Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Father (as in paternal parent, not God) (04/10/08)
TITLE: My Dad, before and after Jesus
By LaNaye Perkins
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Sadly, my early memories of dad weren’t so good. Those memories were ones of tremendous fear because of dad‘s drinking. He didn’t drink all the time, but when he did, he didn’t know when to stop. Any time dad drank, he got drunk.
Some men are jovial and fun loving when they drink, but dad wasn’t one of those. He was a mean drunk and abusive. As far back as my memories go, I remember nights filled with screaming and the awful sounds of abuse as he and my mom would fight. She usually met him at the door full of anger when he came in late. They’d start arguing and the verbal abuse would quickly escalate into physical violence.
My oldest sister would take and hide us kids on nights that the violence would erupt. We’d huddle together someplace out of sight and wait for the fighting to stop. More than once I woke up huddled against my sister in the back of some closet. She was only a few years older, but she’d always gather us up and get us to a safe place the way a mom would.
We always prayed Dad would pass out quickly so the fighting would stop, and we were always afraid he’d come looking for us. I always tried to be as small as possible, thinking it would keep him from finding us. I also remember the tangible sense of fear on those horrible nights too.
I was about seven or eight years old when the beatings stopped. Dad had come in drunk once again. Like so many battered women, Mom finally had enough. That time when the abuse started, she took a beer stein and cracked his head. He didn’t stop drinking then, nor did the verbal abuse stop. But as far as I know, he never beat mom again after that night.
It was years later when I was married and had children of my own that dad quit drinking all together. Mom had started going to church and turned her life over to God. It was just a few years later that dad got saved. The man who had been so violent was gone, and my dad truly was a new creation. Although he did struggle from time to time with his violent temper.
Later in his life, dad and I worked side by side on the family farm. One of my fondest memories of him was a time we were putting up hay. I was raking the hay with my tractor, then he would come behind me on his to bale it.
It was miserably hot and humid that day. We‘d been working the field for several hours when dad motioned to me that it was time for us to take a break. We both drove to the top of a large hill and parked in the shade of the huge tree that stood at the top. We were exhausted from the effects of the heat, but still had many hours of work left.
As we sat up there on that big hill we talked of the farm, the weather, and various other things. His love of the Lord was threaded throughout our conversations. He often talked of how blessed we were to live on such a beautiful piece of ground as this farm. That day almost taxed both of us beyond what we could endure physically, but it was also one of the best days we ever spent together.
My purpose for telling this story is to show what a striking difference the Lord had made in the life of this one man. Although I was an adult before dad found Jesus, his transformation had a dramatic influence over my life. It was one of the key factors that led to my own salvation. It proves that no matter how late in life you find the Lord, you can have a profound effect on those who know you.
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