Trina is one of my heroes! We have been on many mission trips together in Honduras and I've grown to love and admire her. She's such a wonderful example, WCS has tried several times to persuade her to teach for us. Trina is a newlywed and teacher in St. Louis. I was blessed to stay with Trina and her husband, Bob, when I spoke in St. Louis in the fall of 2012. Pray for me in Vietnam! It was August of 2002 – I had just arrived in Searcy, Arkansas, for my first semester of college at Harding University. I had known Harding would be my college choice for a long time; the campus, the atmosphere – everything about it – showed me that something was special about this place. My mother and father helped me move all of my belongings in and organize my dorm room, as typical college freshman parents do. At the time, they were not big fans of the distance, as I am from Franklin, Tennessee, but they supported me in my decision and made sure I was alright.
We said our goodbyes in my fully-furnished and organized dorm room before my parents left – anyone that knows me knows I am a mess when it comes to these situations. Tears, sniffles – the whole nine yards! With those tears in my eyes, I hugged them both goodbye, and I was left in my dorm room. This was the first time I had ever truly been on my own, and I was scared. Once I got myself together, I went about the rest of my day, checking out campus and meeting new people.
Little did I know, my mother and father made the trip back to Franklin – my father was teary-eyed as well. Before I left for college, he kidded my mother that, between the two of them, she would take my leaving home the worst. Little did he know, it would affect him just as much, if not more, that my mother. As the oldest of three girls, I was the first to move away from home – I am not sure he realized how much this would affect him.
The next day, I called my parents – on my brand new cell phone – to check in and share how things were going. I talked to both of them separately – when my dad got on the phone, he made a suggestion for me. With the way I had arranged my schedule, I started each day with either an 8:00 class or 9:00 chapel. He suggested that, in order for us to keep in touch, that he would call me at 7:50 each day – ten minutes before my classes – to start each day with a little chat. I readily accepted his suggestion, seeing it as a way to stay connected with home.
We started this process during my first semester at Harding – we continued this pattern each semester – talking at the beginning of each school day, then moving home each summer. I graduated with my BA in education in 2006; after graduation, I decided to stay in Arkansas, work on my Masters degree, and start my teaching career. I had become so accustomed to talking with my dad every day, that I made a suggestion to him. As a teacher, I would have a similar schedule, compared to my schedules in college. I suggested that we continue our morning conversations, since they had become commonplace to us – five semesters strong. He was more than willing to continue – and we have followed this format to this day.
We started our morning conversations in 2002 – thirteen years ago. I will be entering my ninth year of teaching this August, and still, to this day, my father and I talk on my way to work. He works from home, so I am usually the one on the move, but every weekday, without fail, my father and I chat. My father is not a big “phone talker” – he does not spend much time on the phone, and I am lucky if I get 4-5 minutes out of him. The length of our conversations does not matter – each minute I get to spend talking to him is a true blessing. It is all the more important as I currently live in St. Louis, Missouri – my husband and I moved here once we were married in 2011. Being away from my family is not easy for me, but the constant connection I have with my father – and the rest of my family – shortens the distance and still makes me feel at home.
I look at my father, and I see a man who loves the Lord – a husband, a father, and a servant to others. His giving heart and unconditional love are beyond words – he is always there for me, backing my every decision and encouraging me to be better. I see my Lord in my father – in everything he does, our Lord receives the credit. He continues to amaze me – he is everything a father should be, and more.
This story reminds me of our constant connection with our Father in heaven. The advent of prayer allows us to communicate with our Lord each and every day – anytime, anywhere. Jesus demonstrated this in His own life – in His time on earth, the Bible records that He spoke with His Heavenly Father on numerous occasions.
Hebrews 5:7 states:
“While Jesus was here on earth, he offered prayers and pleadings with a loud cry and tears, to the one who could rescue him from death. And God heard his prayers because of his deep reverence for God.”(NLV)
Jesus understood the importance of prayer and communicating with His Father; we are fortunate to have this same connection today. He also knew He could bring anything to His Father in prayer, and God would hear him. I knew, as a college freshman and today, that I could talk to my father about anything – the good and the bad – and he would listen to me. My father has never given me a reason to doubt him – just as our Lord has never given me a reason to doubt Him. The first part of Ephesians 6:18 says:
“Pray in the spirit at all times and on every occasion. “ (NLV)
Paul was admonishing the church in Ephesus to pray anytime about anything, no matter what it involved. My father wants to know what is going on with me – just like my Heavenly Father wants to know. He is with us 24 hours a day, seven days a week – anytime we need Him, He is there for us. He knows our hearts, and wants us to involve Him in our lives – when was the last time you talked to Him?
He is always there – never underestimate the power of prayer! Your Father is waiting for you to make the connection!