After my mom passed away when I was 16, I lived walking on eggshells with my dad. Our relationship was very rocky and certainly not rooted in Christ. He had struggled with addictions and depression and I was lost in the rebellious party scene of high school and then college.
Long story short, amid my worldly lifestyle I grew to know the Lord. When I graduated college, I moved to Covecrest as a full-time Life Teen Missionary. I could share my faith with anyone at my college, even become a full-time missionary where I would live a life of sharing, yet when I was home why was it so difficult to share Jesus with my own dad?
I promised myself that I would do all that I could to show him the love of Christ. I wrote him a long letter recalling all the ways I saw Christ in him and letting him know how much I loved and respected him in spite of all we had gone through. After this something began to change in his heart; an openness I hadn’t seen before.
The following March he came up to Covecrest for the Men’s Retreat. I asked him if he wanted pray the rosary together on the rosary walk and he replied, “Is that what mom used to pray all the time?” Realizing quickly that he was not sure of what many of the mysteries meant. I took it slow and I began to explain the mysteries in a way that it walked us through the general gospel message.
My dad was hooked on every word and with tears in his eyes said that if he flew all the way out here just to hear me tell him about the mysteries it would have been worth it. I called him a few weeks after the retreat to check in and he told me that he had read Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John three times over.
This past November I got a call that my dad had pancreatic cancer. I flew in the next day and remained with him, taking care of his medical needs, bringing over priests, and praying with him daily until he passed away December 2, 2013. A year ago I was inspired to share my faith with my dad and praise the Lord I did. Through the power of the Holy Spirit his whole perspective on life began to change. He had an amazing sense of peace amid all of his pain and looked forward to whenever I would come pray with him.
In that last month of his life he shared with me, “You know Jen, I have made a lot of mistakes in my life and caused a lot of hardship but God’s mercy is so strong and Jesus has forgiven me of every last thing and when I die I know that I will be with Him.”
It was so simple. His confidence in God’s mercy and love has and will always be an inspiration to me.
Editor’s Note: This blog is part of a series of blogs that relate to our 2014 theme Inspire[d]. If you would like to submit about a blog about an Inspire[d] story that you have, please see these guidelines.