11: On His Knees

11: On His Knees

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Devotional Stories for Tough Times

On His Knees

By Teresa Ambord

In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears.

~Psalm 18:6

My dad probably never envisioned becoming a husband and father by the time he was nineteen. That was a lot of responsibility, but it was nothing compared to what was to come. Leap forward eleven years, and he and Mom had four daughters. With their combined incomes, my parents bought a big, new house. We moved in, but just a few months later, their marriage fell apart, and Mom moved out. That meant Dad not only had to raise four daughters alone, but he also had to pay for a two-income house with one income.

Becoming a suddenly single parent is always a struggle, but much more so for a man trying his best to raise girls. As in most families, Mom had done most of the nurturing. Dad knew little about cooking and less about housework. He hired babysitters and housekeepers, always with disastrous results. So, in the end, the five of us winged it. In the morning, I’d walk myself to school across the street. After school, I’d walk home and wait in the garage till my older sisters got home. I never told them that I was afraid to go into a house that had been empty all day.

Long after dark, Dad would arrive home. He was exhausted from ten-hour days, and though I didn’t realize it then, he was also deeply troubled by the breakup with Mom. Even so, every night after work, he’d stop to spend time with us. We’d crawl all over him and tell him the complaints we’d waited to lodge against each other.

After a while, Dad would stand up and say, “Girls, I just need a few quiet minutes,” and then he’d disappear into his bedroom.

Soon, we would start quarreling amongst ourselves, and we’d look around for our chief problem-solver.

“Dad!” we’d scream almost in unison. Then we’d burst into his room to tattle, and always find Dad kneeling by his bed in prayer. Those chaotic days are a blur now, but seeing Dad on his knees, humbling himself before God, is a sight I will never forget. His world had turned upside-down, draining his energy, but he knew where to go to renew his strength. He knew it was God who equipped him to get through another day as the suddenly single father of four. Whether he realized it then or not, he was also setting an example for his daughters.

These days, if I run out of strength, I remember where to go to renew the supply. There’s a saying, “When times get tough, the tough get on their knees.” Like my dad, I get on my knees, and I feel restored.

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