I became a runner. I ran from home. I ran from my mother and my step-dad. I ran from everything and everyone I knew. I even ran from God, yet somehow ended up in a small community of Christians in Northern California. They loved and accepted me, and I became keenly aware that the God I’d tried to run away from was following me. So what did I do? Rather than get comfortable or give in to His presence, I ran away again, this time to my beloved grandmother in Southern California.
Life went on. I moved back to Idaho, got a job, got married, had two beautiful children, and still had this nagging awareness that the One who took my dad from me was still there, leading me, watching over me, and drawing me to Himself with a love and care unlike any other.
Everywhere I ran to hide, everything I did to escape from Him, didn’t work. It took nearly 35 years, but He still found me. I surrendered myself to the loving embrace of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. In doing so, I found a long-desired purpose and meaning to my life. This doesn’t mean that the loss of my father from the burns, the pain of growing up with so many questions, or any of the other things in life have been easy.
In writing this, I discovered something more to God’s purpose in my life. My father left this world when he was 47 years old. He gave his life loving and caring for the least of this world. He used to preach that Jesus had done the same for him.
Now I’m 47 years old and it’s as if I’m following in his footsteps. I’ve experienced some of the worst things a child can know, but as an adult, I’ve discovered hope, purpose, and a divine calling to share the same heavenly love my father knew, lived out, and shared at every opportunity.
My story is different from most burn survivors. We each have a different survival story. If we all lived the same story, life would not only be incredibly boring, but none of us would gain anything personally. While I didn’t experience the pain of being badly burned, I didn’t experience the physical challenges from the after effects of a burn survivor, but I did live through the flames of an emotional burn.
My heart, soul and mind were scarred and forever changed by losing my father as I did. I’d never wish my own experience on anyone, but these scars have made me who I am today as I continue my path of growth as an individual; strong, courageous, intelligent, determined, and so very blessed.
I think of my dad every day and wonder what it would be like to have him here with me. I miss him so very much. In a sense, he is with me in my heart and mind, but I have a hope and expectation of seeing him again one day in heavenly places. One day, I’ll see my dad again, and he’ll welcome me to my eternal home and lead me into the arms of my heavenly Father, safe forever