One of my favorite characters in the Bible is Naomi. Her story is so powerful for so many reasons, and we will get to that later in this post, but first I want to tell you the story of Kelly.
Last year was probably one of the most difficult years of my life in many ways. However, when I choose to focus on the positive things that came from it, that’s not to say every moment wasn’t still a struggle.
Last year, as I was just getting over my own health issues, I received a call from my mother. My father had accidentally been given thirty days worth of morphine in one shot. She told me I needed to get to the hospital as soon as possible because they weren’t sure my father was going to make it.
I was the first call she made.
I let her know that I would call my brothers and let them know what was going on, and that she should just focus on my dad and the doctors. As soon as I hung up the phone I started to pray, and I sent text after text message asking for prayers from those closest to me.
My father knew who Christ was, but he was lukewarm in his beliefs. So I prayed. I prayed harder than I had ever prayed before, and through tears I knew that he would be okay. My God had a promise for me that my family would know Him, and I mean truly know Him. So, I collected myself and called my brothers.
We met at the hospital and as soon as I walked into the room I saw just how bad it truly was. My father was gray in color and his hands were ice cold. He called me over to his side and asked me to just sit with him and hold his hand.
My father and I haven’t been close for years, and I knew that if he was asking for my hand, it meant that he honestly thought he was going to die. So I took it and I held it tightly and told him he was going to be fine. I told him that I prayed and God told me that he was going to make it. They soon took him away for an emergency surgery and I was left alone with my brothers and a few close friends in the waiting room.
Within twenty-four hours of the overdose, my father was released from the hospital and sent home. The doctors couldn’t explain how he survived, but I knew it was the prayers I had prayed and the many prayers those close to me prayed.
My God saved him because of the promise He had made to me, but I knew that wasn’t meant to be the end of my father’s story. Because of the overdose, my father suffered from many medical issues following. He was unable to work and had to have someone taking care of him at all times. At the time, I had just lost my job because of my own medical issues and was moving back in with my parents. I took this as a sign that I was supposed to take care of my dad. God had worked out the timing perfectly.
So, at the age of twenty-five, I stopped looking for new jobs, gave up my social life, and devoted all of my time to caring for my father.
Three months into this, I started to get very frustrated with God. I felt like I was stuck in the same unchanging season, and unfortunately, my father still wasn’t any closer to a relationship with God. I convinced myself that I was doing everything wrong and my stress levels were unbearable,
… but I was reminded that just three months before this, I was so willing to give up my personal needs and my social life because I knew that God had planned this for me.
In that moment, I told myself that it didn’t matter if this season lasted a week, a month, or years, that I was going to stay the course and do whatever it took to help my father: I started to write Bible verses in places my dad would see them; I got even more involved at church; and I started seeking the Lord more than I ever had before.
After months of:
…turning the other cheek,
…listening to constant negative thoughts,
…withdrawing myself from social interaction,
…and praying more than I have ever prayed before in my life,
something AMAZING happened.
It was small, almost unnoticeable to anyone else, but it was just the sign of hope that I needed in order to finish the race. You see, I hadn’t written a verse in a couple weeks, and my father came to me asking me to write a new one. He said that they were something he looked forward to and that they helped him. After all the prayers, I had finally gotten through to him, and it was all because of the grace of God.
After this mini breakthrough, my father and I started to have a much better relationship. He realized how much I had given up to take care of him, and this selfless act touched his heart. He was starting to be much less bitter towards the world and so much more loving and appreciative. I realized that in the mist of what I thought was the most difficult time of my life, one of the hardest parts of my story, it wasn’t even a story about me.
You see, the reason I love Naomi’s story so much is because it’s found in the book of Ruth. To give you some context: Naomi has just lost her sons and her husband. She’s moving back home, and at this point, she’s completely heartbroken. She’s visibly suffering in the story, to the point that she changes her name from Ruth to Mara which means bitter.
This woman is rightly devastated BUT, her story is found in someone else’s book. Through reading the book of Ruth while going through my season, I realized that all of the frustration and struggles I had been going thought weren’t part of my book. They were part of my father’s story. You see, I was just a character in the foreground of my father’s story. While it wasn’t comfortable or easy, IT WAS SO WORTH IT.
At the end of the book of Ruth, Naomi is blessed for all of her selflessness. Her life wasn’t easy and she didn’t get her own book of the Bible, but she was still blessed.
Looking back, I know now that I’m just a character in my father’s story. Much like Naomi, I have my own story, but right now my focus is to pour into my father’s life. I am still in the midst of his story. It’s not over yet. To be frank though, knowing what matters doesn’t lessen my personal struggles or make them go away, but it does make it that much easier to say, “Let me use these moments to glorify my God and to persevere”.
I am honored to be in the foreground of my father’s story. I am honored to be the Naomi to his Ruth, and I have been blessed time and time again getting to see him grow closer not only in our relationship, but also his relationship with Christ.