Acorns From Oakes

Seeing With Our Father's Eyes

Did You Know…?

To this day my heart is overwhelmed with an absolute sense of wonder that in this life God has permitted me to know so many amazing people…people who came to stay in my life…people whose quality I could only weakly acknowledge from a distance… people who put up with me in such patience…people who believed better things of me than I deserved…people who knew Jesus intimately and served Him faithfully… people who reflected His glory to all with whom they came in contact, including me…people whose courage, sacrifice and devotion to Christ and to all those He loves inspired me then and now. 

I love how Father God sent them to me at various times (just the right times) in my life when I really needed a friend…or a role model…or a teacher…or a preacher.  Some of them I knew in my youth and their voices are silent now, but they still speak to me. Most often when I met a new friend who would stick by me, I remember those times for my feeling of being surprised by great joy. I didn’t expect what God did for me in the beautiful people which have graced my, so often, petty, little life. Because of them I have seen during my life here what faith looks like…as well as honesty, integrity, hard work, perseverance, love, and loyalty. Among the many, many priceless gifts they brought and bring me in life, perhaps this one is my favorite…they gave me the gift, which I would never have known otherwise, of seeing my life through their trust in and hope for and love of me. Oh, I know I didn’t measure up to their gracious view of me…not nearly. But I tell you, even though I often feel I have made so little progress toward the image of God’s Son, I shudder to think what my life would be without God’s precious gifts to me in such dear people. I am blessedly haunted by wonderful, faithful people whose lives call to me across years, across miles, across seas, and even from the other side of eternity. They will not permit me to give up.

Some of these dear ones are named…Vicki, S.P., Gail, Allen, Adrian, Tammie, Jack, Marie, Ed, Bud, Lew, Gary, Cathy, Astor, Jane, Betty, Frank, Bill, Mike, Deb, Rex, Paige, Carolyn, Sherry, John, Jeff, Althea, Dave, Nancy, Don, Mark, Swana, Doug, Jen, Matt, Pearl, Tina, Larry, Fergus, Allen, Melanie, Jim, Cline and on and on and on…by God’s grace, Who, judging from the numbers of such loving people He brought to me, surely knew I need lots of help. Amen, Lord! Thank you for each of your beloved servants who for some unknown reason took the time and the trouble to share Your love with me.

 To all of you…the ones whose names I wrote above and the many, many more whose names, along with those above,  are written in my heart…I dedicate these words (the author is unknown to me)…

Did you know you were brave,

Did you know you were strong?

Did you know there was one leaning hard?

Did you know that I waited and listened and prayed,

And was cheered by your simplest word?

Did you know that I longed for that smile on your face,

For the sound of your voice ringing true?

Did you know I grew stronger and better because

I had merely touched shoulders with you?

Tell me…did you ever dream God could bless you so in the dear relationships of your life? If you have the time…if you think you could put one of your stories into words…write it here for me…for us. But if you don’t have time to do that, would you speak your thanks to Father God for some special friendgift He has given you? I love you…but God loved you enough to pick out all the precious people of your life and introduce you to each other. Our Father is something else!

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5 thoughts on “Did You Know…?

  1. Doug what a beautiful article is this one.

    Me and you grew up together and I never knew in all my life where this would take us but I want you to know it has been so very much a Great Pleasure in my life to have you in it. You have been a ROCK in my life.

    I was always so proud of you growing up. You were just a boy having fun with your friends in the neighborhood. You were always there to have fun with, playing basketball, playing in street baseball, playing in the woods with your brothers and sister and friends. Playing in snow with all of us.
    Swinging from the vines in the woods with Milo and the Buccalo kids and I am sure Tim Evans and others were part of that time. You would even get into some mischief but I never thought too badly of that because you was just a young boy and My Brother who never could do too much bad because I Loved You Always and that will be my theme about you always and forever.

    You did a lot of things as I was trying to mature in the life that helped me so much. Like helping me get back from TN and I was afraid to come home by myself. Like becoming a preacher, (going to Hillsboro camp and Northwestern camp and giving talks there). The friends you learned from there at camp that started to help you grow more in life.

    When you had your family (you and Vicki) how proud I was of your success in having your children. Watching you and Vicki raise your children. I always knew how so very proud and happy you was to have your children.
    I watched you be soooo good to them and just plain love them.

    I will never forget how you surrounded Allen, Adrian and Our Family the best you could when Tammie passed from this life. I did not have to ask you one thing about being here with us. You showed us such Love and Care and Compassion at that time and of course I knew she was your Sister also.

