My mother was a young 17-years old when she gave birth to me. She was married to a young man by the name of Edward Lewis Allen. He wasn’t much older than she, 19-years old. By the time I was 15 months old, she had another baby girl and he was gone.
All I know about Eddie (that is how my mother and family referred to him) is that he was a smooth talker, handsome, and a thief. His mother stayed active in my life until her death when I was 13-years old. She was kind and seemed to care for my sister and me. While Eddie was around me as a baby some, he has never seen my sister.
My momma moved on with her life…she lived with her mother (Grandma Keen), worked at Phillip Morris, and learned how to become a strong woman. I can only remember being abundantly loved by my Grandma Keen and a plethora of aunts and uncles, who took as much a part in raising us, as my momma.
It didn’t take too long before she would meet another man ten years older than she and by the age of 21 they were married and we, my sister and I, came face-to-face with God’s mercy and were given a Daddy, James Edward Shook!
At the tender age of 4-years old Jim (as the family called him) legally adopted by my sister and I, and my momma adopted Jim’s two children. We were now a family of six learning to navigate the “blended family life” and through it all learning that we belonged together.
My oldest adopted sister and brother along with my youngest sister all know the sting of abandonment, as our biological mother and father, respectively, signed us each away to another mother and father. There are a multitude of words they each could have signed on the signature line, “I don’t want you,” “I don’t love you,” “You are worthless,” or “I have other plans that don’t have room for you.” However, they signed their names…but the story doesn’t end there.
There are three more signatures on those adoption papers — James Edward Shook, Ginger Joy Shook, and the judge who approved it. Jim and Ginger’s signatures probably could have been interpreted, “You matter to me,” “I love you,” “I will care for you,” or “I have plans that cannot go on without you.” As for the judge, his might read, “I find this right and good,” “These kids are going to be blessed,” or “This is the best that can happen.”
However, the most important signature of all is God’s! He saw a little girl (along with three others) that He loved abundantly and He provided her/them with the best father they could have. While an earthly man would choose to abandon God doesn’t abandon.
God’s love for us all goes beyond our momentary choices and thoughts. Through the corridor of time, pain, sin, and abandonment God provided first an earthly Daddy and then, and most importantly, an eternal provision through His Son, Christ Jesus.
I will never know why Eddie decided to allow me to be adopted by Jim Shook. I will never know why he didn’t care for or love me. I also will never know why he made so many wrong choices for his own life. What I do know is that I am grateful to him for giving me life and then giving me hope through a Daddy who could care for me the way a Daddy should.
Today, on the Father’s Day (2018), I am thankful for Eddie Allen and Jim Shook — two men who were equipped differently in navigating their own lives. God, in his sovereign love, gave them both to me and that is a gift. It is a gift wrapped up in mystery — yet an amazing gift.
I’ve written this because Father’s Day is not always easy or simple for a lot of folks. Maybe you’ve had a Father who chose to abandon you or who was abusive and mean to you. I am sorry. I am sorry for the hurt you may be experiencing on this day where most everyone is celebrating their Dads.
Also, to those whose Dads have passed away…I grieve with you, as my Daddy (Jim) has passed on, as well. Father’s Day is always a painful reminder that I cannot tell him how much I love him. I pray your Dad’s memory will be a blessing to you this day.
Regardless of the role your Dad played in your life, God has promised that he will never leave you or forsake you. I pray that if you’ve accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior you will rest in that promise.
However, if you’ve never repented of your sins and followed Jesus, I invite you to reach out to me so that I can show you how you can know Him. He is our Heavenly Father who will never abandon you. That is a promise with certainty!
Happy Father’s Day!