Category Archives: Father God

Daddy’s Girl

Have you ever run across a talk show featuring an episode on parent child reunions?  The viewing audience, after hearing the personal story of the individuals to be reunited, is offered an up close and personal front row seat to the first smiles and touches of two people who had for various reasons up until that point been separated from one another.  Everyone claps through their tears, the host wraps up the episode with a huge smile and fond farewell, the climatic music de crescendos and everyone goes home.

The guests which were the focus of the show are now left face to face and heart to heart with someone who they were intended to have relationship with all along.  This causes them to feel close on one level; and yet they must now walk through the motions of establishing those elements of true relationship perhaps eventually, emotional intimacy.  The heart’s longing for that which “should have been” mixed with the reality that relationships are not built in a day must make for an interesting journey.  I’ve often wondered how those two individuals proceed with their relationship after the excite of the re-unite.

Although I always remember believing in God, it wasn’t until I was twenty-one that my heart was eternally reunited with Him.  Much like the excitement, music and lights were the initial days of  my salvation.  My entire life had been impacted by the weight of a single decision.  In a moment, I went from condemned to saved,   guilty to forgiven, tainted to pure and victim to over comer.  Never again would I be alone or unloved.

That God shaped hole within was experiencing the first tastes of what had always been intended to fill it.  It wasn’t until that point that I was able to  realize the insufficiency of previous substitutes.  The introduction to my Savior was glorious and I reveled in His peace that transcended my understanding, joy that was my strength, mercy that was new every morning and love that held no limits.  It was a sweet, sweet time.

And yet, life goes on.  The warm embrace of salvation and the New Birth held firm but the daily reality of life quickly came back into view.  I was now face to face and heart to heart with a Savior whom I did not know.  As I was mentored in truth I quickly learned that this was a relationship that required more than the acceptance of my Savior…it required the offering of my heart to my Father.  Faith, trust, and obedience were apparently key and this is where I struggled.

The facts were, I had never known a Father’s love.  Those things that we all think of…Daddy/Daughter dances, strong arms to rescue you, protection, safety, unconditional love and affirmation…these had been the furthest thing from my personal experience.  From the time I was two until I was fourteen each man within my life, to include my biological father, my stepfathers and my grandfather had taken their turn as thieves to steal from me sacred things that were not ever meant for them.  Sexual, emotional and physical abuse were what characterized my relationship with anyone I had ever called “Father.”  Control, manipulation and fear summarized my experiences with those whom I had called “Daddy.”

And so, for a long time, my way of loving the Father was simply to allow Him to love me.  Like an infant who  is overly tired and has nothing to give, it was a good day when I could rest enough and trust enough to simply allow Him to hold me and offer me comfort rather than flailing about in life consumed by my own misery.  Each time I was willing to become vulnerable enough to spend time in His presence, seek His face and hear His voice, He was abundantly faithful, gentle and patient leading me ever so slowly into those deeper places of intimacy with Him.

After years of relationship trust came more easily.  He taught me through everyday life that He was faithful, trustworthy and true.  As  He was faithful to continue the good work that He began within me, binding up my heart and making every broken place whole; the scales of fear, mistrust and suspicion fell from my eyes helping me to see my Father clearly.  Like with most relationships, it was our time spent together that made the difference.

Perfect love really does cast out fear (1 John 4:18).  Once free to love Him we grew closer at an accelerated pace.  I learned that only I determined the limits on how close we could become.

Daddy/Daughter dances, strong arms to rescue you, protection, safety, unconditional love and affirmation?  Yep…I know them now; Praise you Father I know them now.

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Draw Near

The worst types of illnesses for little ones seem to be tummy related.  Those unpleasant issues mixed with a “snuffy” nose –as it has always so been called in our house because of the large burnt orange elephant off of Sesame Street- make for long days and even longer nights in the life of the parents of a child who has “come down with something.” With no ability care for or tend to their own needs, it seems that at these times they just leak all over, and occasionally erupt from one place or another.

I remember feeling helpless in those early years with my first child, burning up with fever, crying nonstop. All ability to soothe her misery seemed futile.  Cycling through the motions of rocking to swaying to walking, hour upon hour we together would find only pockets of sleep to ease our weariness.  My sweet husband, seeing how miserable she was and how exhausted we both were stood idly by wishing that there was something he could do to help either one of us but settled in the knowledge we had previously learned; when the baby was sick she wanted her mama-no one else would do.

Occasionally we would find merciful respite when the medicine would kick in and ease her symptoms enough that she could rest.  Knowing that to lay her in her crib would be self defeating due to the prior explained snuffiness, gently positioning her upon my chest I would lay my head back against the recliner. In what seemed like only moments we would both be awakened by a snot induced cough that would trigger her gag reflex causing her to vomit.

At these times I would have to hand her off to her father in order to clean up.  When out of my arms her crying immediately escalated from a tempered “I am so miserable why is this happening to me?” steady cry, to an all out raging scream.

Every second I could see her reaching her arms out to me calling my name “Mama”, “Mama” through her tears seemed like a painful eternity to my heart.  I longed to hold her and bring her the comfort she needed and desired.  .

In these times I never even considered how my daughter’s illness would impact me.  Would I catch what she had?  Would I be puked on, snotted on, and potentially worse?  Probably so; it didn’t matter.  All I could think about when she was holding her arms out for my comfort was how very much I loved her and how I longed to give her the comfort that she desired.  My heart hurt because she hurt.

As a child of God there have been seasons when very much like my sick little girl my own heart symptoms have been unlovely.  I was happy to run to God when I felt strong and obedient  but in my moments of weakness, disobedience and un-loveliness, those times when in truth I needed God the most, I would withdraw my heart from Him because I did not feel worthy of His love and forgiveness.

