One thing about Steve that I had mentioned before was that he couldn’t keep a secret. In fact, he had told me that he had bought a diamond for my ring already. He had actually told me that during the summer months, and it was now February.
I tried my best to not have a reaction when he told me that. Part of me was excited, as most women would be, because all the wondering of whom was I going to marry could potentially be answered. I still wasn’t sure if I wanted it to be answered forever, right now.
There was just a slight problem.
My parents still didn’t know about JT.
Steve knew that they absolutely had to know about JT before marriage was even an option. Secondly, Steve would have to ask my dad for permission to marry me.
There we were, two mountains staring us in the face. Steve had attempted to tell my dad once before about JT by taking him to a Twins game. Steve didn’t just take my dad to the game, but he had to have the best seats at Target Field, in the Champions Club.
That attempt failed. The two of them ended up talking about me competing in figure competitions. Something my dad wasn’t too fond of.
The next strategy was to tell my parents separately. My mom was in town and she spent the night at my house because my dad was in the hospital.
My dad has had several trips to the hospital for several different reasons. One time my parents even celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary in the hospital after my dad was in a terrible burn accident on the farm.
My mom had gone to church with Mel, Steve and I that day and we went out for lunch after. The plan was to go visit my dad in the hospital after lunch. Both my sister and I knew today would be the day that Steve would finally be able to share the secret we’d been keeping for so long.
There we were sitting at the table having a casual conversation while I was secretly dying inside wondering how in the world are we going to transition from this lighthearted conversation to this bomb of new information.
So it began…
“Jody I have to tell you something…
I have a son.”
“Okay…” she paused, thinking that okay, this child is probably 7 or 8.
“How old is he?” she inquired.
“Seven months old.”
There were several questions that followed. Where does he live, how often do you see him, what is the situation with the mother?
“So basically, you’re a grandma!” he said lightheartedly.
My mom let out a gasp of excitement and she got teary-eyed and I did too. Seeing anyone cry always makes me cry and the fact that part of the weight of keeping this secret was finally somewhat off my shoulders, was a relief.
“You have to tell dad today,” she insisted.
“I don’t want to keep this secret from him and he needs to know. Who knows that you have a son?”
“Mel and Scruff know. I had to tell someone and it was really hard keeping this secret from you guys for so long,” I confessed.
The plan was to go visit my dad in the hospital. Yes, Steve would be telling my dad this news while he was lying in a hospital bed. Steve had asked that he could tell my dad in private.
We arrived and greeted my dad and then us girls left and went to the cafeteria while Steve was alone with my dad. My dad sensed something was up.
“Brian, it’s not what you think it is,” Steve informed. My dad thought he was going to ask for permission to marry me.
“I have a son…”
It was silent for a brief moment, then my dad followed up with similar questions as my mom.
“How old is he?”
They both began to cry.
Steve cried because he felt as though he had let my dad down, yet he cried tears of relief and joy—Relief, because he no longer had to hide the secret of his precious son or his love for him and joy because he was such a proud dad. All things were out in the open and he could finally breathe.
“Steve, it’s okay. We’re going to get through this,” my dad assured.
My dad could sense that Steve felt bad because he had longed for the acceptance of my dad, and he knew without it, there’s no way he’d be able to marry me. This news of course caught my dad off-guard. Sure he felt some disappointment, but he responded with love. Complete love.
After sitting in the cafeteria for almost an hour, I finally got a text giving us the go-ahead to return to my dad’s room.
My heart was racing with anxious anticipation of my dad’s response to this news.
I turned the corner and saw my dad sitting in his hospital bed. He turned and looked at me and our eyes met.
One look was all it took as tears streamed down my face. I was sorry for keeping this from him. I too felt that I had let him down, although it was not my news to tell.
“Come here kiddo,” he invited.
“He hugged me and said, “You know I love you right?”
“Yeah…” I sniffled.
“It’s going to be okay.”
I exhaled with relief. My dad reassured me too. I knew it could be okay, but to hear those words cross his lips made me truly believe it. I longed to know that my father would accept Steve, JT and my decision to be with him.
In life we all long for approval. Some times it’s the approval of people whose opinions don’t even matter, because the only opinion that truly matters is Jesus.’
I longed for the approval of both of my parents in this situation, but mainly my father’s.
Both of my parents responded with love. They filled both Steve and I with love, encouragement and gave us peace. By keeping my secret and allowing it to weigh down my heart, I was carrying a burden I didn’t have to. My father already accepted me.
You see, that’s exactly what your Heavenly Father wants you to know. HE WILL ALWAYS LOVE AND ACCEPT YOU. THERE IS NOTHING THAT CAN SEPARATE YOU FROM HIS LOVE.
His Word says:
38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38-39 New International Version (NIV)
This means there is nothing you have done yesterday that can change the depth of God’s love for you. There is nothing you could do today that can change the depth of God’s love for you, AND there is nothing you could do tomorrow that can change the depth of God’s love you.
He loves you fully and completely. He doesn’t hold anything back because He wants you to know that his love is endless, infinite and constant.
Will you lay that heavy burden you are carrying at His feet?
There’s a reason why you don’t feel strong enough to carry it on your own, and that’s because you weren’t designed to carry it.
My challenge for you today is to sift through the garbage of the mind that Satan, the enemy, is trying to get you to buy in to.
Steven Furtick explained it well in his book “Crash the Chatterbox.”
Listen to TRUTH. Stand confident in Christ’s love for you, for in His name, YOU ARE LOVED AND ACCEPTED NOW AND FOREVER.