True North: The Importance of a Father

Guest Post By Shelton D. Whitman

I still remember what it was like playing baseball when I was a kid. I’d walk out onto the diamond, step into the batter’s box, tap my number four Louisville slugger bat on the home plate, and look out toward the pitcher and the fields behind him. At that moment, I knew where I was and what I needed to do. There was no question. I was there to swing the bat and hit that ball and run through the bases. There wasn’t any time to question why I was there or what I was going to do. In a couple of seconds, a hard baseball was going to come my way traveling upwards of 90 mph.  

About five year ago, I had a stroke that ended up setting me back in a huge way in my health. My mobility was shot. My talking was severely challenged. I was a pastor and an accomplished singer, but all that was lost. Diabetes ravaged my body and continues to today despite my best efforts to control it. It produces sores on my legs that have sent me to the hospital many times. It has taken my sight and almost my life.

I’m wearing the highest level of reading glasses as I write this, and I still can’t really see what I am writing. I have cried out to God repeatedly, and I am sure he has heard my cry. Nevertheless, I don’t understand how I spent so many years doing all these great works for Jesus, and sometimes feel so disoriented that I can’t find my True North anymore.     

Life moves on quickly. Sometimes you are at the diamond knowing exactly what to do; other times you are in the hospital bed crying out to God for understanding. Changes happen every day. The things that are familiar and comfortable become the fond memories that get us through the tough times. Hold on to those memories. Hold on to all you know is true. THAT is your True North when the rest of the world is confusing. This life we live is an incredibly short trip; it is up to us to make the most of our journey and chart our course towards Heaven.


Shelton Whitman served as an ordained minister for over thirty years in Colorado and North Carolina. He was well known and loved for his smooth, Elvis-like singing voice and his fiery sermons. He retired early due to health issues, and now lives with his wife, Wanda, in rural North Carolina on the farm his father and grandfather started.