A Father’s Love

My brother-in-law is a Chaplain with the U.S. Navy, currently assigned to the Coast Guard.  He has been deployed to Haiti to help with the relief efforts there.  What follows is a glimpse of what is happening there from his eyes; A view that most likely will never be told in the media.  This is directly from one of his emails to my sister:

…It may seem small in comparison but our little clinic has evacuated over 200 people.  I can’t tell you the number of lives that have probably been saved because of the efforts of our folks here.  Our Coast Guard helicopters pack in as many people as they can, sometimes seven or eight or more people.  What they can’t fit in a seat or on a stretcher, they put in their laps.

These people are so resilient.  For years they have been subjected to whatever comes their way, either man made or nature related and they survive.  I watched little children with sever wounds be worked on with no pain medicine or anesthesia and not even whimper.  One lady with a severe head trauma, along with multiple other wounds, have her scalp opened up and cleaned of gang green, she never flinched, and then when it was all done she got up and walked out of the clinic!  They are grateful for Tylenol…something we take everyday.  It is absolutely amazing.

They are so open to prayer and a kind smile or a look of compassion.  While most of our people wore a mask I couldn’t bring myself to wear one most of the time because I wanted them to see my face and know that I hurt with them and cared about them.  One boy about 8 or 9 came in with a bad head wound; when they were done working on him they asked who brought him in.  He said no one…his parents were killed when his house collapsed.  He sat on the steps for two days, I don’t know what happened to him after that. I can only pray a relative found him and took him in. An 85 year old woman was carried in over the shoulders of a 15 year old kid.  When we asked what happened he said the nursing home she was in collapsed…she was the only survivor.  He just found her and brought her in.  I didn’t think she was going to make it.  As I prayer over her I asked God that if he were to take her to do it quickly, but if not to begin restoring her health.  Three days later we were able to medivac her.  Part of me couldn’t believe she lived the other part just stood in amazement at God’s faithfulness.

One more I will tell you about.  A beautiful young woman in her early 20’s was brought in with multiple injuries.  She had with her a handsome well built man who looked to be slightly older then her.  After she was treated I watched for three days how this man sat with her, laid her head in his lap, helped her move around, find her food.  His gentle care for her was incredible to watch.  I eventually made it over to them and offered to pray for her…they were excited about this idea.  I assumed this was his wife so I asked him if I could pray for his wife and he said “no, no, this is my daughter.”  I was moved to tears at that point as I made the connection.  The love of a father has no limits, not age, not injury, not circumstances…

I am brought to tears thinking that just as this father stayed with his daughter, consoling, holding, helping, caring, moving and caring for her, how much more does our Heavenly Father do this for us and we take it for granted?  Take a moment.  Think about it.

Hmm…

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Oh, How He Loves Me and You…

It’s bedtime.  April asks Kendyl to brush her teeth.  Kendyl can’t find her toothbrush.  April asks “What did you do with it after you brushed your teeth this morning?”  Kendyl replies, “I don’t know.”

Kendyl lied about brushing her teeth this morning.  We know this because we found her toothbrush in her overnight bag which she brought home from her cousin’s last night.  Kendyl’s grounded.  Kendyl proceeds to have an “attitude” because she is grounded.  We pray with her, kiss her, tell her we love her, turn off the light and leave the room.

After five minutes, Kendyl appears at our door and asks for April and I each separately.  She grabs a hold of me, sobs, hugs, sobs, hugs harder.  I say, “I love you.”  Again I say, “I love you” and she replies back with the same words, sobbing and hugging tighter than before.  She’s forgiven.

What a beautiful moment.  A perfect picture of how God recieves us when we come back to him sobbing, knowing that we have done wrong by Him.  God is standing there, patiently waiting for us to run back into His wide-open arms, wanting us to collapse in them so that He can love on us.  Oh how He loves me… Oh how He loves you… Oh how He loves me and you…

I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!

feb4On this very day, 14 years ago, I married the love of my life.  The one who God graciously put in my life to be my life long soul mate.  My wife.  April Renee’ Gearhart Goodger.

I would have never thought that when my roommate and I invited 10 girls and 4 guys over for dinner on that night back in 1993 that each of us would have met our wives.  I didn’t even know that I was interested in her.  I walked her to her car that night and we ended up talking for what seemed like hours under the moonlit sky while leaning on her car.  I called frequently, asking her to do stuff with my group of friends.  There were “no’s” and there were “yes’s” until we found ourselves spending each night together after work, especially the nights Melrose Place and Beverly Hills 90210 were on TV.

The week before Thanksgiving, 1993, we were outside of April’s apartment saying goodbye when it happened.  She kissed me.  SHE kissed ME. SHE KISSED ME!  Sure I like her and thought that there was something there but that wasn’t my plan.  I was waiting until the next week when she was coming to my parents house for Thanksgiving – we were going to the beach for the sunset.  BUT April ruined those plans but the future was locked in from that moment on.  I knew in my heart that she was THE one.

Looking back over the years, we have been through a lot.  My dysfunctional family (it’s the truth, right?).  Her parents moving in with us 2 months after we were married.  My dad’s gambling habits.  My mom moving in with us.  Dad’s passing.  Kendyl’s birth.  Logan’s birth.  A dog (anyone want a dog?).  Our house (which now might have a sinkhole under it).

Through it all there has been one constant that never changes – God.  He has been and always will be at the center of our marriage.  I know full well that if God wasn’t a part of our marriage both of us would have probably bailed a long time ago.  I can only think of MAYBE 2 arguments we’ve had over the years but without God there would have been many more.

April, I try to love you just as Christ commands us in Ephesians 5:25-30

Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her to sanctify her by cleansing her with the washing of the water by the word, so that he may present the church to himself as glorious – not having a stain or wrinkle, or any such blemish, but holy and blameless. In the same way husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one has ever hated his own body but he feeds it and takes care of it, just as Christ also does the church, for we are members of his body.

God – allow me to exemplify this scripture.  Show me how to love my wife as Christ loved the church.  I don’t know how to do that.  You need to be my example.  You need to be my tutor, my mentor, my Father.  I thank You for the honor of being a husband and for trusting me to take care of your daughter, April.  Allow me to love her more each day.  I can’t wait to see what Your plans are for us in the next year, 5 years, 25 years, and the rest of our lives.  God my we, most of all, Glorify You, Exemplify You, and Honor You through our marriage.  In your name I pray. AMEN!

April – Thank you for putting up with me. Thank you for loving me.  Thank you for being the mother of our children (and our dog too, I guess).  Thank you for making my life complete.  I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!

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