There are times in this life when everything stops and God’s glory is revealed to us in ways that are simply….miraculous. This is a story of defeat, dis-honor, disappointment, redemption, forgiveness and victory.
Sitting in a friend’s office thirteen years ago, my eyes were opened to the reality of my complete and utter failure as a human being. The outside world didn’t see it that way, in fact, I was quite successful in the business world, had lots of money, property, stuff… but on the inside, at the core of what I followed and believed and worshiped, was myself. My happiness, my pleasure and my desires was all that mattered. My friend uttered these words that seared into my heart… “Jeff, you are going to hell…there’s no question about that, but the question is….how many people that you care about, that you love, will have their lives trashed by you?”
Like a ton of bricks, it hit me between the eyes and there was no running from it. I was one of the most effective salesmen you could imagine and I had no response. He was right. We prayed and I gave my life to Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. I was born-again, a child of God and have not looked back.
Unfortunately, those lives that I trashed, the ones that meant so much to me couldn’t help but carry the deep scars of my doing. Both of my daughters bore the brunt of it. Brooke and I came back together shortly before her untimely death, but Paige and I remained apart, very far apart.
Paige, rightfully dis-owned me and wanted nothing to do with me, no contact what-so-ever. Years went by and her stance didn’t soften. Each and every day, I prayed for God to help our relationship heal and restore us. Nine years went by without contact. Having begun my Pro BBQ career and traveling around the country sharing Jesus, and the Thank You Fairy, God put on my heart to make a trip out to California. It was a risk, but I wanted to make the trip to apologize to Paige. I sent off an email, and she agreed to meet with me.
My sole purpose on the morning we met was to apologize to Paige for not being the Dad she deserved to have. To apologize for the pain I had caused. No excuses, no explanations, just an apology. THAT is what Paige needed to hear and she forgave me. She didn’t just jump right in and trust what I was saying to be real, but her heart was wide open to giving me a shot.
Following our re-connection, we stayed in touch, visited a couple times and just worked on getting to know each other as adults. I always sensed a bit of awkwardness when Paige attempted to address me because she didn’t know what to call me… and Dad wasn’t on the radar screen….yet. God continued to heal her heart and as the years have gone by, Paige grew to realize that Jeff is not the man he used to be, but he really has changed. This past February, I received the most treasured expression of love, a birthday card and note from Paige:
I just wanted to write you a note to say how truly grateful I am to have you back in my life. I value you and our relationship. You enrich my life so thank you for that. Life is crazy and at the end of the day, we are all just people doing the best we can. Sometimes it’s hard as a daughter to see your parents as “actual people” with struggles of their own. You had your own demos to battle in your life and I understand that more & more as I get older. I love you and I truly forgive you. Thank you for being authentically you. You are an amazing human being with a kind heart. – Paige.
As I cry again, writing this…. I share it with you to know that God will honor your prayers in His perfect timing. You know exactly what is worth holding onto in your life and sometimes it’s a struggle to understand how things get to where they are… but God sees it all as well. He cares for all of us and will make a way for you to do the things you need to do, to get on the path that is Victory in your life. Relationships matter. Saying Thank You and I’m Sorry are the most powerful relationship tools we have. There’s no allotment on how many times you can use them.
Give your whole heart to God… He’s the answer you need, the provider of your dreams, the healer of your heart. What are you waiting for?
Jeff Loves Jesus and since being saved... born-again... my desire is to work for Him in whatever capacity that becomes. :)