    I love you and how you helped us with Adrian passing. Another very hard time in our lives. You were right there again helping us and loving us and I felt the closeness of God with you trying to comfort us and you were grief stricken also. I will never forget such things.

    I have appreciated you and Allen talking and being close as you tried to take care of Adrian’s things after he passed. Allen has appreciated talking to you because you helped with the Void of him talking to Adrian everyday of his life (a lot of times a lot more than once a day). Allen loves you also Doug and is proud of you and your family a lot.

    I appreciate you Loving your Mom and Dad even though they were far from perfect in raising us. I know this one thing they did Love us but there might have been a breakdown of showing it sometimes by not being as involved with us as they could or should have been. I still see you loving them today in ways that has surpassed the past mistakes. I love you for that so much.

    Thanks for being my Brother. I love your words to people in your Blog.
    I love how you encourage and build up the things about our God toward us. We have a tendency to break ourselves down with the things only we know about ourselves that are not perfect by far. You help us see how much God loves us in spite of those feelings we have. You will never know how much that builds me up and helps me keep on keeping on. I love the picture you paint of what happens after death. The words you use “another day in paradise”. I hold on to those words and pray that our brother and sister is there and the many people we have known and loved here on this earth that have gone on are there rallying us on to finish the race. I don’t even know if I am changing that much as we should be maturing in Christ but I am leaving that up to God and people who know me. I am looking forward to the other world with our God in it.

    I just know I have so many memories of things about you Doug that I could write a book about. But you were always SO GOOD TO ME, your Big Sis Gail.

    WELL…THANK YOU SIS, FOR SUCH KIND WORDS. TRUTH IS, I LEARNED A LOT ABOUT HOW TO TREAT OTHERS FROM YOU (NOT THAT I HAVE ALWAYS PRACTICED IT).
    WE WERE THE FIVE OAKES’. WE RULED LOWER HILLSIDE DRIVE IN BELLBROOK! (OR AT LEAST WE THOUGHT WE DID.) THE HILLS, THE WOODS, THE FIELDS, THE STREETS, THE PEOPLE…I THOUGHT THEY WERE ALL THERE FOR ME. IT WAS A PRETTY SAFE PLACE AND A PRETTY GOOD PLACE FOR GROWING UP.
    YOU HAVE ALWAYS BELIEVED IN ME…ALWAYS SACRIFICED FOR ME. IF I HAVE EVER GIVEN ANYTHING BACK, IT WAS SMALL BY COMPARISION. ONE OF THESE DAYS…THE WOUNDS WILL ALL BE HEALED…THE QUESTIONS WILL ALL BE ANSWERED…PAIN WILL TROUBLE US NO LONGER…AND THOSE WE HAVE LOVED AND GIVEN TO THE MASTER’S CARE WILL BE OURS AGAIN FOREVER. NOW THAT’S WORTH LIVING AND DYING FOR. I LOVE YOU, SIS.

  2. Growing up going to church also meant going to youth rally’s and summer camp. While attending these functions I ran across a guy named Rex. He was really funny and had a way of speaking that kept my attention and touched my heart.

    He was doing a gospel meeting in a town close to my house and I wanted to meet him. I think I had written him a letter prior to that, but I’m not sure. Anyway, I did meet him and he became a hero of mine. I can remember asking myself as a child, “What would Rex do?” when I couldn’t picture Jesus trying to make decisions I was faced with. He was at the top of my list of people I wanted to be like.

    I wrote him letters on what seemed like a weekly basis for years and years. He wrote me back when he had the time and it would always amaze me that he remembered who I was. He was a parent to me when I couldn’t talk to my parents. I was able to write to him without censorship. I could speak my heart without judgment.

    If I saw him at a youth rally and he knew my name … I was genuinely surprised. I knew he had so many people in his life, and could never imagine that he would remember me.

    We developed a friendship of sorts, but I never fully grasped that it really went both ways. I thought I admired him greatly and that he tolerated my admiration. I never could see that he truly cared about knowing me.

    When I hit a tough time in my life I was embarrassed and didn’t want him to know about it … I started pushing him away and eventually we lost contact.

    One day … years later … I thought about him. I found him and sent him an email. He happened to be in Ohio at the time and I was able to drive up and see him for the first time in years.

    As we talked, he mentioned what he had thought when I told him I didn’t want contact with him anymore. What?! I didn’t believe I had really ever done that … I remembered it so differently. But I found my journal where I had written it. How messed up must I have been to turn away the one source of unconditional love I really believed in.

    Since then he has helped me to realize that he is a friend that will stick closer than a brother, he does not keep a record of wrongs, and he will go to any length to show God’s love to another.

