I know Father’s Day is a month away, but a very important father figure in my life passed away suddenly.
I’m so blessed to have had him treat me like his daughter despite there being no blood relation and despite him having three daughters of his own.
It’s not easy growing up without a biological father there to help me grow up. So much of a woman’s self worth comes from the way she is treated by her father.
I remember the first time Pastor Keith and I met. I thought it was time I sit with someone and sort through my life and my faith in God. I was only sixteen or seventeen at the time. But I felt brave enough to call up the church and ask to speak to one of the Pastors. And they scheduled me to meet with him.
I remember his bright eyes just filled with excitement concerning all of my questions about life and Jesus. He didn’t make me feel like I was immature or silly.
I remember he encouraged me to take an internship at the church. He was in charge of me and two other interns. And boy did we test him.
There were times we would hide from him. There were times we would just pop up in his office without an invitation. We would sit there and ask him question after question just to see how much he really knew. And he knew A LOT!
It was also to distract him from giving us interns more tasks. And it worked every time! He loved to answer questions!
The most amazing thing about him was the way he would look at me like I was his daughter. I had never had a man with so much genuine respect and concern for my well being give me a hug. I never had such words of encouragement spoken to me by a man till I met him.
The most important thing he ever said to me that I still remember everyday is, “You will do greater things than I have done. Children are supposed to out do their parents”
He knew I needed to be treated like a daughter and that’s what he did. He lectured me. He was stern with me. He approved of my husband and counseled us into our marriage. I cried with him and embarrassed myself with him. I thought he was so cool.
I remember he wasn’t afraid to ask me anything anywhere. One lunch hour during the internship, the entire church staff sat at the table eating and he asked (announced), “Chanelle can I ask you a personal question?” And I responded, “in front of all these people?!”
He truly was unafraid. He was unafraid to tell me exactly what he thought and how he felt about all of my decisions. And every time he spoke I saw the love and concern in his eyes as he looked right at me. I had never had a man give me such focused attention until I met him.
Pastor Keith gave me self worth. He taught me how to value myself and how to expect more from myself. I’m so blessed to have had his kids share his fatherly love with me.
His words, ideas and character will continue on in those he loved and those he did life with. He truly impacted my world and without him I don’t know that I would be the Chanelle I am today. I don’t know that I’d have the courage to speak out bold ideas and to pray bold prayers.
Thank you Lord for Pastor Keith. And I pray that as his family goes through this season of grieving, they will have joy in their hearts knowing that they will see him again.