Saturday, April 7, 2012


If ever there was souls hovering on the brink of Hell it was the two criminals,  virtual nobodies hanging beside Jesus, the Son of God. In a heartbeat, one voiced what his intuition had detected; that Jesus was indeed the Son of God! With his dying breathe he said,"'Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom" (Luke: 23:42). What Jesus did next was a wonderful example of understanding, acceptance, love, and compassion all wrapped up in one conclusive act. It is the epitome of the life of Jesus, strength thru adversity. Without hesitation Jesus responded to his plea for mercy: "Jesus answered him, 'I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise'" (Luke:23:43). We can learn from one of the two who were crucified next to Jesus. It is never too late to repent and ask the Lord to accept us. Jesus cleansed this man from his sins, received him graciously, and justified him unconditionally. He conferred upon a sinner the gift of eternal life. 
I have often wondered if those two thieves had family watching the crucifixion. If so, were they saying, "yeah he is getting exactly what he deserves; he is a thief, a criminal, brought
nothing but shame to our family." Did they hear the exchange between them and Jesus? The scriptures give us no answers to these kinds of questions. What the exchange between them and Jesus did was leave us with Hope.
Hope was all I had as I prayed from the day I got saved, God please save my family and use "whatever it takes".  In my human mind with wounds not healed yet it was a huge step of faith to pray this way.  There was no love for my father in me...he had beaten it all out with his drunken cruelty when I was young.  I was learning to draw from the heavenly Father unconditional love for me for power to even pray for him.

 Dad's drinking buddies called me after finding Dad at his house lying in a pool of blood, out of his mind.    Like a little child Dad lifted his arms to us when he heard my husband say, Clyde we have come to take you to get help.  He was so dirty after laying for four days in his own vomit, blood and urine, but he came without a fight.   After many test the VA doctors said, your Dad had a stroke which reduced him to a child, he cannot control his body functions, he had almost bled to death due to a stomach ailment and he needs to be in a nursing home.  On top of all that Dad was already dealing with only having one leg. 

Weeks later they placed in him a nursing home near us and we began our weekly visits.  I can't remember when God begin to first speak to me about bringing Dad home to care for.  What I do remember is not wanting to believe I heard Him right but my husband was hearing the very same thing.  So after much prayer we turned our living room into a bedroom complete with furniture needed to take care of a 58 year old child.  I was to learn love is not a feeling but an act of the will.

Because our life was full of church related events we worked hard taking Dad with us everytime the doors were open.  There were time when Dad would resist but we just kept taking him in hopes the Word would penetrate his darken heart.  Sometimes it seemed his  mind would clear up and for few minutes you could talk to him about Jesus. But 99 percent of the time Dad lived in the past, mostly thinking I was his mother.  When he was in the present were the times he would curse me and fight me. I think it was too humiliating for him to have my hand take care of him.  Once he turned to me and said, "you know Jo, it's not supppose to be  this way!" I knew he meant me taking of him like a child, I said you are right its not suppose to be this way but it is Dad.  I think in his own way he was trying to say he was sorry...guess I wanted it to mean that.

Dad begin to get weak so back to the hospital we went only to find out he had lung cancer.  He needed radiation treatments which they hoped would slow the cancer down.  It did for a while but the treatment took what little strength Dad had left. He no longer could help me getting him into the wheelchair and we had to stopped taking him to church and get someone in to care for him when we could not be there. 

Finally I could not get Dad to eat even liquids so I took him back to the hospital this time to find the cancer was back and was eating into his windpipe.  We knew the time had come for us to let them put Dad back into a nursing home.  Young children could not go to the rooms so this one evening Ace went first as I stayed with our kid in the lobby.  He was gone about a 45 minutes and as I watched him walk toward us I knew something wonderful happened because his face was glowing.  He said, honey you won't believe this but your Dad's mind was clear as if he never had a drink or a stroke and he understood the gospel and ask forgiveness then ask Jesus into his heart.  Ace was so excited by this miracle he had witness he thought we might be able to bring Dad home with us.

Early the next morning the doctor called, my Dad had passed away.  At first we were stunned...then the glory of the Lord broke through and for the first time I felt love for my Dad in my heart crowding out all the pain and bitterness and forgiveness flooded my soul.   My second thought was, Dad was like the thief on the time to get baptisted, no works to even take to the fire, only Jesus promises today you will be with me in paradise.   The ground is truely level at the foot of the cross.

