Don’t Let Go

Daddy and his girlsApril 18, 1972 – 41 years ago today I faced life’s first curve ball.

It was a Tuesday evening and I was in my freshman college dorm room getting ready to go to a Bible study. My roommate and hometown friend, Patti, got a phone call. She said very little, hung up the phone, and hurriedly left the room. I went looking for her, thinking that something bad had happened in her family. When I didn’t find her I returned to our room and waited. A little while later, she came in with tears and asked me to sit down. She took a deep breath and began. “That was my daddy on the phone with some bad news.” I knew it…or so I thought. “Nan, your daddy died today.”

Sucker punch.

Although my daddy had had some heart issues over the past months, I hadn’t expected him to suffer a fatal heart attack at the age of 51.

I was numb. This was the first wrinkle in my otherwise smooth 18-year path and I didn’t know what to do. The tears and the other feelings common in situations like this came later but at that moment the only thing I was sure of was that my world would change. For one thing, no more writing checks that I didn’t have money in my account to cover. My daddy was the bank president and had instructed the bookkeepers to transfer money from his account to mine when I was overdrawn. (I know, that’s not a great way to teach a child about money management but that was the way we did it.) I had lost my safety net, my soft place to land in so many ways. I would be forced to grow up and make decisions on my own. That was the part I was not ready for.

Time went by and I did learn to balance a checkbook but that was the easy part. I started making lots of immature decisions and hit some deep pits along the way. I should have learned simple lessons like behavior and consequences quickly. I wasn’t a good student at first. But worse, I began to see my father’s death as not just a game changer but a deal breaker. I found myself crying out to God, saying, “I thought You loved me.” “I thought You cared for me.” “I thought I had Your ear.” “Well?” “Okay, guess not!” On I went down my own path of near destruction.

My prodigal days are still a blur. I can’t recall half of what transpired. I just know that one day, after a year-and-a-half, I woke up in my own version of a pigsty and I didn’t like it. I was ready to come home. And I did to God’s open arms…to a celebration, to love and acceptance I didn’t deserve.

I’ve seen lots of curve balls since that first one. I’ve tried to dodge them but eventually I realize that I just have to stand there and take them. The difference is that during these times I have felt a vise-like grip on me from a Father who vowed to never leave me and to never let me go again. I love this Matt and Beth Redman song entitled “You Never Let Go”.


Even though I walk

Through the valley of the shadow of death

Your perfect love is casting out fear

And even when I’m caught

In the middle of the storms of this life

I won’t turn back I know You are near


Oh no You never let go

Through the calm and through the storm

Oh no You never let go

In ev’ry high and ev’ry low

Oh no You never let go

Lord You never let go of me

 © 2005 Thankyou Music (Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing)

Beth Redman | Matt Redman

This says it so well but I know it is true. Every April 18th I feel His hold on me grow even tighter, and I’m so thankful…

5 thoughts on “Don’t Let Go

  1. Bruce Cokeroft

    Dear Nan,

    One of my favorite of your blogs! It is so real and transparent. Thank you for sharing this meaningful post!

  2. Gerald Free

    Awesome words Nan. My daughter and I are going thru similar circumstances and I worry about how she will handle life when I’m not there to be her safety net.

  3. Cindy Hardin

    WOW, Nan! Loved this one too! One request……..the last two or three blog posts made me cry. Could we try a little Allen humor next time?? Love ya!!

  4. judi

    No words for this one Nan. I will savor this one today and possibly cry, weep and scream out to my Father. Thank you for sharing!!!


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