    We used to talk about working together someday in a church … through rough and tough times God brought it to pass. Who would have thought we would ever have the opportunities we have today to help others who walk the roads we once walked? We once thought ourselves completely useless in the Kingdom and now we have been shown our usefulness.

    I have surely grown stronger and better just having touched shoulders with him … he is a friend like no other. I pray that he knows this, without doubt.

    Doug … thank you for helping me reflect back on that. I know how special you are to him. I am grateful that through the blogs we have been able to connect some as well. God uses unexpected things to bring such unexpected gifts into our lives. You were one of the unexpected to me … and such a gift!!! Thank you.

    YOU’RE WELCOME, PAIGE. I AM GLAD FOR YOUR REFLECTION…BLESSED TO READ IT AND THINK ABOUT IT. I WASN’T SURPRISED BY ANY OF THE MANY GOOD THINGS YOU LOVED AND LOVE ABOUT REX, BECAUSE I HAVE SEEN SO MANY OF THEM IN HIM MYSELF. HE AND I SIGNED UP FOR SUNSET INTERNATIONAL BIBLE SCHOOL AT THE SAME TIME…WINTER TERM, 1973. HIS LOVE FOR JESUS AND HIS WORD BECAME SO APPARENT, SO QUICKLY. THEN I COULD SEE HOW HE WAS GENUINELY INTERESTED IN HELPING OTHERS. I CAME TO SCHOOL WITH AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT AGENDA. I JUST WANTED TO LEARN AND MAKE THE GRADE…TO GRADUATE…AND THEN TO START HELPING OTHERS GET TO KNOW JESUS. BUT REX WAS WAY AHEAD OF ME. HE WAS ALREADY HELPING OTHERS ALONG THE WAY…FROM THE VERY FIRST DAY I MET HIM UNTIL NOW…HE HAS BEEN CONSTANT IN HIS HEART FOR JESUS AND FOR SATAN’S VICTIMS. I GREW UP FEELING LIKE THE ONLY CHRISTIAN IN MY HIGH SCHOOL. I DIDN’T FEEL UP TO THE TASK…WASN’T OF MUCH HELP TO THE FRIENDS AROUND ME. I DIDN’T REALLY WANT TO BE IN THAT WORLD…EVEN THOUGH I FULL WELL KNEW HOW MUCH OF THE WORLD WAS IN ME. CHURCH WAS WHAT I LIVED FOR. AND WHENEVER GOD WOULD INTRODUCE ME TO SOMEONE ELSE IN WHOM I THOUGHT I COULD SEE WHAT JESUS WAS REALLY LIKE…I PAID SUCH CLOSE ATTENTION. AND THEN, WONDER OF WONDERS, GOD GAVE ME A FRIEND IN THE LORD. IT WAS SO GOOD NOT TO FEEL ALONE ANYMORE. AND GOD KEPT OFFERING ME SPIRITUAL FRIENDSHIPS. IN ALL OF THESE PRECIOUS PEOPLE I LEARNED MORE ABOUT THE HEART OF JESUS CHRIST. BUT THERE WAS NO OTHER FRIEND WHO EVER BELIEVED BETTER OF ME, WHO EVER WAS WILLING TO GIVE MORE TO ME, WHO EVER PUT MY INTERESTS MORE ABOVE HIS OWN, WHO EVER SHOWED ME JESUS IN HIS OWN LIFE BETTER, WHO EVER TAUGHT ME MORE OF THE LORD…THAN OUR FRIEND REX…FRIEND OF SINNERS…FRIEND OF THIS SINNER…NURTURER OF SOULS…
    THANKS FOR SHARING YOUR STORY OF FRIENDSHIP. IT HAS WARMED OUR HEARTS AND MADE US HOMESICK.

  3. Beautiful thoughts here, Doug. May God help us all to live in such a way as to impact the lives of others like others have impacted your life!

    AMEN, BILL! THANKS FOR READING AND COMMENTING. GOD BLESS YOU!

  4. When I was a young I had the opportunity to meet Rex when he would come home to Sudan. Our youth group would always go to hear him speak at youth rallies and I loved to hear him speak…and he was always so nice to me. When I went to college, he was the college minister at the church I attended. We would stand around and talk most every Wednesday night, at least for a bit. I loved him and admired him so much and never really imagined that I would mean anything to him…I just knew how much he meant to me.

    I started down a path that I shouldn’t have been on, and he called to check on me and see if he could help. I was so wounded and defensive that I pretty much told him to go away and leave me alone. So many years later, when I met up with him again, all I could remember was how mean I had been to him and I “knew” that he would not want anything to do with me at all. Such was not the case however (he was so much more like Jesus than I gave him credit for!!)

