I began this series in January writing about God’s grace and His voice. I have been blessed to hear God speak specific words to me on a number of occasions. They always seem to challenge my perceptions and/or plans.
In January/February of 1988 I spent two weeks in India where I was a guest of my friend Moses Choudary and I served as a convention speaker. Actually, I preached seventeen times in seven days. It was a phenomenal experience. Spiritual forces were palpable, God’s presence was as great as I have ever known and one of the greatest miracles of my ministry took place.
As I stepped off of the plane in Atlanta I was exhausted and exhilarated at the same time. Nine months earlier I had graduated with my doctorate. Two months earlier God had spoken to me about preparing to leave my position as Minister of Education at the Westmore Church of God. I had images of becoming an international evangelist of some sort. My prayer was simple, “Father, I am thankful I am now free to travel. I want to travel around the world and preach your Word.”
God’s response, “You are not going to travel internationally for a while. Cheryl is going to travel.” I must admit I was disappointed for a moment which gave way to curiosity. What in the world would Cheryl be doing traveling around the world? I had peace and an intense awareness I would be at home with Karisa and Alethea a lot.
Cheryl was soon a participant in the annual Roman Catholic – Pentecostal International Dialogue, a member of the Executive Board of the Association of Theological Schools in the US and Canada, a member of the Commission on Faith and Order of the National Council of Churches, President of the Society for Pentecostal Studies, and speaker at colleges and universities around the world and all of that was just the beginning.
I have been blessed to travel a little, sometimes with Cheryl. But as the girls were growing up I was the parent staying home. I was so proud of Cheryl and I tried to instill that pride in the girls. She was not gone all the time. Most of her trips were for a few days and the longest were for a couple of weeks.
I can tell you from experience it is easier to be the one traveling than the one left behind. Being a single parent, if only for a couple of weeks at the time is a challenge, especially for a left-brained, analytical learner like myself. There is a reason why most women are better at multi-tasking than most men.
I don’t know how the girls remember those times. We haven’t talked about it. I'm not certain I would like to hear their judgment of my parenting skills. I remember feeling overwhelmed and inadequate. There is just too much to do. I also remember feeling good about having special times with my daughters: pizza, spaghetti, TV. In truth there was no time for special events. I suspect they remember it very differently from me. I am thankful I had the opportunity and regret I didn’t make better use of it. I am very thankful Alethea and Karisa had a great mother who set an example of how to both serve her family and fulfill a call to ministry.
April 6, 2010