Yesterday was a day of reflection and gratefulness. As I scroll down on all the post from FaceBook and see everyone give honor and thankfulness to those who served, I can’t help but think of something that continues to fill my mind. Yes, I am most grateful for each and every person who has served in our military and sacrificed so very much, sometimes even their lives. But as I get older, there is something that just fills my heart with wonder. As most of you who read my blog know, I never got to meet my biological dad. He and my mom never married and she had given him instructions to stay out of her life and not to try to even contact her or me, when she learned that he was also the father of another baby that was due to be born around the same time as she would give birth to me. Yes, I am very grateful that she chose to keep me and she loved me and married a man who adopted me and loved me as his own. But being an only child, it becomes such a dream to meet someone that is related to me. My biological dad was named Eugene Gaylord Gipson, known also as Jiggs, from Peru, Indiana. He had four sons and two other daughters. From his obit, I learned that he served as a US Navy veteran in WW2 and was on the USS Wisconsin. My mom always carried around one picture of him and had given it to me years ago so I would know what he looked like. He owned a Tavern, called the Jockey Club in Indiana, after retiring from the military. He died in 1973, I have heard from cancer.
My adopted father, Carl Roland Michaels, served in the Navy, in San Diego until being discharged due to scarlet fever. He married my mom when I was 8 months old and raised me, like I said earlier, as if I were his own. My mom and dad were actively involved in church, serving as youth leaders, then teaching Sunday School, sang in the choir and allowed so many different people, who needed a place to live, in their home. Did they have a great marriage? No, not really. But they did, in their own way, love each other and they did love the Lord. They taught me what serving others looked like so very well. At night, I would walk by their bedroom and see them both kneeling by their beds, praying after reading their Bible. We went to church each week, not out of duty, but out of honor and respect for God. They taught me that the best way to love God was to love others. I remember my mom always saying, to have real JOY, put Jesus First, Other’s Second and Yourself last. My mom struggled with depression and with some anger all of her life. But through those struggles, she always depended on God for provision and for strength. My poor dad seemed to catch the blunt of her anger so many times. But through it all, he still loved her. I have often thought about how different my life might have been had I known my bio dad. God always knows what is best for us and because my mom had a priority to marry someone who would be a good dad, I was blessed to grow up in a Christian home.
The purpose in me writing about this is that maybe you are like me and never met your real mom or dad. Maybe you did not have a family that was the perfect Leave It To Beaver family. But God……He who sacrificed His Son that we might live and live abundantly. Will your life be perfect, because you are a Christian? Of course not. But you will have someone who walks through the valleys of life with you. He will give you strength and peace and joy that the world cannot give you. This is not about joining a church. This is not about a religion. This is about giving your heart to Jesus, who loves you as His own. We all can be adopted into the family of God, no matter who your parents are.
I heard on the radio yesterday to ask yourself every day this questions:
“At the end of the day, what is one thing I did today that I did because I am a Christian, that I would not have done otherwise?” Is there anything that I did that would point someone to Jesus? That is what I am going to begin doing. It helps me keep my eyes on what they should be on…..Jesus Christ.
I might not ever meet any of my biological family members this side of heaven. But I do know that my Father in Heaven loves me and cares for me and will one day say, “welcome home dear child, you are mine and I love you.” What better words could we hope to hear?