    When we really got a chance to start talking again, he shared his experiences with me and listened to mine…without condemnation. He helped me get out of the prison I had created for myself and walked with me back Home. Now we work together for God in a way I never even imagined. And I finally understand that his friendship isn’t just a circumstantial thing. It is genuine and sincere. I still don’t understand why, but I thank God for that gift! God has used Rex to teach me in so many different ways I couldn’t begin to list them.

    Because of Rex’s friendship, I have had received the gift of even more godly friends. Friends that encourage me and help me through times when I feel the past creeping up again. Friends that show me Jesus. Friends that remind me that God is working in my life despite my mistakes! Thank you Doug for being one of those friends.

    ONE OF THE MOST AWESOME TRAITS OF OUR FATHER GOD IS HIS ABLILITY TO SURPRISE US WITH JOY…TO CATCH US WAY OFF GUARD WITH SOME WONDERFUL GIFT WE COULD NEVER HAVE EXPECTED OR, EVEN, THOUGHT OF. OF COURSE, FAR AND AWAY THE ZENITH AMONG THOSE GIFTS IS WHAT HE’S DONE AND IS DOING FOR US THROUGH OUR LORD CHRIST. BUT HE IS SUCH A GIVER. IT IS SO DEEPLY A PART OF WHO HE IS. EVEN THOUGH WE KNOW WE COULD ASK NOTHING GREATER…EXPECT NOTHING MORE AT ALL…DESERVE NOTHING AT ALL…HE HAS NOT ONLY GIVEN US OUR SAVIOR…OUR HOPE…HIS LOVE, ACCEPTANCE AND WELCOME…BUT HE GOES ON SCATTERING PRECIOUS TREASURES ALL ALONG OUR LIFE’S PATHWAY. AMAZINGLY, WE ARE VERY CAPABLE OF OVERLOOKING, OR FLAT-OUT REJECTING, SUCH BLESSINGS. BUT HE IS PATIENT. HE LOOKS FOR WAYS TO GIVE US, PERHAPS NOT WHAT WE ARE WANTING, BUT WHAT WE MOST NEED.
    SOMEONE SAID THAT A FRIEND IS SOMEONE, WHO, WHEN WE HAVE MADE A FOOL OF OURSELVES, REFUSES TO BELIEVE WE’VE DONE A PERMANENT JOB OF IT. REX IS THAT KIND OF FRIEND TO US, ISN’T HE?
    SHERRY, YOU TOOK THE WORDS RIGHT OUT OF MY HEART IN YOUR LAST PARAGRAPH. SEVERAL TIMES I HAVE TAKEN GLAD NOTICE OF HOW MY CONNECTION TO ONE OF GOD’S WONDERFUL PEOPLE, OFTEN LEADS ME INTO UNFORESEEN BLESSINGS FROM THE DEAR PEOPLE OF THAT FRIEND’S HEART. AMONG ALL THE OTHER GREAT THINGS GOD HAS DONE THRU HIS SERVANT REX IS THIS…HE HAS MADE HIM, AS IT WERE, A MEETING PLACE…A SAFE PLACE…A RELATING PLACE…THAT PROVIDES LOTS OF WONDERFUL OPPORTUNITIES FOR GROWING FOR LOVERS OF GOD WHO HAVE ALSO BEEN LOVED BY REX AND RETURN THAT LOVE.
    YOU HONOR ME WITH YOUR FRIENDSHIP. MAY GOD RICHLY BLESS YOU TODAY…YOU AND YOURS!
    WHEN YOU SEE OUR FRIEND REX PUNCH HIM IN THE ARM AND TELL HIM IT’S FROM ME, OKAY?

  5. Email Girl on said:

    This is a pretty interesting topic for me to ponder since I have spent the last 8 months of my life re-building old relationships and allowing new ones to form. I came from a place not too long ago where I had cut myself off from most everyone I knew except for family. I never thought I’d get those people back and yet I can sit here today with more friends than I knew I had and more than I thought I deserved. I’m so blessed. But when it comes to this little sentiment you included above only two people in my life can fully fit that description.

    The first one is the obvious one…Rex. The first time I knew him I can’t really say he knew me, I was still hiding for the most part, trying to be someone I wanted to be, but not someone I was cut out to be. He was good to me, encouraged me, gave me more chances than I probably deserved, treated me with respect and let me keep my dignity when I did something wrong. He taught me that Jesus was man, something that hadn’t really sunk in until then. I wouldn’t trade that time of my life for anything. But the Rex that fits the prose you expressed…I didn’t know him till about 18 years later. There are lots of wonderful things I could say about Rex and all the things he’s done for me…he’s changed my life and it will never be the same. I think what I love the most about him is how I can say anything to him, I don’t have to hide anything, I don’t have to hold back, I can be real, be myself and he will still be there listening. He will not judge me, he will not look down on me, he will not lie to me….he is the only person I’ve ever known that I find no need to guard my words around, and the only one I can be completely honest with. He is more like Jesus than anyone I’ve ever known. I figured that out one time when I was hurting and mad at myself and I lashed out at him…I said some things I didn’t mean…things that were hurtful and undeserved. Do you know what Rex said? He said “I’m still for you….I’m not going anywhere…what you say to me does not determine how I will treat you.” I can almost hear Jesus saying the same thing. Rex has been teaching me Jesus by demonstrating to me how He loves. I couldn’t ask for a better friend cause God already gave me one in Rex.

    The other person that made a big difference in my life was Cecil, one of my youth ministers. I was 16 and my brother had just died. I ran away at first, unable to see my family hurting and in despair. When they found me and brought me back home Cecil was there waiting on me. I came home to a house full of people who were crying and hugging and carrying on over the unexpected death in my family. I, because of the troubled relationship I had with my brother, was very confused of how I was supposed to feel. That 1st day I was pretty much in shock for the most part. Cecil sat by me on the couch for what seemed like hours just talking to me….talking in my ear. When someone would approach me I stood and hugged them and allowed them to say what ever they were there to say….a lot of “I’m sorry for your loss” kind of words. I didn’t know what to say back and I was irritated that people wanted to say anything to me. Cecil talked me through it…helped me figure out what to say….got the attention off of me when I needed an out. When things were calm for a few minutes, he leaned over and said “did I ever tell about my uncle that drove a bus?” Not knowing what to expect, I said “no” and Cecil proceeded to tell me a joke. When he was done I laughed out loud and covered my face to keep from being seen. I will never forget that he did that because it was a highly inappropriate time for a joke but it was exactly what I needed to lighten that load I was carrying. That was the day my youth minister became my cheerleader. And the thing is…he didn’t even know just how badly I needed one…he didn’t know what war was raging inside of me. He didn’t know that I was both happy and sad for my brother to be gone…he didn’t know that I hated him for dying and leaving me to piece my life back together amidst my family falling apart around me. I was under a huge amount of pressure and he didn’t know. Yet from that day on he made a point to be sure I was active and participating in the church activities. If I didn’t want to go, he’d just say he was coming to get me…he didn’t allow me to deny myself of the very thing I needed. He would take me to run errands with him or hang out in his office while he worked or just let me come to his house to be with his family for a while. I did a few things during that time I wasn’t exactly proud of and he knew of it but, just like Rex today, he didn’t let that stand in the way of being anything but good to me. I believe if it wasn’t for Cecil I would have taken a more self-destructive path and my life would have been very different. So different that I might not have ever met Rex….interesting how that works. Its proof that God has His hand in all the facets of our lives.

    Thanks Doug for being the avenue in which these thoughts come together. I love to see how God works in our lives. If I hadn’t known Cecil, I may have never met Rex and if I hadn’t known Rex, I wouldn’t be here soaking up such inspiring words from you!!!

    DEAR EMAIL GIRL,
    PLEASE LOOK TO YOUR EMAIL FOR MY FULL RESPONSE TO YOUR COMMENT HERE. I JUST WANT TO SAY HOW GLAD I AM TO BE SERVING THE KIND OF FATHER GOD WE HAVE WHO WOULD SEND YOU SUCH REFRESHING BREEZES IN YOUR LIFE AT THE VERY TIMES WHEN YOU MOST NEEDED THEM. I AM GLAD THAT YOU HAVE THE KIND OF HEART THAT NOT ONLY RECOGNIZED THE PRECOUS GIFT OF SPIRITUAL RELATIONSHIPS BUT THAT YOU ALSO TRACE THESE WONDERFUL GIFTS BACK TO THE HAND OF FATHER GOD WHO GAVE THEM TO YOU.
    YOUR FRIENDSHIP IS NOW SUCH A GIFT TO OTHERS. I KNOW IT IS TO ME AND I FIND THAT TO BE A THING OF WONDER AS WELL…AND ANOTHER OF MY MANY REASONS FOR WHICH TO PRAISE HIM. GOD BLESS YOU AND YOURS. HIS MERCIES AND PROTECTION BE YOURS.

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