Reflections

HIS MIRACLE

I want to tell you the story of a little boy.  This little boy was born in 1929.  He already had two little brothers, and no father in the picture when he was born.  His mom married within a year after his birth and they had two more children together.  Then one day his dad left home to find work to support his family, and never returned again.

This little boy grew up never knowing what happened to this father.  His mom eventually married again and had two more children.

This little boy had some difficult childhood events happen.  His home burned to the ground -twice.  They lost almost everything each time.  They were very poor.  In one of the fires, this little boy was sick at home with a stomach ache in bed upstairs.  He smelled smoke and had to run to the bush where everyone was working to let them know that the house was on fire.  They were able to salvage their kitchen table this time, but lost just about everything else.

Another memory this little boy had was of a time when his mother, grandmother and aunt were very sick with Typhoid Fever.  His grandma died and so did his Aunt Nora.  Nora had three little boys of her own, with no father, and this little boy remembers the Children’s Aid Society coming to take away his three little cousins forever.  There was no one who could look after and help raise them.  This little boy remembers standing on the porch watching them being taken away while his mother was still recuperating.

This little boy graduated from grade eight and then dropped out of school to help support his family.

This little boy knew what it was like to have to work hard every day.  He also knew what it was like to live with the stigma of being poor and of being from a family with no father.  Back in those days things were looked upon a little differently than they are now.  

This little boy grew into a young man and he wanted to marry a girl who was a baptized member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  He was 22 and she was 17.  This girl didn’t attend church, but she knew enough to ask this young man – “what happens if I decide to attend church after we get married, and what happens if I want my children to attend church with me?”  This young man promised this young lady she could attend church because he didn’t go to any church, so it wouldn’t be a problem.  This young man, without a formal education, also promised this young woman he would build her a house.  That was enough for her!

This young couple got married and he was able to get a good job with Ontario Hydro but they required a Birth Certificate for employment.  When he received the birth certificate, he was shocked to learn that the man he thought was his father his entire life, was not his father.  He never ever learned who his real father was. 

This young man built this young woman five homes in his life-time.  They had eight children together.  If you haven’t guessed by now, this true story is about my father.  I (Mary Lambert) am the sixth child born to my parents.  They had five boys, and then three girls.  I am the oldest girl in the family.  Thank goodness they finally had a girl!  (much to the dismay of my brothers 🙂 )

When my mom turned 35, she decided she wanted to attend church to learn and determine if this church, that her sisters and mom attended, was right and true.  My dad didn’t like this – they had been married for 18 years already and he didn’t like this change.

For those of you who knew or remember my dad in his earlier years, he was positively grumpy when members of the church came by, and there were lots and lots and lots of arguments in our home when I was growing up over my mom attending church.  Lots of contention.  It was not an easy thing for my mom to attend church.

It got so bad that one day my dad told my mom he was leaving her if she didn’t stop attending church.  She reminded him of his promise he made to her before they were married and told him to go ahead – to leave – but told him that she would be attending church every Sunday.  He took his pillow and sleeping bag and went all the way ….. downstairs.  They didn’t speak at all for a few days. He came up to bed around 3 a.m. a few nights later and told her he was sorry.  This was not the end of the contention and difficulty with my father over this issue.     

My mom had found a deeper meaning in life by connecting with Her Father in Heaven again and she knew this would see her through hard times. The knowledge and peace this brought to her life was not something she was willing to give up.

This little boy (my father) did not come from the perfect traditional family, and because of how he felt when he was growing up, he wanted something different for his life and his new family.  He was faithful to his wife his entire life and worked so very hard to provide a good life for her.  He had many personal and intimate struggles to deal with and overcome because of his upbringing and insecurities.  

This young man eventually became an older man with lots of grandchildren, and he and his wife opened their home to all who wanted to come home again.  Their home was a gathering place for family.  Through his family, the example of his wife and children, he was eventually able to see the goodness that came from living the principles of the Gospel. 

At the age of 78, after overcoming some personal challenges, my dad came to know His Father, God.  He was truly converted and became baptized in His church.  He may not have ever known his earthly father, but he came to know his Heavenly Father.  He truly believed and had a changed heart.  It was priceless to be witness to his transformation.  His entire countenance changed.  Dad was an incredible example to my children and the rest of his family, and he was a good dad.  He always made me feel like I was the apple of his eye.  (even though I’m sure my other two sisters felt the same thing) 

Thank heaven for a mother who had the perseverance to know what was best for her and her family. 

Family helped to save my father.  Love, acceptance, time, and patience helped, but the Savior ultimately saved my father.   My mother never tried to force my father to come to church or believe in God.  Dad watched, felt and saw the difference believing in God made to his family.  He chose to make this monumental change to his life three years before he passed away.  He took his wife to the Toronto Ontario Temple, to be sealed (married for time and eternity) in 2009.  This took place one year before his sudden, accidental death, on Thanksgiving Monday while working with some of his family in his bush and driving his ATV. 

Dad regretted his stubbornness in not seeing and making this choice sooner in his life.  He had a hard time believing that God would allow him the same blessings as those who tried to follow the Saviour their entire lives.  I know He will.  I’m grateful for this knowledge.  I’m grateful for what my Saviour has done for me and for each of us.  I’m grateful for HIS MIRACLE

I love you dad… until we meet again.

Special Notes for HIS MIRACLE Music Video

– the thumbnail used for the video and photo of my dad hugging a man has deep meaning.  This was one of the first members of the church that my dad really warmed up to.  We called him “the hugger”.  Paul Sampson was serving as mission president in the Toronto Canada Mission and would regularly come to our home for visits.  My dad felt a connection with him.  I’m sure he felt his genuine friendship, care and love.

– the house and barn depicted in the beginning of the video was the home dad lived in after his mom married Jack McPhail.

– the video clips of the woods included near the end of the video were filmed at the place where dad had his ATV accident and passed away.

– the coat I am wearing in the very last clip, singing the song, is the coat dad wore when he had his accident.

2 Comments

  • Terri Stapleton

    Thank you for sharing your Dad’s story Mary. I recall the last time I saw your Dad, he was serving Sacrament in the Bracebridge Ward. I felt a sense of appreciation for him at the time…I felt his humility. I remember feeling joyous for your family and happy for him when I found out he was baptized. Your Mom has always been a righteous example….I can see her putting her foot down and sticking to what she knew her family members needed in their lives. You will touch the lives of so many with your new album. I have really missed my “Bracebridge” Ward because of COVID. Please pass on my best wishes and hugs to your Mom. Wishing you all the very best and much success. Hugs Terri Stapleton

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