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Sunday, June 3, 2012

why wait.

A preface for regular readers... I emailed this story to a close friend recently and I realized that I wished that Gwen could've read my blog about herself. I know it was a part of my healing, but oh how I hope she knew just how much she meant to me. And while both of my parents are a blessing, this story happens to be about my daddy. (girls and their daddies, the only thing worse is a momma's boy...hee hee hee.) I want my daddy to know how I feel while he is still here... Our story begins in 1979 (insert hippie theme song).  when my parents found out they were expecting, my father was so proud to think of having a son... he began to think of what he would name the one to carry on the campbells. i was born, and my mother said something to the tune of, "well, it's a girl. u didn't think of any girl names, so you better think of some now." So, Christen Michelle was named from Suzanne Somer's Three's Company character, Chrissy Snow and the hit "Michelle" from the lesser well-known Beatles album Rubber Soul. This is where our story gets a little complicated... When I was born my small intestine was completely blocked, in masses, in several diff't places. In anderson they removed 3/4 of it... If i remember correctly, I went from born @ over 8lbs to 4lbs, in just weeks. They told my parents there was a great chance I wouldn't live. They moved me to Charleston. My mother, who was 20 at the time(wow) in a house with other mothers of ill children. My 21 year-old father swung shifts at Michelin and came as often as he could. When I think of being 32 today, I can't even imagine how their young hearts must have ached....  Over the next year I had 8 major operations & several minor procedures. They took the 1/4 of small intestine I had remaining, split it all the way down, lengthwise, (like cutting a hot dog weenie in half, except it's tubal) sewed those over to make two smaller tubes and then reattached them. So I have half the length and half the diameter of the average bear... I went home 4 days before my first birthday, for the first time. ever. My poor parents. The first everything (Easter, mothers day, fathers day, halloween, thanksgiving, Christmas) were spent in 9-D in charleston. They have often retold weeping all the 4 hours home, away from me, to spend Christmas with our family. And now, the best part of this story... Last week in sunday school my daddy explained how God completely changed his life with my illness. Its a story I've heard many times. And because it is so special, i could never hear it enough.. My dad prayed to receive Christ as a child & meant it. But lived like many Christian teenagers, half-heartedly, haphazardly. Then, one afternoon when he was there at the hospital, an intern was trying to start a new IV. He couldn't hold me still and get it. So he said, "hey, daddy, hold her." "me?" "yes, sir" He said that while he held me down, firmly still, I looked up at him, asking him, "Why? Why daddy are you letting them do this to me?" He started to cry telling the story and couldn't look at me because he said I had the same big eyes that pleaded with him all those years ago.  And that 21 year old half hearted believer heard God speak clearly, "that's how my Son looked at me, when He died for you." while that dr finished his work, Stan prayed begging God to spare me and promising Him that he would always live for Him and give me up to Him. No matter what. And he meant it.  While that story is heart wrenching, the very best part is that He has done it. Always. Ever since. My entire life. What a blessing he is. He kept his promise. While he is on a pedestal, as an adult I have learned that my father is no saint, he has a temper; is quiet with his thoughts; emotions, almost to a fault. But he has fought the good fight and will finish the race. He has studied God's word daily my entire life, he made difficult decisions to love us with christ's love, to protect us from all sin that he could, he prayed over us & aloud with us. Many have told him, or us, that he was being too hard on us, but he wasn't. He was being obedient based on what he read. And he didn't back down, even when I was a smart aleck 14 year old, an over dramatic 16 year old, and a disobedient 18 year old.  Our family has experienced some painful loss & never during the major trials of our life, did he turn his back on God. I did. As an adult. After my marriage failed, I walked away from God. I pretended like I didn't, but my heart was far from Him. How easy would it have been for my daddy to feel justified in thinking God let me go, so was his promise in vain? But he never did. What a testimony. I know he has influenced me & my sister, my brother in law, some of the men who suffered through the process of going out with me, people that he works with, and probably most of all, our wonderful Sunday school class. It is a joy to sit under him because he has never wavered in living what he teaches. he has even apologized any time he realized he taught them in error. All too often we tell these stories to memorialize a believer. So today I'm going to tell this one so he can read it himself and know what his life has meant to me. Thank you, Daddy, for every penny earned & spent on me, all the prayers I will never even know about, for being the kind of husband I now will settle for no less than, and most of all I thank you for-your life.