A labor of love and a story that needed to be told. That’s how David Garrard — retired minister, professional magician and author — talks about his book, “Thanks Dad! Fruits of a Father’s Faithfulness.”
The book is a series of stories about experiences David had with his father, Forrest Garrard Jr. Each chapter details a special time in his father’s life or ministry and includes a life lesson. The chapters can be used as devotionals or for small group discussion.
“Dad had some things really figured out about ministry, about family, about relationships, and his story needed to get told,” David said.
The labor of love started nearly three decades ago as a way for David to process his father’s sudden death in 1993.
“I was looking for a way to deal with all of the feelings I had … to put down on paper just how much he meant to me. I just started writing. One story led to the next,” David said.
The pandemic provided the opportunity to put the stories together in a book, David said.
As described by David, his dad Forrest was “not the best preacher I ever heard, but absolutely hands-down the best pastor I ever knew. He was the most incredible people-person, always actively interested in someone else. It was always, ‘What can I do to help you?’”
Forrest also introduced his son to magic.
“Dad was the one who saw [my] real fascination with magic, and Dad had taken me as far as he could. [So he] went and found somebody who knew a lot more, and that’s what opened up the big world of magic for me. What if Dad had not done that? This has been a huge part of my vocation,” David said.
‘How special Dad was’
When David started listening to rock-n-roll music as a teen, Forrest didn’t like it. And even though he got some pressure from church members, Forrest trusted God, his own judgment and his relationship with David enough to give his son freedom to choose.
Thus, David said he “was totally caught up in the music but not caught up in any way in the rebellion [of the 1960s].”
When the Beatles’ “White Album” was released, David’s parents weren’t in love with the idea of him having it. But “it was under the tree on Christmas morning,” David remembered.
“I think about my relationship with my own kids. It’s pretty good, but it’s not like that,” David said. “You [have to] give yourself grace, but it shows how unique and how special Dad was.”
David equates this relationship to the one God wants with His children — to walk through life together in the good, the bad and the ugly.
“As far as the parent/child relationship went, we didn’t have an agenda,” he said. “Because we kept that relationship current, whenever something would happen, we were in a position to respond. We didn’t have a talk; we had an ongoing conversation.”
David also recalls a difficult period in the family’s life. In the chapter, “A Bump in the Road,” David shared how his father was once asked to step down as pastor of the church he was serving.
In a vote of confidence, more than half the congregation sided with Forrest, but he decided to “walk away quietly and trust God to provide,” David recalled.
God did. The church paid Forrest until he found a position in another church. The family didn’t even have to move from their dream home.
“It’s easy when things just sail along. But what about when things don’t sail along? That’s when you find out what you’re made of, and that’s when you find out if you believe what you say you believe,” David said. “It’s one of the times Dad’s Christlikeness really showed.”
A verse David has relied on in recent years is Psalm 31:14–15a: “But I trust in you, O Lord. I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in Your hands.”
“It’s the promise of presence,” David said. “No matter what happens to me or around me, God is always with me. If you can hang on to that truth, that’ll work.”
For more information about “Thanks Dad!” or to book Garrard for live or virtual events, visit davidgarrardmagic.com.
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