Seeking Early

Location: Camden, Maine, United States

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Faithful Through the Years!

My parents, Austin and Madeline Gillam, celebrated 65 years of marriage today! That in itself says quite a bit, doesn’t it?

As a tribute to my parents and with a desire to glorify God only, I share some thoughts.

Both of my parents come from obscure backgrounds, growing up during the Great Depression. They struggled like everyone from that era did. I have heard the stories of supper consisting of nothing but beans and bread for day, after day, after day. Thankfully they grew up in a rural area of western Pennsylvania, north of Pittsburgh, so gardens helped out as did a milk cow and some chickens. Hunting added some much needed meat to the table.

My Dad was not a believer when he and Mother met, but being a believer and having a mother who was a believer (my grandma) it was essential to my Mom, that my Dad would hear the Gospel. And hear it he did. Pastor L. B. Greaser of the Old Union Baptist Church in Kittanning, PA was an old time Gospel preacher who held back nothing, and my Dad came to faith in Christ under his ministry.

Shortly after their marriage, Dad was drafted into World War II. He served in the South Pacific safely, praise the Lord. And after the war went to work at the Allegheny Ludlum Steel Corporation along the Allegheny River in Brackenridge. My Mom was a homemaker most of her life, until she became a Nurses’ Aid at the local hospital.

Those early years were difficult financially. I remember Dad saying that of the first 20 years he worked in the Steel Mill, he was laid off a total of 10 sporadic years. You have to be from Mill country or Coal country to understand that.

On a special day, like today, there are so many precious memories. It would take a book to write it all. Let me share some of the most important to their preacher boy son, who by the way has been a grandfather for 9 years.

I remember love in our home. While we never had much financially we had the riches of love in our home. My parents often went without so that my sister and I could have everything necessary. We never lacked for encouragement, hugs, kisses, or security.

I remember extended family. I had the privilege of knowing, intimately, 7 living grandparents when I was growing up. And my parents and grandparents and great-grandparents were extremely close. My parents honored their parents and their grandparents and it was demonstrated to my sister Linda and I. Not only were we close geographically, but we were close in philosophy and faith. My Mother’s family all worshipped together, until age refrained my great-grandparents from attending. My Dad’s parents were as old as my great-grandparents and lived in the next township and did not worship with us, but they knew the Lord.

I remember honor in our home. My parents honored the Lord, honored the Word of God, honored their Country, and honored the Flag. We were an “old fashioned family!”

I remember challenge. We were taught, not only by words, but by example, to work hard, to be honest, to be faithful, to do our best not matter what! And believe me it wasn’t always easy learning those lessons, but my folks “drove” them home when necessary, thank the Lord.

But above all I remember faithfulness. When the doors of “Old Union” were open, we were there! It didn’t matter if my Dad had to work the night shift. I remember many times coming home from night church in time for Dad to get ready to go off to the steel mill to work his shift. That is so different than today. It seems faithfulness today is something that we will perform if it is convenient. Not my folks! They were faithful!

My folks were faithful to the Word of God. It was read in our home and it was lived in our lives. I remember the day my Dad taught me about tithing. He and I were in the Montgomery Ward Store where my Dad needed to by some kind of hardware for some reason. We walked up to the counter with the items to find that Dad did not have enough money. But I looked at his wallet as he opened it and saw several dollar bills in the bill fold. I said, “Dad you have enough.” He said, no son, that money is the Lord’s. He had tucked his tithe in his wallet behind a note to separate that money from other money, and to remind him. The note, written in my Dad’s hand said, “This money is the Lord’s.” We walked out of the store without the hardware until he saved up what he needed, and I learned that tithing is very, very, very important!

I talked with my folks today, and the last thing that was said, after the “I love you’s,” came from my Mom. She reminded me to be praying for a family member who was having difficulty.

My Mom and Dad have been blessed with long, not easy, life, and 65 years of marriage. But most of all the have been blessed by the Grace of our Loving Lord. And because they are faithful they were certain to pass the message of God’s lovely grace on to my sister, to me, to my children, and now even my grandchildren.

Thank you Lord, for Mom and Dad, choice servants of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Have a wonderful day serving our Wonderful Lord, By Grace Alone!