God’s Unfolding Plan for Our Family, part 1

*tap, tap* Is this thing on?

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything. We’re all okay here, but the Lord ordained a supremely—and surprisingly—busy winter and spring for us. So, I’ll loosen up my fingers and my keyboard with a bit of a family update. After all, that’s why I started blogging way back in 2006, when we moved from South Florida to Central/ Eastern Pennsylvania (I never quite figured out which it was). I sent a few “family update” emails to a group of friends and family, and one wise friend suggested I start a blog. I laughed, but then when I accidentally signed up for an account with Blogspot while attempting to comment on a friend’s blog post, I rolled with it. (I’m sure the rest of our friends were relieved when the emails stopped.)

Setting the Context

Last fall I taught a bible study on the book of Hebrews and wrote weekly posts from what we were learning in that rich and marvelous book. The class took a break for December, and I took a breather. Our family gathered for the holidays, and our oldest daughter, Kate, moved home from Chattanooga to work on a project (more on that in another post).

Christmas was wonderful, with almost all of our kids and their spouses and all four of our grandsons feasting and opening presents together. We scheduled our “family Christmas” a few days before December 25th so the Houston branch of our gang could spend Christmas day at home and with the other grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. On Christmas morning we awoke to COVID. Jim, Kate, and I all tested positive, as did our sons and one of our daughters-in-law. Fortunately, none of us were sick enough for hospitalization—praise God—but instead we had a quiet and mostly couch-bound couple of weeks (See previous posts here, and here.).

And with that, I thought we had gotten our unexpected “bump in the road” to our carefully laid plans out of the way right at the beginning of the New Year. (Insert laugh track here.)

The heart of man plans his way,
    but the Lord establishes his steps.

— Proverbs 16:9


Almost as soon as we were in the clear to rejoin society, we found we needed to drive up to check in on my Dad, who lived about 5 hours away. As a result of that visit, over the next several weeks we marched straight into the whirlwind of moving him to live near us, complete with getting Powers of Attorney, finding an Independent Living facility that includes Assisted Living and Memory Care for future transitions, making sure his Will is up-to-date, and preparing his house to go on the market. There was far more to do than a brief list can account for, and I’m probably already forgetting things.

But what I do remember clearly is the goodness of God throughout the process. The Lord paved the way for every detail and decision. His hand was so clearly moving us along that I began to realize that I’ve been praying like an unbeliever for years. I’ve been pleading for my Dad, “Lord, please, move him to make decision X, even though I just know he won’t. Give him the desire to do X, even though I just know he won’t want to.” As the Lord began answering each of those prayers my initial response was, “I don’t believe it!” And yet, in his great mercy and kindness, God answered almost every single one of those pitiful petitions.

Dad now lives with his sweet cat Sam in a beautiful, brand-new facility only 4.2 miles from our door, and they are thriving in their new retirement life. For the first time in over 40 years I get to see my Dad for more than holidays and brief special occasions. He can come over for dinner on any random evening of the week. I can join him for his morning power walk at the park near his apartment. Last week I kidnapped him to go see the new Top Gun movie at the theater. We got the biggest bucket of buttered popcorn and mixed our own flavors of soda! His excitement was a treasure and the blessing of time spent with him more than repays the exhaustion of the past months and the many trips back and forth to his old hometown.

And Yet . . .

I mentioned above that the Lord has answered almost every single one of my prayers for my Dad. The prayer that yet remains unanswered is that he would believe on Jesus Christ for salvation. So, I continue to pray, first that the Lord would help my unbelief, and then that the Lord would give me the words to say, to call him to Christ, to the praise of God’s glory.

Would you pray with me?

Father God, in your mercy and kindness, would you draw my Daddy’s heart to yourself? By the power of your Spirit, please give him eyes to behold the beauty of your Son Jesus Christ, and a heart to desire him above all things, calling him to true repentance and belief in Jesus! Oh Lord, I pray, glorify yourself in the salvation of my father.

4 thoughts on “God’s Unfolding Plan for Our Family, part 1

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