Gracefully Truthful

Kelly Broadway

Above All, Trust God.

My mom taught me early on there are three things that you must always do:
be honest,
treat people fairly,
and above all, trust God.

I grew up in the inner city of Kansas City.  I lived on a great block with great neighbors. All of us kids played together and just had fun, making mud pies, picking dandelions, and ensuring we were home before the street lights came on.

I didn’t realize until much later that this final rule was due to gunfire:  I went to sleep with gunfire and awakened with gunfire, almost daily.  It was all we knew.   I didn’t think anything of it until I moved and couldn’t figure out why it was hard go to sleep.  Then I realized, it was quiet.

Despite our challenging surroundings, my incredible mom built a rock-solid foundation for our family.  She worked hard and had a strong constitution. She taught me early on there are three things that you must always do:
be honest,
treat people fairly, and above all, trust God.

Needless to say, faith was a huge part of my life.  In elementary school, we had neighbors who took us to church.  I’ll always remember Reverend Robinson.  He was a gentle soul who loved Jesus.  One day I was practicing writing my name.  He asked, “Whatcha doing there, Sister Kelly?”

“Oh, I’m writing my name.”  Being left-handed, I had written my K backwards.  He replied, “I think the K might be backwards.”  I said with confidence, “No, it’s not.”

At that moment, he explained the plan of salvation to me.  Despite our own complete assurance that we’re doing the “right thing” – perfectly writing the story of our lives – we all find ourselves backwards, choosing sin, out of step with the Father.

When clarity suddenly strikes, and we are confronted with the reality of our sin and separation from God, His propitiatory death and miraculous resurrection light the way back to Him.

Juxtaposed with the strongly supportive presence of my mom was the total absence of my father. As the old saying goes, it was a hard pill to swallow knowing that my father made a conscious decision not to be a part of my life, period.
The enemy began to put shame and feelings of unworthiness in my spirit.

Why wouldn’t he want to be a part of my life?
Maybe it was because I was born with a birth defect and had to have lots of operations.
Or he just didn’t want the responsibility of being a parent.
Or something else that I may never know.

I saw other little girls with their fathers . . .
and thoughts of unworthiness went from occasional to consistent.
Then, I began to own it.

Here I am over 40 years later, still wanting my earthly father to know that even though he made a conscious decision not to be apart of my life, the Lord had but it on my heart to reach out to him to see how he was.

He sounded excited to hear from me, he said I could call anytime. The following week, he called me and dropped yet another bombshell. He alleged that the reason he hadn’t reached out in all these years was based on what the military doctors told him, that due to the gestation period, they didn’t believe I could be his daughter.

Momentarily, I thought about refuting it, then realized, as always, I have, and continue to have,
the best Father ever.
The one who has never left or forsaken me.
The one who I can turn to no matter what. Regardless of the type of day I’m having, my Heavenly Father cares deeply and loves me unconditionally.  

Now I’m the one who’s made a conscious decision:
My earthly father can deny me all he wants,
my Heavenly Father never will. 

God is still in the process of changing me. He has taken what some might consider misfortunes in my life and turned them into reminders of His promises. He will never leave me or forsake me. When I struggled with not having an earthly father, He reminded me,
“I am your Father and I’m all you will ever need.”

I have found unexpected joy and hope in the midst of my challenges. God has used my being born with a birth defect and needing multiple surgeries as an opportunity to let parents who had children with colostomies learn to properly clean the site. Having been bullied from kindergarten through most of high school, I have a God-given passion to help those who can’t, or are afraid, to stand up for themselves. 

In the midst of life’s difficulties, God has surprised me with His care.
It’s like a daisy.
I know from the depths of my heart,
on the days that I stumble,
when I pick the petals off that daisy,
it’s always, “He loves me, He loves me, He loves me, He loves me . . . .”

As I follow Christ, I’m more reflective on His goodness and His mercy as I share my faith. 
I have a different level of understanding of “purpose in the pain” in our lives. I’m intentional about being intentional.

Even when I don’t understand what God does, I trust who He is.
As a result, my earthly goal is to be used by God, for God.

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