This past week, I spoke at two women's retreats. Interestingly, they both had the same theme: encouragement. In preparation for my part of the program, I kept remembering a scene from my father's life because he was my encourager.
The year was 1962, and the voice at the other end of the telephone line was my husband's administrative assistant. "Dr. Mohney asked that you not leave for your meeting before he gets home to talk with you."
Realizing Ralph should be speaking momentarily at an important faculty meeting, I knew this was important.
"Robbie, what's wrong?" I asked.
She was kind but evasive: "He'll be there shortly."
When he walked through the door of the sunroom of our home, I knew I'd better sit down. Ralph sat down beside me, took my hands in his, and said, "Nell, your sister called to say that Pop just died."
In disbelief, I said, "How can that be? He was doing so well this week."
My father had lived with us for six years following my mother's death. Earlier that week, he had gone for a visit with my sister and her husband in Marion, N.C. The reason, of course, was that his only granddaughter, Eleanor Dover, had come home to prepare for her wedding to Don Allison. Pop didn't want to miss the excitement of all the festivities.
Pop was the source of emotional warmth in our family. He expected a great deal from us, but he did it with a light touch. It was he who saw to it that we went to Sunday school and church. I've often wondered if his happy attitude toward church caused all three of his children not only to love Christ but to love the church as well.
His best gift to me was encouragement. Once when I got off track, he said, "Nell, God put a treasure in you, and your mother and I want to help you discover your treasure."
Though for several years, Pop fought and won the battle with alcoholism, he never stopped encouraging his children.
Nell Mohney is a Christian author, motivational speaker and seminar leader. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.