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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Father (as in paternal parent, not God) (04/10/08)

By Karen Sunderland


My just-out-of high school niece chose to keep her baby and stay with her parents. So, as my brother was beginning to feel age coming on, he became a grandfather and substitute father at the same time. Though an active boy, my grand-nephew, now quite a bit bigger, has always been good at home and in school. My brother DID DO something right, but he unfortunately doesn¡¯t believe in God. So what made the difference for this boy without a father?

And - from where did my brother get his fatherly stance? He got it from a local grocery store owner, Ernie. Though Ernie had a large family, he let his kids¡¯ friends hang out at his store and attached house - where he and his wife also hung out. Ernie enjoyed his constant youthful-visitors and his kids behaved well; thus, so did their visitors - such as my brother.

Not coming from a Christian home, I didn¡¯t give my life to Jesus until my mid-twenties. Living in the social sewer in my early 20¡¯s brought me to reality, and I forsook my old life for the wonderful mercy and new mind that Jesus gave me.

However, perhaps to some Christians¡¯ disgust, I haven¡¯t married because I really think marriage hasn¡¯t been God¡¯s choice for me so far. I left high school with a day-dreaming HABIT and TOTAL lack of self-confidence. Even after becoming a Christian; for years I quit one dream after another, while hanging on to the familiarity of temporary employment. And to make things more interesting, in my early 40¡¯s I was hit in the head+ by a pick-up truck. I could¡¯ve fought a court battle for brain damage, but chose to get back out there and bat instead. Nevertheless, due to my weakened condition and growing age, I¡¯ve had to turn to my mostly still not-Christian family repeatedly for help during the years since the accident.

When I couldn¡¯t miss the fact that I was over 50 and time was flying; I realized that I needed to get better employment, but supervisors just didn¡¯t seem to want me as they used to - even on temp jobs. This led to my recalling some of my teenage home-names such as ¡®hopeless case¡¯ and ¡®wretch¡¯; but I knew that those names didn¡¯t come from God - so I didn¡¯t quit.

Hence, to remedy my employment situation, I took a deep breath of Jesus and got a job teaching English to preschoolers in China. Notwithstanding, after six months my liaison mercifully invited me to leave China immediately, as I had been sick most of the time I was with the little ones; and at that point, I couldn¡¯t even talk to the little guys and gals without coughing my head off. Was this the end of the line for a ¡®hopeless case¡¯ as I had been not-so-fondly called at home? OR was it? God did promise his followers that He wouldn¡¯t let them fall so hard that they couldn¡¯t get back up.

I¡¯ve spent the last four years going back and forth between my still mostly non-Christian family and China teaching under one-year contracts at colleges. What I¡¯ve enjoyed about this not-easy-experience has been inviting my students who want extra English-help to come to my apartment for sessions of combined English coaching and chatting.

On the other hand, since I¡¯ve earned no social security while in China and never have had much to speak of; I¡¯ve got to try to find work in the US where I can hopefully earn enough S.S. to stay off the streets when I¡¯m so far over I can¡¯t get back up the hill.

Last June, I looked my situation straight in the nose - and almost cringed. Thoughts of being poverty stricken and dieing alone almost GOT me. But, I THANK GOD for thoughts of Jesus that quickly replaced those thoughts. Yes, I rested in the fact that even if I die alone in some dumpy room ¨C I won¡¯t be alone. In fact, that room will be beautiful because my ONLY fatherly-father, Jesus, will be there to comfort me. And that and other Jesus thoughts have carried me through more hard times ¨C and even allowed this too ripened-tomato to keep rolling on to who knows where.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Sara Harricharan 04/17/08
An interesting equation for your title! Thank you for sharing these thoughts, I can sense quite a bit of emotion here. ^_^
Angela M. Baker-Bridge04/18/08
Your willingness to be transparent can encourage others.

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Continue trusting God, as you do, and He will direct your path.