Finding Your Father

This is the story Herb Montgomery told us at the Character of God Conference about his relationship with his dad. It is poignant and compelling, and much better when he tells it. In fact, his book is Finding the Father, and is available at ( I’m reposting it for this reason. Twitter:@Herb Mongomery


Herb remembers vividly the last fight of his parents before they divorced. He was in a high chair and they were standing over him–one on either side–fighting. That is his last memory of them together. He was told that his father never paid child support, and every birthday went by without a card or a gift. He lived 20 houses down the street from his father, but never saw him for almost 15 years.

Then he decided it was time. At 16 he went and knocked on his father’s door. It was tense, but he was welcomed in. The relationship didn’t grow much until he fell in love at 16 and proposed at 20. (She had moved to California.) He planned it all carefully, went to California, and was down on one knee, when his beloved said, “Don’t even think about asking me to marry you” he is dying inside until he hears her next word “until–(ah-h-h, there is hope) you have restored a relationship with your dad.” Smart woman at 20!

So he goes back to West Virginia and works at a relationship–enough so she is convinced that it is a good as he can make it. She says yes to his proposal, they are married, and one day are sitting in his father’s house when he is 23. She has a knack for softening anyone, and before his eyes, he can see it happening with his dad. She asks if she can ask him something, and gets, “Why of course, darlin’ go ahead and ask anything.”

“Why didn’t you visit your son in 15 years?” she asks innocently as Herb cringes inside.

His dad, apparently undisturbed, gets up and says to Herb, “I have been waitin’ for this day. I have somethin’ I want to show you,” and motions for Herb to follow. He says, “I know how much you love your mother and I never wanted to do anything to disturb your relationship with her,” and hands him a box that has every canceled check from every month of 15 years. Some of them were even for more than the amount required.

Also there were receipts for gifts and birthday cards returned for every year.

Herb was shocked. How do you process that?

He didn’t say. But my mind ran with it because that’s what I do. He found out his father really did love him and care and provide for his needs, but he was lied to by the person he trusted and loved, and still loves.

What a symbol of our life. We have been lied to about God’s love and goodness, and we have believed it! But it’s not true, and God has the receipts to show  us. He has always been there waiting until we are ready to understand, until we want to know if He loves us. He’ll even help us forgive the ones who lied to us! But he doesn’t push His love on us.


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