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Al & Lisa Robertson / Redemption  / A Seat at the Table | Phyllis Robertson Thomas

A Seat at the Table | Phyllis Robertson Thomas

By: Phyllis Robertson Thomas

The top question I’ve been asked after learning that Phil Robertson, the Duck Commander, is my biological father is, “How are they treating you?” This question is always about the whole Robertson clan. It’s as if my own personal well-being is at stake, and that’s what worries people the most. I think it’s because they know as well as I do that my beginnings were sketchy, to say the least. Adultery, abuse, drunkenness, and lies. This was the setting from which I came. Add to that a celebrity father and family, and there’s a potential recipe for disaster.

I understand the concerns some have had about how well I would be treated, but the truth is, I’ve been welcomed with open arms. I’ve felt a sense of belonging, acceptance and love from my newfound family. Not only that, but my “original” family, including my mom, brother, and sister in Missouri, is happy for me too.

While the vast majority of people are praising God to see how well I’ve been received, there are accusers out there. People have outlined the sinful acts of my dad’s past, as if the enemy is trying to remind me that I was unplanned and unwanted. Fingers were pointed at my mom for keeping the truth from me. I’ve been attacked as well, accused of pursuing my dad for money. These are spiritual attacks, lies from the evil one in an attempt to undermine the work of the cross in my life.

What have I learned from this experience? What exactly did Jesus do for you and me when he hung on that cross, was buried, and was resurrected? Our Father in heaven laid out the blueprint in His word that provides the perfect response to the evil one’s accusations. We are redeemed! 

Colossians 1:12-14

“…and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

Colossians 1:20-22

 “…and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation.”

Just as the Robertson family has welcomed my family and me into their lives and made space in their hearts for us, we see from these scriptures that God has a seat for us at his family table too. Flowing from these beautiful words in scripture are mercy and grace. Mercy is showing kindness or offering forgiveness to someone who deserves harsh treatment, and grace is freely gifted forgiveness available for every one of us, no matter our sinful acts. In light of God’s forgiveness of my own sins, how else could I respond to the sinful acts of my parents and my accusers? Love, forgiveness, and kindness. I respond with mercy and grace, flowing from our Savior Jesus who loved us and gave his life for us. We can be like him.

God brought life-giving relationships from this experience. Before I began this journey to my biological dad, I already knew who I was in Christ, and my motives were pure. I only wanted answers, but I found much, much more. My Father in heaven has given beauty for ashes, joy for despair, and has joined together what the enemy meant to divide. Now, I know a godly, earthly father who has strengthened my relationship with God and brought a new, sweet dimension to my life. Phil Robertson was an evil man. Today, he is the epitome of godliness. I’m proud of the man he’s become, and I’m proud to be his daughter. Some of the sweetest moments in my life today are in the simple ways I spend time with him. Isn’t this a perfect picture of our relationship with Christ? Jesus wants that simple, sweet time with us.

Isn’t it amazing the great reward we have when we forgive? The enemy has no hold on us when we act upon scripture and live a life of mercy and grace. As for me, I’m victorious over my humble beginnings. I’m victorious through the work of the cross. This promise is true for me, and it’s true for you! My prayer for you is that you discover this life of forgiveness from the Father and offer it to others. Seek redemption in your broken relationships whenever possible, and build a longer table to welcome them home.

10 Comments
  • Beebe John
    December 13, 2021at1:20 pm

    So happy for you and your family

  • Theresa Adams
    December 13, 2021at2:37 pm

    Hello, Phyllis from your new social media friend, Terry Ann. The words hit me in your post here of being “unwanted.” You were wanted, or your mom would have found a way to abort given the uncertainties of paternity, your dad would have wanted you as a baby if he knew you existed. Most importantly, God wanted you, God planned you. Now God is using you and the circumstances of your conception, to strengthen you, your family of origin, husband, children, the Robertsons, to grow in Christ. Now, also, to increase the kingdom through the story of your lives.

  • Nancy P Hungerford
    December 13, 2021at2:44 pm

    Phyllis and Tony! You have been full of grace and forgiveness since we worked together with abused youngster at Natchez Children’s Home. A soft answer turneth away wrath. I am proud of and happy for all of your family! Merry Christmas!

  • Lysa Ainsworth
    December 13, 2021at6:00 pm

    Phyllis, this is such a beautiful tribute to how God has demonstrated His love! I am so blessed by this and i know others, many many others, will be as well. God bless y’all!!!

  • Latasha Stump
    December 13, 2021at6:05 pm

    Love this. Love you. So glad I got to grow up with you as my bestie. Loved the years you lived with Mom and me. I treasure those memories. Loved watching you grow in Christ then and love seeing where God is taking you.

  • Sherry Stanley
    December 13, 2021at7:38 pm

    Such beautiful words from a beautiful God honoring woman. I am so happy for you and your entire family the “old family” and the “new” one!!! God bless you and Merry Christmas!!!!

  • Ginny Evans
    December 13, 2021at7:53 pm

    I am so happy for you and your family and all of the Robertson’s for embracing you the way they have. God has redeemed what satan thought he had destroyed and you have a beautiful testimony to share!! May God continue to bless you and all of your family, new and old, and use everyone of you for HIS glory!!!

  • Rich Robert
    December 13, 2021at8:38 pm

    God bless you on this new beginning and I rejoice with you on God’s goodness shown to you in all of this journey.

  • Bill Alegreto
    December 14, 2021at12:29 am

    I’m a 55 y/o man who is going through something very similar to your story.
    Your testimony hit my heart, made some tears run. I believe the Holy Spirit used this to teach / speak to my heart.
    Thanks for sharing.

  • Angela Weitzel
    December 14, 2021at7:46 am

    I have truly enjoyed your story. It is a story of true love. Although I did not have the hardships you had in your childhood, I closely relate to you because I do not know my bio father. I did not find out my adoptive dad was not my bio father until my early 20’s, nine months after I was married and two days after my beautiful mother passed away. My husband jokingly ask if there is anyway Phil could be my bio father. I just turned 54 and am just now starting to think about looking for my bio father. I’m sure you know the anxiety around this decision. I listen to the Unashamed podcast regularly. I love it. I am thankful for the whole Robertson clan. God continue to bless you! You are His light to the world.

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