A Moment in Time – June 14th, 2019
June 14, 2019
Today I’m on a special mission. I’m actually writing today’s message on a flight as I travel to surprise and support my dad who is scheduled to have a medical check up. He doesn’t know I’m coming. I couldn’t think of a better way to spend a Father’s Day weekend.
If you’ve been listening over the last two weeks, you’ll know that I experienced a daddy disconnect with my biological father, due to distance and his premature death in 2005. Though I never got to know my biological father—Ronald, I have been blessed to have “my dad” Stanley who adopted me as his own, raised me, and shared his life and last name with me. He married my mom when I was about two years old and has been a steady and supportive presence in my journey. He’s the only dad I’ve known.
It’s funny because many folks who know my dad and me will say things like “you look like a Douglas”; I tell them “that’s because I am”.
I literally remember officially becoming a “Douglas.” I was seven years old and I remember going to a government building in Bermuda to sign paperwork affirming that I wanted to be adopted and have my last name changed. I was born “Ty-Ron Bean” and was called as such for my first two years of elementary school. Bean was my mother’s maiden name. Crazy right? There’s something interesting about having your name changed from an identity standpoint that you can’t really understand unless it has been your experience. Add to this the reality that my first name was often misspelled or mispronounced and you can get a sense of the complexities related to identity that I’ve had the opportunity to process over the years.
So let me give you a bit more of the back story about the context of my birth and how it intersects with my dad. My mom got pregnant with me as a freshman at Oakwood College in 1978. My biological father remained in the U.S. My mom would return home to Bermuda to give birth to me on February 10, 1979. As she told me the story growing up, she gave birth to me alone on a Sabbath morning as the rest of her family went to church. We’ll talk about how the church treated teenage mothers and their babies in the future. Suffice to say, my mom didn’t receive support and affirmation from everyone. She knew she would need the Lord and she knew she would need a village to help her raise her 7 pound 11 ounces bundle of joy. After the doctor placed me in her arms, she said she held me up and asked God for wisdom and a village to raise me. That was the story I knew growing up.
What I didn’t know for most of my life was that when my mom was inside the hospital pushing me out; my dad who raised me—Stanley—was actually at the hospital trying to get in. They were friends and he wanted to be there to support her. He was not allowed into the hospital room because his name wasn’t on my birth certificate but he was there. He was there all the time, the song says. He has always been there, often with little fanfare or sufficient acknowledgment for his consistency and care.
If you’ve never been adopted or adopted a child as your own, you likely cannot fully appreciate the sacrifice and investment required to commit your life to a child in that way. Because of my own rejection issues, I tried to reject my dad. As a teenager, we got in a fight and I told him “I hate you”… “you are not my father!” I still regret that.
But still, my dad kept pursuing me with his steady love and support. He was at the hospital when I was born…pursuing my mom and me. He has pursued me and loved on me as I have matured into a man. He’s still got my back and I have his. So it is my honor to pursue him today. I am pursuing my dad. You may want to do the same. By the time you listen to this recording on Friday, June 14th, by God’s Grace I’ll be by my dad’s side at his hospital appointment.
In our spiritual journeys, we should know that God has been pursuing us all our lives. When we thought we were alone and abandoned in the hospital of this human experience, Jesus was there…pursuing, knocking, seeking our hearts. Jesus is always there.
Ephesians 1:5 NLT says “God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.”
When we invite him, Jesus adopts us and gladly gives us His name. When we get angry and tell Him we want nothing to do with him after all the years he has provided for us, He keeps pursuing us. He is always pursuing us. Today, I want to invite you to pursue Him.
Let’s pray: God, There’s something that clicks for a child when we realize that no matter what we do, we are loved by our parents. Thank you because that’s how you love us, Lord. I want to pray for a parent who needs to communicate their unconditional love to their son or daughter. Help parents to communicate this to their children in a love language they’ll understand.
There’s also a parent who needs to know that they are valued and appreciated. This Sunday could be a great day for that. I pray for healing for families, including for those who have lost dads and struggle with Father’s Day. Heal their hearts and tangibly reveal to them how you’ve been there all the time and you are still willing to adopt them. In Jesus name, Amen.
This is Dr. Ty Douglas, author of Border Crossing Brothas, and I want to
invite you to experience SALT—So Amazing Life Today; it’s available to
each of us, in Christ.
You can reach Dr. Ty at www.DrTyDouglas.org and follow him at @DrTyDouglas.
Link to purchase Border Crossing Brothas: https://www.amazon.com/Border-Crossing-«Brothas»-Navigating-Critical/dp/1433135388