On February 3rd, ninety-eight years ago, a baby boy was born who would become my father thirty-seven years later. Daddy was born into a family of sharecroppers in Georgia. He learned to work hard as a little boy and worked in the cotton and tobacco fields until he left home as a young man. He only finished the eight grade at school and then worked full time to help support his family. Daddy's mother died when he was 12 years old and he told me that her death changed a great many things in his life and family. My grandfather married very soon after my grandmother's passing in order to have someone to care for their home and family. Not very romantic, but a necessity of life in the early 1900's.
I was my father's first-born and always knew that I was loved by him. When I developed acute rheumatic fever at the age of nine and was hospitalized for weeks, my daddy would stay with me every night in the hospital so I wouldn't be frightened when the nurses would awaken me for more shots or tests. One night I was awakened and he wasn't there because he had gone to the nurses' station for coffee. As I began to cry loudly in fear, Daddy came running back into the room. He held me in his arms there on my bed and told me that if he could take my place and be sick for me, he would gladly do just that. Even at the young age of nine years, I knew he was telling me of his amazing love for me - his little girl. I never forgot it! Many years later after dealing with heart problems related to the illness of my youth, I was missing my daddy and just thanking God for giving me my father when the revelation of what happened in my hospital room all those years before become very clear. God was revealing to my little girl's heart a picture of the sacrificial love of a father for his child that would prepare the way for me to fully know and accept the love of my Abba Father for me. Daddy loved me and wanted to take my place and take my disease, my pain and my fear, but he couldn't. Abba Father also loved me and wanted to take my place and take my disease, pain and fear - He wanted to, He could and He did! What a glorious picture of my Abba's love revealed through my daddy! I still miss my daddy but I have the assurance from God's Word that Daddy has not ceased to be - he is still very much alive! So, happy birthday, Daddy, from your little girl. Thank you for loving me and preparing me for the greatest love I can know! You did good, Daddy!