A few years after my conversion, I began serving in ministry. I did this for several years before having Faith. During that time, I had poured myself out discipling other Christians serving as their pastor, spending countless hours counseling people, equipping people, building relationships and sharing the gospel. By ministering to broken hearts and broken lives, I fulfilled my calling.
Then in 2009, I began to be led in a different direction. Setting aside my aspirations of pastoral ministry, my daughter Faith became my new ministry. That ministry started in the hospital the first day I saw her. My feelings of gratitude were tied to my gratitude to God. I had done nothing to deserve this gift. Years before, I was a twenty-one-year-old alcoholic, contemplating suicide daily, finding it difficult to function in the daily routine of society without a drink. Now, despite my rebellion, my hatred, and hard heart toward God, He reached down and drew me to Himself. He replaced a heart of stone with one impacted by God’s love and grace. Now, with a heart full of gratitude, I was a father.
There is something about the gospel that changes you. While I always knew this, the truth was taking on a special new meaning. Having done a significant work in my heart to prepare me to be a father, the illuminating ministry of the Holy Spirit continued revealing the truth of what I already had in the gospel. The gospel makes clear that before becoming a Christian, I was an unworthy sinner in need of redemption. There was nothing I could have done to save myself. No good work would be enough. No penance would suffice. No human could intercede on my behalf. But Jesus paid the price for my sins by serving as a substitute, taking the penalty of my sin upon Him. He saved me by drawing me to Himself. No work on my part was necessary. I simply accepted the gift. Now, more than ever, the Holy Spirit was crystallizing these truths to me, and I knew that I was deeply loved and fully pleasing to God.
I had an overwhelming sense of how much the God’s hand continued to orchestrate these events. Loving Michelle and me, He was bestowing on us an incredible gift. The journey to adopt Faith made it abundantly clear God loved us and how blessed we were. He had heard our many prayers. The prayers of a mother who could not have children had been answered as well as the prayers of a father who hated Father’s Day because he had no child to celebrate it with. Like Hannah of old, God worked out a miracle and brought a family a child.