Monday, June 22, 2015

Fatherhood and Forgiveness

Fatherhood and Forgiveness

by Mary Manners

I truly hope you had a blessed Father's Day. My dad's been gone more than a decade, but the holiday got me to thinking about him (as I so often do) and a special memory from my childhood days...
My seventh birthday was a momentous occasion mainly because in my family, turning seven meant I was sure to receive what I imagined, in my child’s mind, to be the greatest gift of all—a shiny new bike.
It was a beauty—a splash of bubblegum pink with streamers flowing from curved handlebars. Pedal brakes and a chunky banana seat rounded out the mix. One look and I knew that suddenly I had my freedom, my independence, and the power to travel all the way to…the end of the block. It was better than the confines of our meager, chain-linked back yard. I grew up in Chicago, after all, and the streets could be a dangerous place.
My dad taught me how to ride. An hour, a few scrapes and bumps later, and I was ready to go. No helmets back then and no fancy riding gear…just the wind at my back and pure pedal power. Dad outlined the riding boundaries, cautioning me not to cross the street at either end of the block or the alley that ran behind our house. Cars were dangerous.
Dad’s firm warning rang through my mind for the first week or so, at least until my sister challenged me to a race around the block. We’d ride off in opposite directions, keeping our progress top-secret, until one of us returned to the starting line—and victory—at the front of our house.
Guilt niggled as I launched myself, pedaling into the wind. To circle the block and claim my victory I’d have to cross the alley twice, breaking my dad’s rule. Yet, the desire to be one of the ‘Big Kids’ along with my sister only served to make me pedal faster. The sky smiled clear-blue as the streets whispered encouragement. What could possibly go wrong?
Closing in on the alley, I picked up speed. The faster I crossed, the faster I would be done. No sound of an engine, nary a car in sight. Perfect until…
My gaze kissed the cerulean sky as the front tire of my bike plowed a canyon into the passenger door of an approaching Chevy station wagon. I sailed over the hood to sprawl, several yards beyond, across the unyielding concrete.
Needless to say, in the time it took for the frantic driver to scoop me off the cement, I knew that I suffered a much worse fate than losing the race to my sister. I’d broken my father’s steadfast rule. There was no choice but to return home and confess my transgression. The evidence was clearly etched over my cheeks…and my knees…and across my throbbing elbows.
But, just as it is with my Heavenly Father, Dad was more concerned about my welfare than my transgression. He cleaned my wounds and we had a long talk. Dad repaired my bike and eventually my bruises—both physical and emotional—healed.
I learned a valuable lesson that day, one that remains with me decades later. Boundaries are set for a reason—not to confine but to protect with the deepest love. Yet, even when our free will takes us across a dangerous road or down a shadowed alley, God our Father welcomes us home with open arms and forgiveness. Thank goodness for grace...and for fathers.

Rebecca Gillespie is lucky to be alive following a devastating car accident that claimed her husband’s life and put her in a coma with little hope of recovery. Her heart still aches for the loss of her precious daughter given up for adoption by her wealthy, dying mother-in-law to a couple in Mills Landing. Now, fully recovered, Rebecca struggles to rebuild her life—alone. She soothes the emptiness in her heart with laughter of children who fill her local preschool, Precious Miracles.
Cole Seibert clings to his daughter, Kimmy, following the dea th of his wife. They’d adopted the child as an infant, and Cole never imagined he’d be left to raise her alone. When he drops by to register Kimmy at Precious Miracles, he’s confident the center is the best place for Kimmy…Until Rebecca steals his breath and casts his heart into a firestorm with her revelation--
“I think you have my daughter…”

Mary Manners is an award-winning romance writer who lives in the beautiful foothills of East Tennessee with her husband Tim and the cherished cats they've rescued from local animal shelters...Lucky and Gus. She loves swimming, running, flavored coffee and Smoky Mountain sunsets.
Mary was named Author of the Year by Book and Trailer Showcase. She writes inspirational romances of all lengths, from short stories to novels—something for everyone.
Learn more about Mary Manners at her website: