Welcome to my Friends and Fellowship Serenity Summer Soiree. Each week during the months of June, July, and August, plan to enjoy meeting some of my favorite writing friends and fellowship around the goodness of the Lord. This week, we are encouraged by my sweet friend, and award-winning author, Horace Williams, Jr. as he shares his story, “Becoming More Like My Father.”
Fathers. Leader. Mentor. Provider. Protector. Parent. Deadbeat. Thankfully, that last one is far from who my father was. Yes, I said “he was” because come this August, it will be three years since my heavenly Father called my earthly father home after a long and arduous battle with Alzheimer’s.
Even though at the end, he could not speak as a heart attack grabbed hold of his chest, and he collapsed in the shower in the days leading up to his passing. By the grace of God, I had the privilege to speak to him as he lay there feeble and weak as the life was leaving his body.
My oldest sister was there as I looked into his eyes and told him it was “okay.” Jesus was ready to see him now.
The loss of my father will always sting. But now everything that I do, is in honor of him, and celebrates his life.”Adrienne C. Moore
I promised Dad I would continue his legacy and tell the world about Jesus Christ. His eyes brightened, and he began to flail his arms excitedly. My sister screamed excitedly, “He understands you! Look at him. Keep talking!
My heart ached for my father to step into glory and be rid of the horrific disease that had ravaged the mind of this brilliant man who loved Jesus so much. It was all I could do to keep my voice from cracking, and I whispered gently,” I love you, Dad.”
And just like that, he was at peace.
who was my father?
Horace Williams Sr. was the youngest of five boys. He also had an older sister and a baby sister. All his brothers have passed, yet I’m unsure if they are in heaven with him.
They would ridicule and resent him for his bold proclamations as a young Christian that they would spend eternity in hell if they did not come to know Jesus Christ as their Savior as he did.
He desperately wanted his family to have a personal relationship with Jesus. Surviving him is an older sister, with failing health, and Dad’s baby sister, who I am still closest to right now. She is supportive of my writing and ministry and encourages me regularly. I continue to pray for them both.
Dad was born in 1945 in Fort Worth, Texas. He met my mother as a teenager while working at a cafeteria during the peak of segregation. He would tell me stories of not being able to change in the same locker room or drink from the water fountain reserved for white people only.
My father then attended the University of Texas at Austin and played the coronet in their marching band. Dad was smart as a whip. He majored in foreign languages. I believe he spoke four or five of them. However, he joined the United States Army, quickly moving up the ranks and becoming a MPs captain. (Military Police.)
But God. He had a different plan for my father. Mom and Dad were now married, but he was scheduled to move to western Germany to serve our country. Dad struggled mightily with the pressures from the army. He had no faith to lean on, so he turned to a whiskey bottle. My Dad’s drinking led to alcoholism. However, God still had plans to use him for godly service.
“We can make our own plans, but the LORD determines our steps.”
I used to love hearing my father tell me his story of redemption. One day, he looked out the back window of our tiny military home, gazing at the majestic snow-capped mountains climbing high into the beautiful blue sky. He said to himself, “There must be a God!” He went and grabbed my mother’s Bible, read from the gospel of John, and committed his life to Christ.
“The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display His craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make Him known.”
father meets “the father”
My holy Father began to transform the life of my earthly father. He stopped drinking cold turkey. He was becoming a new man. And God had a new world of opportunity for Dad in his future as well.
I was three to five years old during my time in Germany. However, despite everything my father had been through, God had a call on his life.
After completing his military duties, Dad felt led by the Lord to attend Bible college. So, the four of us moved back to the United States. I now had another brother, three years younger than myself.
Dad and Mom attended Faith Baptist Bible College in Ankeny, Iowa. (A small city just outside Des Moines.) My father was tireless in his pursuit to learn about the Lord and provide for his young family. He worked the graveyard shift at a Firestone Tire and Rubber Company specializing in tractor tires.
Looking back, I remember that my father never complained about the work hours or school workload. He was always humble and incredibly hard-working. He continued to grow in the Lord and wanted to tell EVERYONE he knew or encountered about God’s saving grace.
While Dad was growing by leaps and bounds in his relationship with Christ, throughout my elementary school years, I made some of the best friends in my life. I enjoyed the weekend sleepovers with the pastor’s son of my Christian school. We would ride minibikes behind their house. It was always a blast to spend time with the Tassels.
I grew close with another family who had three boys. They were of similar ages, and we used to put on boxing gloves and go at it in the attic. No one got hurt because we did not know what we were doing. We just enjoyed hanging out together, racing cars on the track we put together, and binging on tater tots!
Dad had finished Bible College, and he now had two degrees. I had just finished elementary and was excited to begin Junior High School with my good friends.
Then came a day I will never forget.
Dad walked into the upstairs bedroom I shared with my brother. We had been hanging out and playing. He told us, “Boys, God has called me to be a missionary to Houston, Texas, to start a church.”
At that moment, I was confused and extremely disappointed. I didn’t want to leave the home we built in Des Moines and all my great friends!
It was the beginning of many rebellious years in my life. I had no desire to travel around the country that Summer and raise support for the ministry God had called my father to do. I would do everything I could to ensure my Dad knew I was unhappy about this decision.
Looking back, these were years of missed opportunities.
Even though I was “forced” to sing at times at different churches, I never embraced it. I pouted, sulked, and wanted my way.
Even after we finally made it to Houston, my light became dimmer. I focused on my athletics and thrived in Junior High and High School sports, winning several all-state and All-American awards in basketball.
a father’s grace
Despite my prowess in athletics, my father and I struggled to connect. I played sports; he played in the band.
Even though I loved playing the piano, I pouted even more when asked to play for church services. One of the beautiful things I remember about my late father was his unbelievable grace.
Yes, I was disciplined, but he rarely raised his voice. However, if I disrespected my mother, watch out! He was not having that.
He was faithful in picking me up after practices or a part-time job. He enjoyed coming to my basketball games and watching his son excel.
I remember his encouraging conversations after a tough loss on the long drive home. He always reminded me that he loved me and encouraged me to keep working hard.
Dad was always respectful to his friends, colleagues, and even people he did not know.
He was never ashamed to share his love for God with anyone. He continued to pray for me fervently, lovingly, and persistently. I know his heart was breaking because of my rebellious attitude, but my father continued to pray for me for decades!
“One who loves a pure heart and speaks with grace will have a king for a friend.“
prodigal leaves home
I was ready to move out at twenty-one and had suffered the heartbreak of my wedding being called off.
A change of scenery was needed. I worked two and sometimes three part-time jobs in the hospitality industry to pay my bills. I had my father’s work ethic, but he continued to pray for my heart.
He came to visit me one Saturday in my sparsely decorated apartment. He told me then that he was proud of me and was glad to see I was taking care of myself.
I enjoyed my conversations with my father during those years. I had earned his respect as a man. He took every opportunity to encourage me in the Lord.
Although, I still wasn’t open to hear that.
Climbing the corporate later replaced the competitive aspect of sports I was missing. That was my focus, but Dad remained faithful.
Years later, in a newer, fully furnished apartment, Dad sat with me while I rested after having all my wisdom teeth pulled out. He would wake me and give me my pain pills that day on schedule so I would not be in pain. I even tried to teach him to play a car racing video game!
Regardless of where I was at that stage, my father was always there—supporting, encouraging, and advising me. He never brought up my past mistakes or times I’d hurt or disappointed him. He just loved me.
At the height of my climbing the corporate ladder and achieving several of my intended goals, I suffered a massive stroke at the office that nearly killed me.
It was a month before my forty-fourth birthday. Careless and immoral living had caught up to me. God was saying it was time to get right with Me.
The funny thing about earning all that money was that it did me no good while flat on my back in a hospital bed.
My entire left side was weakened. I had to learn how to eat, walk, and talk again. My insurance had limitations. So regardless of whether I was improving, I had to leave the hospital and the subsequent rehab facility due to my corporate insurance requirements.
I was “forced” to return home.
Thankfully, Mom and Dad made room for me in their home. They found a hospital bed, wheelchair, and other necessities. So, now, twenty-three years later, the prodigal son was home.
“So, he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him, and kissed him.”
compassion never fails
After everything I’d put my father through, Dad’s compassion toward me was even more evident. My heart was now tender and open to the love of God and my father, especially.
The tenderness with which he cared for me brings me to tears today.
He would come into the isolated room and talk with me even though it was not a pleasant-smelling room.
He had no problem changing my soiled diaper in the middle of the night before the caregiver arrived in the morning.
I could see the light in his eyes when he came into the room and saw me studying my bible. His prayers had been answered. His first-born son loved the Lord!
My passion for Christ was aflame. I could not get enough of God’s Word. I read it, studied it, and finally began seeking all avenues of learning about God and His purpose for me.
Sadly, my father once came into my room to explain and apologize for totaling my favorite car!
I say sadly because that was the “beginning” that led to his Alzheimer’s diagnosis. I remember sitting with my parents at the dining room table, and he would tell me on multiple occasions that his doctor told him he had Alzheimer’s.
My heart was beyond saddened. This brilliant, God-fearing, compassionate man would begin battling this horrific disease for nine years.
It was now time for me to show compassion. The same Christlike compassion he has shown me all his life.
more like my fathers
Nine years after my father was helping me in that hospital bed, I encouraged him to let go and say hello to Jesus as he lay in that same bed. The joy on his drawn face, as I promised to tell everyone I could about Jesus, is an image that is emblazed in my mind.
So, when I feel discouraged, I pray to my heavenly Father and talk to my earthly father. I’m encouraged never to give up, remain humble, live with grace, love like Christ, and give God all the glory.
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
I’m not sure where you are in your Christian journey. Whether a mother or father, son or daughter, or husband and wife.
Keep your eyes open to the opportunities that God wants to use you.
Don’t let pain, suffering, or hurt force you to see His will for you. A life of service to God is the BEST that life can offer.
A God who loves you unconditionally wants what is best for you; how can you not seek His will? Pray fervently, passionately, and persistently.
Some opportunities you can never get back.
I would have loved to talk with my father about my books on prayer. Because I know how much he cherished talking with our heavenly Father.
He recognized the picture on the back of my first book, and the light in his eyes was there.
Now I embrace the opportunities despite the pain, hurt, and loss I sometimes feel. Because nothing compares to the joy I experience pointing others to Jesus and living more like my fathers.
In Christian love,
Horace Williams Jr.
In 2010, at the height of his sales and marketing manager career, Horace suffered a massive stroke at the office, which paralyzed his left side. During those times in the hospital, God recaptured his heart and gave him a new purpose in life. Horace now has a burning passion for Christ. God continues to transform him and renew his mind. He wants to use his gift of writing to encourage people, reminding them of God’s unconditional love and transforming power. For more of his content, visit HoraceWilliamsJr.com
Tap into the Extraordinary Power of Prayer with Horace Williams Jr.’s New Release!
After years of anticipation, Horace Williams Jr. has released the much-awaited sequel to his award-winning book centered on the incredible influence of prayer – Unleash the Power of Prayer in Your Life: A Power that Transforms Lives. Study Guide with Prayer Prompts.
Drawing wisdom from his unpredictable life journey, Horace knows that praying with intention and strength helps us build a deep connection with our heavenly Father. Prayer can bring significant changes to our lives, and Horace is committed to helping you tap into that extraordinary power!
“Horace Williams, Jr. has done it again! This precious man has created an awesome and practical resource all about the power of prayer. From daily verses, insights, and words of wisdom to thought-provoking questions and plenty of places to write. This study guide has it all!
– Melanie Redd, Best-Selling Author, Speaker, Blogger, & Podcaster.
Also, in the midst of the pandemic in 2020, Horace wrote and published his second book, The Furnace of Affliction: How God Uses Our Pain and Suffering for His Purpose. This book, endorsed by best-selling author, speaker, and Television host, Sheila Walsh, is a compassionate, heartfelt, and honest look at how God molds us into whom He desires in preparing us for service.
“If you have ever questioned God’s love for you when you are suffering, this story will encourage and challenge you. Horace shares the struggles he has faced and how God uses and redeems our pain.”
Sheila Walsh, co-host of Life Today and author of Praying Women.
All three of Horace’s inspirational Christian books are available at Amazon.com. Get your copies here.
Lord willing, his fourth book will publish in late Fall or early 2024, discussing why you need to experience the wonderful attributes of God in your life.