Ok...first I must say praise God!! I have been living in a miracle this week. So many beautiful things have happened...so many people I have been given another chance to have in my life. But the icing on the cake is that God brought back to me my pop's best friend.....the good memories of my childhood, my only experiences with God growing up, the meat of who I am today....my life.
Riley exploded onto the scene when I was a young child. He was this crazy happy man that teased everyone around him and had fun with everything he was handed....and sang praise to his God in his every breath! I fell in awe of him from the instant he walked in our front door. I had never seen my dad so happy. The family dynamic began to change. My dad began to change and with him the rest of us, too. I began to hear about Jesus and His love for us. I began to go to church (Riley had come to town to pastor a local church). We began to pray as a family...mealtimes, bedtimes, hard times. We began to praise Him...bad times, good times. I learned that with Jesus in control, life was wonderful. This amazing man of God showed me how beautiful and powerful the Spirit is and how necessary!
Riley brought with him a beautiful family that soon became like my own. They were radiant. I wanted to be like them. His girls were beautiful...they were happy...we sang together, we played together, we praised together. We didn't just sing the hymns, we made our own songs, too. I remember our mom's in the kitchen after service and our dad's doing whatever they did and us girls huddled in front of the stereo singin and singin. This became my life. I couldn't wait for Sunday because we got to go to church twice...and Wednesday night....and then there were always the gatherings in between and the friends that needed a meal so we would have a party. It was beautiful! It was so real...the happiness was so embedded in my being that when my life changed.....wow.......I ran as far from that life as I could. I ran as far from God as I could. I ran as far from my parents as I could.
Skip to years later.....my sister passed away. My father and I hadn't spoken in years. We made amends. We began to get close again. We began to talk about God again. We forgave each other..we started new. Then he became ill. I knew in my heart it was the end, but I held onto every moment. He was in a coma, but I still talked to him. I still laid my hands on him every time I was in his room. Spirit moved in that room! I sang to him, and Him. I loved him, and Him. I was given back both my daddies in one situation....no holds barred and no regrets held. My dad came out of his coma long enough to verbalize to me that he knew everything said and done while he was "out". He promised me that we would go to church together when he "came home" and he made me promise him that I would never turn away from God again. His death was the most painful, yet most beautiful, moment of my life (and is a whole different story). I have not turned from God...I have been baptized...I love the Lord with every fiber of my being. I praise Him through the good times and the bad. I can never be close enough...I always want more!
Back to Riley, when Dad became ill I began looking for Riley. I searched and searched and pleaded and prayed and searched some more. I literally filled a notebook with phone numbers that I called .... and kept praying that he was indeed still out there to be found.
It will be 2 years in February that my search began. Yesterday, my daughter and I were playing around and found a search engine I hadn't yet seen. All of a sudden I just spoke his name...she said "huh"...I told her to put in his name. The first thing that popped up contained the information I needed to find him. It took a few phone calls and some painful explanations, but there he was. So...last night I was handed my miracle. I have Riley back in my life.....I am so overwhelmed and so overjoyed and so thankful to God!
And...when he gives me permission, I am hopefully going to share with you quite a bit more about him. But for now I will say that he is still an amazing shephard for the Lord....and he and his wife are missionaries!...in a country that has been heavy on my heart.....can you just see God all over this.........ILOVEJESUS!!!!and did I say PRAISE JESUS!