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in our tribulation, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance, and perseverance, proven character; proven character, hope, and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Roman 5:1-5
When I speak this testemony I am always ask, "would I do it again" and I answer yes, yes, yes.  I learned more about the love of Jesus through that hard time that would keep me through countless others to come...Happy Easter


  1. Oh, Betty. I have prayed the same prayer too, and I am still praying salvation for every member of my family. It is difficult to share to our own parents, whose beliefs have been rooted since their birth.

    I thank God that your Dad had been enlightened at the right moment and he understood. IT is always by conscious choice and declaration.

    This was beautiful, Betty. Such an Easter story of forgiveness and salvation.

  2. Hello Lolita...thank you for your comment. I will keep your family in prayer. I think those are aready rooted deep are the hardest. My Dad had no faith to fall back on...I think it was easy to convince him he was a sinner.
    Hope your Easter is special. Blessings my friend.

  3. Oh, my Betty...

    You did it! You wrote your story.

    I'm moved to sobs. It is the most precious story of forgivenss and salvation. Yes, just like the thief.

    I praise God! Thank you for this marvelous Easter story. I will always remember it.

    My youngest son, Andrew, posted on his blog a FICTIONAL story he wrote years ago about the thief on the cross next to Jesus. If you'd like to read it, here is his blog:

    Betty, I can see where your wise heart comes from. Experience. Thank you for this writing this. I know the battle raged. And I can see why! But, Hallelujah! The Spirit of God within you prevailed!

    A blessed Easter to you and Ace!

  4. Made it with prayers behind me and before me sent up by you sweet ladies. it was like an attack on my mind to cause me to lose what I orginally wrote. I did go to bed but could not up to try again and it flowed.

    I check out andrew thief stories.

    Out of great pain and testing shoudl come some wisdom when we reconige where it comes from. You wise hearted ladies have proved that to me more then once. Blessings

  5. A blessed Resurrection Day to you, my courageous, wise-hearted friend!

  6. What an amazing story and comparison! You wrote it beautifully! I am also very humbled by the fact that you had not forgiven your dad when you decided to care for him. You felt led by God to do it and you did it. I can safely say I would not have done the same. I would have left my bum dad in the hospital then felt bad for him when he died. What spiritual giants you and you husband are! Thank you for sharing this victorious story, dear Betty!

  7. Veronia...spiritual giants we are not...and is not something I would ever suggest that someone do. It was for us at that time of our walk with Him, taught us a lot. Showed me for sure the frailty of my love...and like I said it did not take a few drops more to purchase Dad's salvation. Like Lolita said it is always a conscious choice. I praise Him for working a miracle in Dad's mind. Blessings my friends.

  8. Betty-
    I have heard it said "The roles will change-as our parents age, they become child-like and we become the Adult Parent.

    God knew your past, the hurts, and above all-HE knew your Heart and how HE would use your Faith to help bring your Dad to salvation. Even with the deep wounds you suffered, your FAITH was open to God's Will and a miracle happened.

    There are times in this life when we feel that our Past Wounds need to be kept silent-we worry about letting it all out there, knowing the judging will come by others.

    I have always felt "People just have TOO many ROCKS in their pockets to throw at others!" If they were to stop for a split second to examine their own hearts-well all the ROCKS would drop to the ground!

    This was a powerful story Betty! You have a great inner strength inside to have shared it. Many people who read this will be changed forever by this witness of FAITH, HOPE, and LOVE.

    I am proud to know you Betty.

    God bless you. Martha

  9. Martha, thanks for the sweet comment

    I love what you wrote, Faith, Love and to even take that journey, His love grew inside of me without me even knowing about it as first and Hope...Hope is the foundation love and faith ride on. I pray lives will moved and change if they read it. I know mine has been just sharing it again.

    Thank you friend for the encouragment. Blessings

  10. Your story brought me to tears. Bless you for living out your faith and caring enough about your father to continue to witness and share.

  11. thanks Terri for stopping by...blessing my sister.

  12. What a beautiful testimony of God's grace-to you and to your father.