In facing loss the only thing I can do is write
I am aching as I right this because I lost a dad last night. A dad, a mentor and a dear friend. For those who don’t know I’ve often said “I’m a daughter of many” I was abandoned by my biological father when I was a few months old and at 10 my mom left. I was dropped into the arms of my Grandparents and they raised me to be a strong independent girl. I always ached for a mom and dad though and in 8th grade when I met Jesus, God provided parents for me.
There are 3 families who I call my own, they opened their arms and pulled me in and nestled me into their lives. The Bohr’s were the first, Matt and Charlotte became Daddy and Mama C, and their 4 beautiful children were like younger siblings. They are the first ones who showed me Jesus’ love and Matt was the first man I ever called Daddy.
The Campbell’s were the most recent family to call me daughter. And I had the privilige of caring for Reagan and Avery and watching those angels grow up the past 3 years. Rob and Paula are mom and dad, they became the ones I called everytime I was hurt. They carried me through heart break, my grandparent’s cancer diagnosis, my grandpa’s death. They were my strong pillars through all of that.
And overlapping both of those was the Winsteads. I have never so quickly clicked with an entire group of people. I first became friends with Jeff, then is brothers and their wives and then his aunt marsha, became mama marsha and peyton, hailey, alyssa, and sarah became my sisters. They let me spend holidays with them when I would’ve been alone. They have loved me unconditionally. Debbie, (Jeff’s mom) always made me feel welcome and comforted, I never felt like I was an outsider. I was one of them, even sweet Nana Sue told me I was family.
But this post is about Keith, the second man I ever called Dad. The one who asked permission “Can I be your earthly dad too?” the one who said “Please count me as a Father”
Keith encouraged me to share my testimony, he encouraged me to be brave and share with a group of people I was afraid would shun me when I told them about my scary childhood. He prophesied over my life that night I opened up to a room full of people who became best friends. He said through tears that my story would change lives and I believed him. When Keith prayed for me I instantly felt peace. And I was not the only one he ministered to. There are countless lives he changed because of his story and his unconditional love. He was a true man of God in my eyes, even when he failed.
And last night he left this earth. And shook up our lives. A father, mentor, hero and friend to many. We are all aching for the loss. But more than that we are rejoicing because he’s with his heavenly Father. I am encouraged by the strength I see in his children and family. They are not letting anyone get glory in this by God. Their hearts are broken but they are still overflowing with love.
I’m writing this as a tribute to a great man and a tribute to the amazing family who let me into their lives.
Asking for your prayers/good thoughts. and I’m not sure i’ll be on here/twitter/facebook much.
But I want to say I love you all. Because when you lose someone those words “I love you” are the only ones I can think to say.