What About Bill?

No, I’m not at all relating this post to the hilarious movie back in the 1990’s called What About Bob?.  Rather I’m talking about one of my stepdads, Bill.

Back in the 1980’s there was a song entitled “Lookin’ For Love in All the Wrong Places.”  Now while that certainly applied to me many, many years ago (He Really Cares for Me – I Think), instead of talking about me again I want to mention another person in my family who also kept lookin’ for love in wrong places, but unlike my story mother never seemed to find the right man.

Mother had been married 4 times before her passing.  Her first husband died suddenly after just a few months, and then came my dad.  After dad had a nervous breakdown and vanished from our lives when I was a teenager, mother married another man, and then after that one didn’t work out, she married one more time.  This time to a man named Bill.

Their marriage appeared to be happy for a few months (yes, I’m exaggerating – a little!), but then things turned sour, once again.

do-rightMother didn’t treat him very well, but Bill appeared to really love her.  However after a time they decided it would be better living apart, so they ended up in separate apartments.  They would have coffee together, and sometimes go out for dinner or dancing, but then they would go back living their separate lives.

The point of my story is that I cared for Bill, and wanted him to know the Lord.  But mother didn’t like for us to talk to him without her being around, and whenever she was around there was so much bickering that it was very difficult to have any sort of conversation with him.

Back in my post Trying to Save Mom, I wrote about how there were so many times that my sister Sonja and I would try and talk to her about having a personal relationship with Jesus, but usually our discussions ended up with mother getting upset.

But Bill was different.  He really seemed hungry to know more about God.  He often would ask us about our church, would pick up invitation cards whenever we could get them to go to church with us, and when one of his sons died, it was heartbreaking to watch him go up front for prayer after the service.

One time he saw a gospel tract laying around our house, and mentioned to us that he’d “done that.”  While we weren’t exactly sure what “that” was, we began to wonder if perhaps he had made a profession of faith previously – perhaps while he was serving in the war.

But I was chicken to ask him pointed questions.  Why?  Because I knew that mother would have a fit, and I didn’t want to incur anymore of her wrath than I needed to.

However one day Gary and I were chatting about mother, and I mentioned my thoughts about Bill and how I didn’t want to say anything to him because it would upset her.

namesGary nailed me that day, basically stating that because I was unwilling to incur more of mother’s abuse, I may be keeping Bill away from finding true peace with God!  Maybe, Gary continued, Bill really did ask Jesus into his life years ago, and was now trying to figure out how to get back to where he knew he wanted to be.  What if God’s been directing him to us, but we’ve turned our backs on him?  Could I bear standing before the Lord if He pointed to this occasion, knowing that I should have been braver?  OUCH!!!

Yes my heart was pierced, and I immediately repented and started praying for openings.  I was NOT going to let another opportunity slip by!

It says in 1 John 1:9 that if we confess our sins God will purify us and forgive us.  And, of course He did.  He provided more opportunities for me in the remaining years that Bill was around.  We’re still not sure where he stood when he finally left this earth, yet at the same time I have peace in my heart.

There’s so much loneliness and unhappiness in this world.  People need Jesus!  So keep your eyes open, and pray that God will direct you.  He will put people in your path.  Maybe it’s just to smile and give them a kind word, or maybe it’s to share the gospel with them.  I know for me, my heart’s desire is that when I get to heaven I’ll hear the Lord tell me, Well done (Matthew 25:21)!

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