer wished to speak of your parents, he persisted. This is a blatant lack of respect in itself.

    The real hero in this equation? Your stepfather. He sounds like he has been a blessing to you.

    It’s been a pleasure reading your heart-felt words, Mel. So thankful you found my blog and we have “met” online!

    • Thank you Natalie! That was exactly it, the lack of respect and it’s a word I used numerous times with him and he chose to ignore. He has also never shown remorse for anything he’s done to anyone. There was more to the story but this was the basis. My stepdad and I had our issues (see my father wounds tab) but in the end, love won!

      I’m so glad to have met you as well 🙂 Look forward to reading your blog 🙂


  8. This is a truly amazing testimony Mel. I am so thankful you listened to what the Lord was telling you. I believe it was the wisest thing for you to do. I pray you will have real peace about all of this and that the wounds you have undoubtedly suffered would be healed.
    Thank you for visiting and for sharing this.

  9. Amazing ,this is a powerful and moving story of “God’s” This information is telling about God..Thank you for sharing this nice article!!:D

  10. Thank you for opening your life up to others. It means so much when we can “connect” with someone’s story and relate it to events in our own lives. God bless you, Mel. {{{hug}}}

    • Thanks Melody, it’s not always easy! But I know that someone can benefit from my experiences, even if they weren’t good ones.

  11. mel thank you so much for your honesty for allowing God to use you. mel I have had my share of abuse for many yrs but today God has took those things made me a stronger person.I can identify with so much of your stories or should i say testimonies.God is good !for yrs i tried to help save my family, it was what my parents who drilled in my head you have to be here for us, my father beat it into me. its all i knew.well after yrs of abuse I heard God speak clear to me ,you cant save them ! so hear I am choosing life choosing the road God had intended for me.for I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord ,plans to prosper you,not to harm you ;plans of a hope and a future… jer.29:11… what my plans were and what God’s plans were for me totally two different things.I wanted my life to end ,God came to save my life, to show me the love he had for me 🙂 I accepted jesus in my heart when i was very young.I know today that if God did’nt live in my heart I know exactly where I be.The joy in knowing Jesus. wow how awesome to have a father who loves me who allowed his son to die on the cross for my sins.so many yrs I walked around afraid ,alone and abandoned.God grabed a hold of me and said I’m your father who loves you and cares about all of your needs.I hurt for my father here on earth because he continues to make those same rotten choices .It is God who can heal and restore our lives if we allow him to do so.God did’nt say it would be easy, with him all things are possible.thank you so much for sharing your testimony,what blessing what a joy in knowing Jesus !hugs

  12. Thank you so much for sharing.


    Mel, I had no idea how deeply you were hurt. I wish I could have helped. I will pray for your further healing. I know Jesus has you in his loving arms and will take care of you. I love you, g’pa Murray

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