Serial The Anointed: 17. An Emotional Visit To John’s Mother

Serial The Anointed: 17. An Emotional Visit To John’s Mother March 2, 2024

A silhouette of a man lifting his hands in worship against a backdrop of an evening sky. Next to this man are the words: "The Anointed - a faith-based serial."
Follow along with this thrilling serial about the highs and lows of Pastor John.

A few days after our trek in Scotland, John calls me. He has had a phone conversation with his mother and made an appointment to see her. As promised, I accompany him.

I arrived in my own car. John’s mother lives in a large senior apartment complex south of New York. As I park, John is already there with his car. He is visibly nervous about the visit. We walk together to the apartment. This is John’s first visit; when he still had contact with his parents, they lived in New York City. A few years ago, before his father died, they moved here.

John’s mother lives on the seventh floor. She has already opened the apartment complex door for us via the intercom. When we step out of the elevator, John’s mother is waiting. They hug each other crying. I stand there somewhat awkwardly. Sobbing like a child, John embraces his mother, whispering repeatedly, “Mom, I am so sorry. So sorry.” His mother strokes his hair, whispering back, “It’s okay, son.” After a few intense minutes, she takes John by the hand into the living room. I follow at a distance.

Before we have a chance to sit down, his mother retrieves an envelope from a drawer. “This is a letter from your father. He was so sure you would come back here one day. He made me promise on his deathbed to give you this letter when you returned. It’s for you.” Handing over the letter seems to lift a huge weight off her. “Would you like some coffee?” John and his mother engage in deep conversation. I finish my coffee and excuse myself, claiming another appointment. My presence is no longer needed.

“The letter! That’s my first thought. John can hardly wait to tell me everything over coffee.”

The next day, John video calls me. There’s a noticeable change in him. Despite looking weary and red-eyed, he radiates happiness. “The letter…” I immediately think! John eagerly shares everything with me. His father wrote him a letter just before his death, reconciling everything. John lets me read the letter. It’s ten pages long, and he sits quietly as I read.

In the letter, his father recounts how he had to work hard on his father’s (John’s grandfather’s) farm during his youth. He learned that hard work was the way to please God and his own father. As a pastor, he fell into the same trap, working impossible hours to please God and others. In doing so, he completely neglected John. He spent the rest of his life regretting not being a father to John. He asks John for forgiveness after all these years.

The letter continues. His father understands why John chose the path he did. Though it hurt to be ousted as pastor by John, he saw God’s hand in it. This had to happen so he could refocus on his relationship with God and his wife. There is no blame towards John in the letter. The father takes all the blame and forgives John for any wrongdoing between them. The letter ends with a heartfelt declaration of love and pride for his son, not for his achievements, but for who he is.

These words move me. His father hopes the curse of how fathers and sons interact in their family ends with John and that he may have a loving relationship with his sons. The letter concludes with a prayer that John always knows he is loved by both his heavenly and earthly father.

“I didn’t sleep last night and wrote a long letter back to my father. I want to bury it at his grave this afternoon.”

When he is finished reading the letter, John smiles broadly. “I am forgiven by Jesus and my father. It’s all good. I didn’t sleep last night and wrote a long letter back to my father that I want to bury at his grave this afternoon. In the letter, I told my father everything. It might sound strange, but I’m sure he heard me, and it’s okay now. I’m going to do my utmost to reconnect with my own children. The wrongs between my grandfather, my father, and me don’t have to repeat between me and my children. I’ll do everything to make it right.”

Not long after, I wave John off. I’m curious how the reconnection with his children will go.





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Matt Vlaardingerbroek, a former seasoned church planter and pastor in Holland’s inner cities, brings Bible stories to life through ventriloquism and magic. He’s authored three books, and founded, providing over 1,500 innovative Sunday school activities worldwide.


About Matt Vlaardingerbroek
At 52, I’ve worn many hats. For 14 years, I have been a church planter in one of Holland’s tough inner-city estates and served as a pastor, deeply immersing myself in community life. I have authored three Christian books and am a regular columnist for the Netherlands’ premier Christian website. A role close to my heart is that of a Christian children’s artist. Using ventriloquism and magic, I breathe life into Bible stories, sharing God’s tales in schools and churches. My creative streak also led to, a rich resource offering over 1,500 Sunday school activities. This platform aids children’s workers, teachers, and parents globally in imparting Biblical lessons to youngsters You can read more about the author here.

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