Mar. 3rd, 2012

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When my mom married Dale, neither my brother nor I was pleased, but we accepted it as best we could. And when we met our Uncle Howard, we didn't realize what a rock he'd become to us.

The first time that we met him after Mom and Dale got together, he insisted that my brother and I call him Uncle Howard. Jason and I thought it was funny to keep calling him Howard, but he told us that if we did, he wouldn't talk to us until we could show him respect. True to his word, he didn't. It wasn't long before we called him Uncle Howard, and not long after my mom and Dale married that my brother and I realized how lucky we were to have him.

Through the years, he was there for us. When Dale belittled Jason, Uncle Howard cared. When I rode with him in the car, he talked to me, wanting to know about my day. His house was always open to us, and in our awkward teen years, this was even more important. We were accepted and loved for who we were--not because of whose kids we were, or the people we might become, but the changing and growing people we were right then.

So it was to my uncle that I went when I could trust no one else. He loved me despite what happened, and almost two decades later, he's still here.

I've been struggling with my faith lately, not sure of my way or how to find the path again. I've asked the opinion of other people, but it wasn't until last night that I realized Uncle Howard would know. I sent him a text, and he asked me to call him. But before calling him, he wanted me to read chapters 18-20 in John.

I did this morning, then called him this afternoon. It was so good to talk with him again! And I was right, he had some answers for me. He didn't make me feel dumb for not having it all figured out or not knowing what to do. He suggested some things I can read, and even a new way to pray. And he reminded me that some days are hard, some days I'll have questions and I'll even be mad at God and that it's okay. God cares for me and wants to hear everything from me, the good and the bad. Yes, He already knows it all, but He still wants to hear from me.

You know that verse in Romans that talks about how everything works out for good? Uncle Howard is that good. If I could go back in the past and take out all the bad, I don't think I would because intertwined so tightly is my uncle. He was there through it all, and I don't think I would have known how much he loved me if I hadn't gone through what I did.

(This post is also crossposted to my blogspot account.)

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