My father called me this week. We try to talk at-least a few times a year. He always uplifts me and makes me laugh. He called because he got a copy of my first published book and he was SO proud.
My earliest meaningful memory with him was when I was 13 years old. He had just gotten out of prison and he came straight to see me. We were more like buddies than father and daughter. We would walk to the corner store and buy him cigarettes and some beer. And me a candy bar. I think I had my first taste of beer with him and it was so nasty. He told me to never drink the stuff, and I still don’t to this day.
We would talk for hours about how messed up he felt. He always said that having me might’ve been one of the best things he had at the time. He always said he knew I was going to be something in life. He would share bible scriptures with me and after awhile we started going to Church together. We would walk up there because he had no car. He’s actually the reason I ended up in youth group.
But shortly after reuniting he slipped back into his old ways and went away again. Honestly, I was angry. I was mad. I was mad at him, life and at God. I didn’t understand how just as I started feeling some sort of connection he chose other things over me.
Why would my father point me to a God who couldn’t save him but could save me? I was so confused. But, while he was away I still kept going to that youth group. And eventually I became a Christian.
My father eventually got back out entered a halfway house near me and then a place where guys stayed working on their struggles. He had nothing to fill his day but Jesus, work, food and rest. I used to go visit him and the guys. He still struggled and so did I but I never gave up on him and he kept telling me to keep fighting to change things for myself so I could have a better future.
Several years later, we started to become more like every other father and daughter instead of just like friends. I was married with sons of my own now. He would come over to my house to visit his grandsons and get a plate of food from my kitchen. We talked. We laughed. He tried to give me advice here and there, but most times he would point me to God and the Bible.
In 2012, it was me that left him behind this time. I accepted a job relocation to Charlotte in hopes for a better life and more opportunities. He was so sad but he was proud. He kept saying, “Suga, my son in law, you and them boys are doing good. Sometimes you gotta go and create your own way. You’ve always taken care of everyone and now it’s your time.”
I was thinking this morning, I don’t have one picture of him and I when I was a kid. But I’ve got plenty of him and my sons and even a few with me and him from a couple of years ago. He still prays for me. He still to this day apologizes for not being the Daddy or person he could’ve been. He still talks about mistakes he made along the way. If there is one thing he hasn’t stopped doing it’s making sure he keeps reminding me that I’m destined for better things. Even now when I have confidence in Gods plan myself. We’ve had an interesting journey but some days I think his absence growing up held me accountable in a strange way.
This is our redemption story.
Now that I’m a parent and have made mistakes myself, and have had struggles myself with things. I know that no matter what I do, I want better for my sons than I had. It’s also proof that God can use anyone at anytime to help you. I believe through my father, God the Father was telling me that HE had my ultimate plan all along.