My dad just turned 73 on November 27. Growing up, I never saw him darken the door of a church unless it was for a wedding or a funeral he HAD to attend. My memories of Pawpaw are slim, at best, so I don't know if he attended church regularly or not, but I know Mawmaw did, so I know Daddy was exposed to religion.
Mom approached him about attending worship with us, but he basically said no, and he wouldn't change his mind, so after a while, she stopped. She never stopped praying though.
Not long after John and I got married, Eddy (my brother) began having problems with substance abuse. He literally put my parents through hell. Finally, Daddy decided to give church a try. Do you have ANY idea how weird it was the first time John and I went home for the weekend and Daddy got up and went to church with us? That was about 15 or 16 years ago, and for the most part, he has gone faithfully and participated in various activities.
After one particularly hellish episode with Eddy, Daddy decided he was going to stop going to church. He was angry that prayers had not been answered, and he blamed God, so he quit attending for a while. For those of us who have been in church since infancy, we know that God does not always answer our prayers the way we want, and sometimes, it seems our prayers are never answered. What we have to remember, though, is that while God DOES have the power to completely turn our lives around, He has given us free will to make our own decisions, so even though thousands of prayers were made on Eddy's behalf, it was ultimately up to him to change his life.
Once Daddy began attending church, the prayers for him changed. Instead of praying for him to start going to church, the prayers were for him to be baptized. Mom and I have had numerous conversations about the subject. I told her several times that I just didn't see Daddy ever taking that step out into the aisle during worship service. I thought that if he ever did decide to take the plunge (literally), he would do so without a huge crowd around...maybe during the week or after church services were over and not a lot of people were around.
Imagine my joy when I read the text from Mom today saying that Daddy was baptized this morning at 11:00! I had tears of joy, and my first thought was "I have to share this with Karen." So across the hall I went. She was at her desk, so I had to walk across the room. When she looked up and saw me with tears in my eyes, so was immediately concerned, but the huge smile on my face let her know that nothing was wrong.
One of my biggest prayers was finally answered, and all I can say is THANK YOU, GOD, for helping Daddy realize the importance of this decision.
Have a WONDERFUL day! I know I will!