As Father’s Day was celebrated this past Sunday, I stopped to think about all the wonderful things that I appreciate about Mark Greenberg.
Throughout the years, he’s been a source of stability and comfort in every type of situation. And when I was at my lowest points, my dad was always there to offer me a helping hand. But over the last few months, I’ve learned something new about my father’s presence in my life. But it’s taken decades to understand it.
Let’s start with little teenage-Mandie back in the early 2000’s.
A Calling to Full-time Ministry
When I was in my early teens, my father felt called to enter into full-time ministry – leaving his job as an electrical engineer at the nearby nuclear power plant after sixteen years of hard, but well-paying work. His heart was to be a completely dedicated shepherd to our Messianic community in Syracuse, NY and the long hours at the power plant made it incredibly difficult.
So, when I was 15, my father went from being home for only about 30 minutes a day, to being around constantly. And it drove me crazy! Here was this person who was barely present in my daily life, for good and wholesome reasons, who had previously known me by my report cards, take-home projects, and school plays. Now he was into everything I was doing, asking me questions about where I was going and who I was with and why I was going there when before he had trusted my mom to handle all of that information. I was so angry. So hurt.
A Father’s Soothing Voice
But soon, that pain and anger began to ebb away as it was my father’s voice that started to become the little voice in my head – warning me about bad decisions and poor ideas. He would gently speak to me about the things that I was concerned about or the ways that I was frustrated. He would lecture me in tones that were both correcting and filled with care. Most often, it was his soothing voice that I would hear in the middle of the night when an emergency came up with congregants, or someone had passed, or when there was something wrong that he and my mother had to handle.
Eventually, teenage-Mandie grew into young adult-Mandie and she learned to listen closely for her father’s voice. Because it was a place of safety.
Later, when I was about 22, I managed to get into a pretty awful car accident. At that time, my father had gone back into secular work in order to take care of our family while we finished the Tree of Life Version. He was working at a nuclear power plant about six hours away from where the rest of us were living at the time so that Joseph could keep one of his college scholarships. He would drive those six hours each way on Fridays and Sundays just so that our family could have Shabbat together. The accident left me without a vehicle, without a job, and without a place to live since I couldn’t work due to a horribly broken arm. So, once more my father’s voice cut through all of my sorrow and pain. He told me to come stay with him in his rented apartment near the power plant. It had an extra room and he needed someone to keep him company during the week anyway.
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When the nightmares would wake me up in the middle of the night, my father’s voice asking me what was wrong always brought me back to center. When I would get panicked while driving to the store to go grocery shopping for the apartment, I knew I could call my dad and he would talk to me until I got to my destination. When I broke-down sobbing because taking my body brace on and off to change the bandages underneath scared me, Mark Greenberg would say soothing things to me and help me get everything back into place.
Hearing the Word through the TLV Journey Bible App
Now, at almost 30, my father’s voice still soothes me. Only this time, in a much different way. I have a husband now, who willingly fights my nightmares and takes my calls at all hours of the day when memories of my youth try to haunt me. But every time I open my TLV Journey Bible App, my father’s voice is there.
Late last year, my father began to record readings of the weekly Torah portions. And for the past six months, he has read God’s Word aloud to thousands of people through our app. It’s amazing! The soothing, gentle, but firm voice of a father – who has experienced both pride and heartbreak in his children, is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever heard. So much more because I know that our Heavenly Father feels much the same way. He takes great joy in His Children and endures the heartbreak of their continual disobedience because He loves them so very much.
“I really enjoy it [the TLV Bible App], my favorite part is being able to listen to the Audio Parsha in the “Parsha-Passages” section every week. I always listen while I cook, or wash dishes, Rabbi Mark’s reading is so peaceful!”– Shimrit
So thank you, Heavenly Father, for giving me an earthly father that strives to reflect You. Thank you for gifting him with a voice that echoes Your own. Help me to hear You in the things my father says and bless Mark Greenberg for giving of himself so freely to the building of Your Kingdom.
With a daughter’s love and in the name of our Messiah, Amen.