I’m writing this in regards to the ‘Never Beyond’ series from People of the Second Chance’s blog.
The question is “Who would you give a second chance?”
My answer… my dad.
I grew up in a broken home.
My parents were on & off again constantly throughout my childhood.
I grew up bouncing back & forth from about 45 minutes west of Portland, OR in a small town (Rainier, OR) to Eugene, OR. When I was around 5 years old, my dad would take my younger brother & I to the river — the Columbia — and my brother Mark & I would explore the shoreline while my dad would hang w/ his buddies…
One day I innocently mentioned to my mom… “When daddy took us to the river the other day, he had ‘hearts in his eyes’ when he looked at ladies.”
I remember the look on my dad’s face when I said that. From there on out, He ALWAYS looked at me differently. He knew I was on Team Mom. He always made me aware that I was a momma’s boy. (And to this day I still am — a very MANLY momma’s boy.)
See, this statement didn’t come as a surprise to my mom. My dad was unfaithful. A lot.
From the time I was 6 to 16, my parents separated & got back together 3 times. When I was 16 my mom revealed to me that my dad was not only an alcoholic (something I grew up aware of & witnessing throughout my childhood — my dad struggled to stay sober), but he was also a functioning meth addict. My dad has a past plagued by abuse, loneliness, hurt, and suicide. My mom has a similar past. My mom turned to Jesus. My dad turned to drugs…
At the start of my junior year in high school, my parents were in the middle of a divorce when my father got thrown in jail. I was living with a friend & his family at the time. I was finally living in an extremely stable household – something I wasn’t really used to, and honestly, it was somewhat hard for me to process.
I was angry. I was upset. I was pissed off.
I was pissed off at God.
I grew up going to church. My mom took me from the time I was a newborn baby. She raised my brothers & I with her Bible always open and her heart continually singing praises to her King, all the while enduring a painful marriage. I came to know Jesus as my Lord & Savior when I was 6 at a vacation bible school in a little white chapel out in the sticks.
Yet, here I was at 16 pissed off at God. I cried one night desperately for God to save my dad. God heard my cry & answered my prayer. Remember, my dad was in jail. During that time he had a ‘come to Jesus’ moment.
While the paperwork was all set for my parents to finalize their divorce, my dad was locked up. He began to read a bible that was given to him. He began to recognize the patterns in his life & the dependencies he relied on were screwed up. He realized that he needed Jesus. He needed Love. He needed Grace. He needed a second chance.
He got all that. My parents didn’t go through with the divorce. My dad moved back into our home after being released from jail. He spent the next few months reading his bible from cover to cover.
I moved back home. We all started going to church together as a family.
I was no longer upset w/ God. He humbled me. He answered my prayer when I was – in my mind – the least deserving.
Time has passed. My parents have since got a divorce. (They’ve been divorced for almost 5 years now.) Unfortunately, my dad slid back into old ways.
I’m not upset w/ God. I’m not even really upset w/ my dad these days…
I’m just praying. I’m praying for the opportunity to give him another second chance…
I realize that I am in need of a second chance (aka GRACE) on a daily basis.
My prayer & hope is that my dad is a prodigal son on the brink of heading home. I am waiting patiently to run to him w/ arms open wide & celebrate his return.
I love you dad. Please come home. Jesus loves you. His grace is exceedingly sufficient.