“I will say to the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress; My God; in Him will I trust.” Psalm 91:2
Billy came into the world in Beckley, WV on July 7, 1926. Little did he know he would be adopted into the loving and caring home of William and Marie Carter. They took such good care of him growing up and when he finished school, Billy joined the Marine Corps in 1944. When he returned home he married Mildred Elizabeth Carter and they had three children.
Billy always felt something was missing in his life. He never liked or felt the need to go to church. But one evening, an older gentleman named John, talked to him about the Savior of man. Billy accepted the Lord as his Savior that evening. His life took a dramatic turn and he attended and graduated from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1970. He was later ordained into the ministry at Grove Avenue Baptist Church (Richmond, VA) where he served for 20 years.
How many of us follow our hearts to fulfill what would seem to be a dream or ambition just for our own personal happiness? I would guess not many of us. Billy felt he had to do more with his life to be a better man for himself and for his family. He felt God had greater plans for him to be a servant to bring others to Christ. Every day he wanted to witness to a stranger, a friend or a child.
In January 2016, Billy’s beloved wife went home to be with Jesus. He prayed that God would call him home, too, as life without Micki (Mildred) was heartbreaking. I would tell him that God was not ready for him yet. He found it nearly impossible to go on each day without his precious wife. How do you tell someone that God still had a mission for him to complete? God wanted Billy to complete the task that he had planned for him.
Reverend William C. Carter had so much love in his heart. He would read this poem to his family of the joy he experienced in leading someone to Christ:
I have love in my heart for my God who loves me
I hear his voice in the wind
I see his face in the stars
What a kind and caring Father
He is a great love in my heart
When it is silent at night
I kneel down and pray
That all I ask will come each day
Such blessed gifts God gives to me
So I can see eternity
There is love in my heart for my wonderful King
Jesus holds me so close as I sing
The Heavens open wide, then I know
My God takes my hand
As in through His door, my spirit goes.
(Author: Linda Ann Henry)
In February 2016, Billy entered the hospital for a medical procedure. He had almost given up on life at this point. He wanted to go home so God could take his hand. But God was not quite ready for him. While Billy was lying in the procedure room, a nurse that was taking care of him came in and asked him to tell her about God. As he had always done, he told her about Christ. She was so excited that she told him she could not wait to go home to tell her son about Christ too. Billy closed his eyes as the nurse left his room and God reached down and said, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” As I held his hand, he squeezed it and tears were running down his face and he was gone.
The very next day the nurse came running back into the hospital to tell her patient that her son had accepted Christ as she had. But Billy was gone and was home with Jesus. She later said the room had the most beautiful light coming through the window and she knew he was there and that he had heard her.
Billy was my wonderful father. As I recalled this memory, I felt he was here beside me saying, tell my story every day so Christ can live in you through me.
Isn’t it a wonderful time in our lives when we fulfill our hopes and dreams? Nothing happens that our Heavenly Father does not know. It’s why we live our lives with the knowledge that this life is simply a stepping stone to being with our Father in Heaven. I will be so happy to see my dad and mom once again as we stand on the pearly road to our Eternal home with Him.
This story is for you daddy. I miss you every day but know I will see you again.