Love Letters from Papa
by: Jan Whitaker
Psalm 68:5-6 states: “A father to the fatherless . . . God places the solitary in families and gives the desolate a home in which to dwell” (The Amplified Bible).
Like many others, I was raised without an earthly father. He passed away when I was three years old; however, I have two vivid memories of him. Every night he would hold me close as we gently rocked back and forth in the rocking chair. And I can remember reaching through the side of my crib for him to hold my hand. Each time I connected with him I felt loved, safe, and reassured that everything would be just fine!
This is what our Heavenly Father intends for each of us! He wants all of us to be nurtured, protected and unconditionally loved within our families. However, as we all know, that sometimes doesn’t happen.
This is not a surprise to our Father, our Papa! That’s why He fulfills His promise to be our Father. 2 Corinthians 7: 6 states: “I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty." This of course happens when we accept His Son as our Lord and Savior. We are grafted into God’s family and receive His unconditional love.
As an inner city High School teacher, I watched God extend His love to many students who were broken-hearted and without a loving home. Over and over again, He brought them into my classroom. I was blessed to be that person who shared God’s unconditional love and acceptance; a kind of “pseudo father.” Words cannot express the awe and gratitude felt when experiencing God’s love as it transforms a person’s life!
I’m reminded of my student Kevin, who was a star athlete and a greatly skilled artist. Although he came from a truly unhappy, impoverished and dysfunctional family, he became a Christian his senior year of high school and eventually received his teaching degree in art.
After a few years of marriage and three daughters later, Kevin found himself in a compromising position and was arrested. This negative choice cost him greatly. I was touched to be his character witness in court. It’s taken a recommitment to God and his family, but complete healing and restoration have been found. I couldn’t be prouder of him if he was my own flesh and blood. We’ve kept in contact over the years and I have enjoyed family time with him, his beautiful wife and gorgeous children.
This last year, Kevin sent me the following lovely message on Mother’s Day:
Thank you for how you encouraged me throughout high school to believe for something greater. Thank you for mentioning my name to the Lord in your prayers. Thank you for helping me understand that I have a gift. Thank you for walking beside me in what was perhaps my greatest failure. Thank you for being an example of humility even though you have made such a remarkable impact on so many lives through education and simply living for God. I pray that God’s love will shower down on you and that He will bless you tremendously . . . everyday. Happy Mother’s Day. I love you, Kevin
God is always reaching out to us! His mercies are renewed every morning! He is always revealing His love to us. This can be through reading His word, hearing His voice, and through people He has placed in our lives. I like to think of it as special love letters sent to us; personal and intimate from our Papa.
Cleve and Jan Whitaker are the new WLN Directors. Living in Pleasant Hill, Missouri, USA, they are an active part of Faith Ministries Community Church. Cleve is owner and manager of Capstone Carriers, LLC; a trucking company specializing in flatbed freight throughout the U.S.
Jan retired from teaching in the inner city high schools and college/university campuses. She also worked for FMIN Network as the Administrative Director. Jan operates in the prophetic and travels nationally and internationally as a teacher and counselor with GX International.
Cleve and Jan describe their combined Mission Statement as: "To be outrageous givers for the Kingdom of God through financial support. To use our spiritual gifts for strengthening, encouraging, and establishing others in their identity in Christ." Their heart is to see others find and follow God's purpose in their individual workplace and mission field.
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