Trusting the Seasons

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

I decided, back in May of 2019, to confess the truth to my daughter: I am not her biological father. At the time, she was fifteen years old. She was completely unaware that she was not born of my seed. The entire conversation took less than an hour in it’s entirety.

She received the information and left our home, immediately. Her mother texted me a short time thereafter, telling me that our daughter was safe and that she had asked to stay with her for the night. “She’s really upset. I’m not sure what she plans to do but I will keep you posted about what she decides.”, my ex wife communicated to me.

My daughter hasn’t been back since.

**********

My friend, I can spend endless hours talking about what God has done for me. I do that very thing all the time, actually. However, God hasn’t put on my heart to share with you the “play by play” happenings of my life. I do find it interesting, mind you. But, mostly because it happened to me. Nonetheless, in reality, it is just another story, in an endless amount of similar stories, told since the beginning of our HIStory. You see, God simply wants us to walk with Him. And, when we do… He lets us know that He is there.

Instead, I will reiterate what I have already shared with you: I was a severely broken human being. Then, at the lowest point of my life’s journey (late 2016), I (reluctantly) turned to God. And, in that instant, He came rushing to me. His presence, in that moment of repentance, completely overwhelmed me. I reacted to it by sobbing. Uncontrollably. My entire face ached, horribly, for days afterward. My eyes, still, are excessively dry upon awakening in the mornings. This moment took place over three years ago.

Next, He blessed every area of my life. First, He gave me Meldie – my wife. Then, He gave us a house to live in (remember I was homeless). He gave it to us at a reduced rent, with no security deposit, and partially furnished as well. It even has a white picketed fence in the backyard. Eventually, He reduced the rent for us even further.

He also gave me a job. Nonetheless, a little over a year later, I was fired from that job. So, He gave me another job. I didn’t like that job too much so I quit and asked Him for another job. And, He gave me a new job making more money than I did at the previous one. I was fired from there, too. Then, He gave me another job making more money than I did at the previous one. I didn’t like that job too much, either. This time, I didn’t quit before asking Him for another one. Soon thereafter, I got a call from a man offering me a job making four times the pay I was currently making. So, I took that job and quit the other one.

He even sent me a check, from my previous life, that was larger than any check I had ever deposited. It was almost eighty times larger, as a matter of fact. Meldie and I paid off most of our (my) debt with that check. I even bought her a HUGE diamond ring, paid for our small wedding ceremony and bought myself a new (used) car with it. We still have some of that money saved, wouldn’t ya know, and we gave God what was His (more on that later).

It soon became obvious that I didn’t know anything about Him. He has doted over me, continuously, like a loving Father yet I didn’t understand what He expected of me. I knew that I hadn’t done anything to deserve His affection. However, that didn’t seem to matter to Him. At all, actually. It was as if He had been waiting for me – patiently – my whole life.

He had my undivided attention now. At the time, He appeared to use “shock and awe” tactics to accomplish the things that I was incapable of doing. As a result, I began talking to Him regularly. Every day, I devoted time to reading His Word (the Bible).

Every time I went looking for Him, He revealed more of Himself to me. I hadn’t experienced anything like it in all my life.

Resultantly, my daughter surprised Meldie and I by asking to move into our new home with us. There was plenty of room for her. You see, God knows our heart {Jeremiah 17:10}. After the first few hours of her life, I stopped caring about who her real father was. She was mine and that was all there was to it. I didn’t even have to explain that to God.

At the beginning of her freshman year of high school, she moved in.

Ironically, I was never overwhelmed with my new life. Now, that doesn’t mean that I didn’t make some mistakes; I’ve made many, actually. I began this journey with a deep rooted, entirely wrong view of myself and the world, to be honest. I also had a fantasy idea of who He is. It was of utmost importance that I learn some things about Him, immediately. Specifically, I had to find out who He really is versus who He is not. I also had to learn how He saw me.

God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not fulfill it?

Numbers 23:19 esv

God is who He is no matter where we are.

Let me tell ya, I’ve been fired, laid-off and rightfully passed over since I began walking with Him. I’ve been arrested, spent time in jail, gotten high on crack and threatened the life of a co-worker, too. To say that I’ve not walked perfectly would be a severe injustice to reality. To say that I’m not worthy (of Him) would be too obvious.

Nevertheless, I had to start seeing Him as a Father; One who corrects, disciplines and guides His kids. Then, I had to find out who His kids are; not all of us belong to Him. He loves all His creation, favoring us humans the most {Romans 5:8}. Yet, only His children can hear His voice {John 10:27-28}.

So, who are God’s kids? Well, He tells us specifically in His Word {Galatians 3:26-29}, {Proverbs 8:17} that whoever loves Him and believes that His Son died as payment for sin, then was resurrected to His glory, is His child {John 3:16}.

He has given me an indescribable peace and I have been undeniably set free from the bondage of my previous life. I wanted my daughter to experience that, first hand, too. Be that as it may, she was cautious of me and my new Way to walk. God showed me that forcing Him down her throat wasn’t what He wanted. He didn’t force Himself on me; I had no right to force Him on anyone else.

She asked to be baptized with me on Easter. A little over a month later, after I told her the truth about not being her “father”, she moved out. I gave her the news the night after her final day of school, freshman year.

A picture of my daughter and I when she was a few months old.
Me and my daughter circa early summer 2016
The house that God gave us. We don’t own it, but it is our home.
That there is the white picket fence, my friend. I own the grill. Meldie bought it for me on my birthday.

A picture of my Bible. Meldie gave it to me during the summer of 2016, along with a plate of food – five months before He came rushing into my life. I have never experienced freedom to the level I experience it today. This tiny, camouflaged, soft covered Book is alive {Hebrews 4:12}

Published by rrlgabriel

R.L. Gabriel is a US Army Airborne Combat Medic (veteran), former drug addict, father, husband, construction worker and follower of Jesus. He writes with an uncommon honesty while chronicling his past and describing how he walks by faith. His self reflecting memoirs will be published weekly. He lives in the American Midwest with his beautiful wife Meldie. Together, they host and tend to a diverse group of backyard critters while raising an indoor goldfish named Petey.

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