Sunday, June 19, 2011

Forrest Beiser

I think a lot of times people think of the word "father" and automatically have a stereotype fill their heads. The word "father" can strike fear into some hearts and warmth into others. Everyone has that different adaptation of the word "father" in their heads based on their own father. I know today is Father's Day and that you are celebrating (depending on who your dad is) your father, but I want to take a moment and tell you about my father. 
And for those of you who don't have a dad or your dad hasn't been the best father, bear with me. You all know that God is the ultimate father, caretaker, and giver for you. If you don't recognize that your father and God aren't the same person, I fear you might go throughout your life with an incorrect representation of who God is. He isn't some angry, bipolar guy who loves you one minute and then despises you the next. He is perfect and loving. He is waiting for you to realize that He's been there all along; that His love never wavered and it's waiting for you. He longs for your embrace. 

Ok. I'll stop preaching. 

My father's name is Forrest Beiser. 
I've gone through my whole life thinking of my dad a certain way, all good things mind you. He was the pastor of my home church(and still is:), but for some reason I never had a hard time deciphering the roles of father and pastor because he was the same at home that he was at church. Both worlds weren't really worlds, they were one, solid living place for me. I grew up on a firm family foundation based strongly in the church. I grew up in ministry, working hard and learning as I grew up. My dad said from the very beginning that he was preparing me for ministry, and I look back and I can see that now. It is because of him that I can do all the things that I can, and that I possess half the talents that I do. He pushed me and pressured me, but because of those things, I grew and flourished. 
But that's not where I wanted to head for this post. 

So, I had this understanding of my dad that changed drastically this past year. Maybe one day I'll be able to go into all the details, but for now I'm sorry if you have a vague understanding of what I'm saying. 
Around September of last year things in my life got really hard. I can't describe exactly what was happening, but I can say that I had never felt more abandoned, hurt, and in complete despair. I don't mean to sound emo or depressed, but honestly, I had never experienced such depths of heartlessness and hopelessness. It felt like my world was literally falling apart. 
God had placed me perfectly where I needed to be at Zion. I think another large part of the reason I made it through was because of Zion. I was growing so much in the middle of that hard place I was in, and I still am growing from it. 
The bottom line of it all was that I was at a loss. I had no one to turn to, and for once in a very long while I felt just completely ... gone. 
There's no other way to describe it. I'm starting to tear up right now even as I type this, because thinking about it is frustratingly hard. The tears are for the frustration at myself, yes, but also at the gratitude that I have for my father during this time.

I called up my dad one night at the height of all my anger, loss, fear, and raw pain. I expected him to yell at me and be completely upset. I deserved it. 
But as I explained to my dad everything that was happening, everything that I was experiencing, and everything I had gone through he didn't yell. 
He didn't scream. 
He didn't scold me. 
He didn't say hurtful things towards me. 
He just... listened. 
And at the end of my heart's outpouring of complete anguish my dad said in a very soft voice: "I'm so sorry, Tabby. I'm so sorry. I love you."
And as I cried on the phone, my dad reassured me of his love for me. He expressed his care and heart. He described the grace, mercy, and love of God and displayed it through his own actions in talking to me. Throughout the next couple of months he continued this attitude. He never rejected me and he never said anything hateful. When I was having one of the hardest times of my life, he was only a phone call away. Consistent. Helpful. Honest. There. Both my parents were. 
A couple of months ago something hard came up again and I told him, and once again, he was there for me and he simply loved me.

My dad is my hero. I honestly am not sure what would have happened this past year if I didn't have him in my life. I am so, so, so thankful and my heart is simply filled to the brim with gratitude and love for him for everything he's done for me and continues to do for me. 

I love you, Papa. In so many ways, you saved me in that phone call last year. I can never be thankful enough. Happy Father's Day to the best Father in the entire world. Others will say their dad is the best, but that's because they never had you for a father. 

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