I had to learn that I am not a better parent than my Lord.  When we are weak and needy, it is in these times that our Father longs to be the comfort that we need.  He doesn’t see us after our faults and weakness, but instead, no matter how unlovely we seem, always with the heart of a loving parent.  When we hurt, He hurts for us.  Mercy and compassion abound toward His children, especially in our times of weakness.

Father, thank you, that even in our weakest moments as we draw near to you, you draw near to us. 

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God Gauge

 Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.

Matthew 7:24-25

It took several seconds for me to realize what was happening.  The noise and movement of what initially could have been a large truck driving by quickly escalated to a steady rumbling accompanied by increasing shaking.  Faced with the reality of what was occurring, panic rose from my stomach to my throat as I looked around my classroom at my students.  We are having an earthquake.

Although the children did not know or understand exactly what was going on, they looked to me for an explanation of what was undeniably out of the ordinary.  I had to stay calm.  I knew that whatever reaction I offered them would determine their own reaction to the situation.  As they looked at me I could tell that they were trying to gauge my response to determine whether they should be afraid or not.

Seconds later with a smile and a firm tone of voice I directed them to leave what they were doing and line up right away.  We followed the other classes down the hallway and out onto the playground.  Within seconds the rumbling stopped, the shaking ceased and we all stood still.

The teachers took a moment to together breathe again, staring at one another with wide eyes as we all realized the magnitude of what had just taken place and how differently it all could have turned out.  The children, sensing that the emergency was over, chattered among themselves with excitement over what had just happened.

We headed back in and resumed school as usual.  As small children do, my class was able to quickly focus on the next task; seeing that no harm had been done they remained unscathed.  I on the other hand found myself stuck at the what if’s and what could have beens of what had just occurred. Flashbacks of scenes of the aftermath of earthquakes in other parts of the world filled my mind.  The pictures of destruction, devastation and demise of entire communities were fixed on the forefront of my heart.  I was thankful for what didn’t happen yet overwhelmed with the thought of what could have happened.  In that moment that the earthquake began I recall feeling completely out of control.  There was nothing I could do to stop what was happening and in that moment I had no idea how bad it was going to get.  I hate feeling out of control.

They say that when you are a teacher you learn from your students as well as teach them.  In that moment when my students did not know what was going on they looked to me.  It was by my response that they gauged their own.  As they were looking to me, I should have been looking to my Lord.  Instead I allowed fear and independence to rise up within me and take over as I wrestled with the best plan of action.  I had to keep my students safe, they were my responsibility, I didn’t know what was going to happen next.

God never freaks out, He never feels afraid and He never falls from the throne.  Regardless of what we face, if we will look to Him and gauge our response by His according to the truth of His Word, we will be able to handle whatever trouble may come with more peace, stability and sense than we are able in our own strength.

Father, when I feel afraid, confused and out of control help me to remember to always look to you to gauge my response. 

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God the Father and The Godfather

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. (Heb. 8:10) NKJV

photo by Wylio

It was the day of his daughter’s wedding.  Don Corleone sat in a dimly lit room and received individuals into his presence one by one, each beseeching him for a specific favor.  Each favor was something that was beyond their personal ability to control, influence or impact in their own strength.  It was simply above them. In their desperation, they approached the one that they knew had the power, resources and ability to “take care of it.”  The hesitant manner in which they approached hinted to their acknowledgement of both the respect and honor he was due. Upon the acceptance of assistance from The Godfather it was understood that at any future point in time he could approach them requesting the return of that favor.

A covenant was made, a promise not to be broken.  A covenant is a promise unto death and not entered into lightly.  It means, in layman’s terms, I promise that I will use everything that I have to help you and you promise to use everything you have to help me.  Each party wholeheartedly agrees to hold nothing back; it is an all inclusive agreement.  As well, the partakers of a covenant become identified with one another.  Who you are in covenant with has the ability to add much strength to your stance because anyone who understands covenant knows that they are not just engaging with you but they too engage with those whom you are in covenant with.

It was the day of His son’s death.  God the Father, seated on the throne heard His only begotten Son agonizingly ask aloud why He had forsaken Him.  The blood of the covenant had been shed.  The necessary yet painful events had taken place which now made it possible for all of mankind to enter into a covenant with the Most High God, to become partakers of the covenant that was now established between Him and His Son.

Instead of a dimly lit room, we boldly approach the throne of God’s grace.  We sit at His feet and offer him our most complicated, difficult and agonizing issues.  Realizing that we are at the end of ourselves, we approach the One whom we know has the power, resources and ability to “take care of it.”

Be assured, Child of God, there will be a time when the Lord of Lord and King of Kings calls upon you to return the favor.  In our limited, finite and humble ability to offer Him anything, all He asks of us is the willingness to offer Him everything we have, everything we are. Romans 12:1 states I beseech you, therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.

1 Corinthians 3:9 tells us For we are laborers together with God: you are God’s husbandry, you are God’s building. God loves us so very much that He allows us to work with Him here on the earth to help His will come to pass.

There is no better covenant that exists.

These hands, Father? They are yours, whatever you need, whatever you ask- I avail them unto you.  This mouth, Lord?  It belongs to you-help me to be your mouthpiece as I speak into the lives of others. Let them be Your words alone that pour forth out of it.  These feet? Let them go only where you lead; let them be beautiful to you as they carry the good news of the Gospel of Christ Jesus. 

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Same ‘ol Same ‘ol

 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Hebrews 13:8 (NIV)

 PB&J, a cheesestick, yogurt, chips, granola bar and an apple.  My husband has been taking a packed lunch to work with him for nine years and the contents of that lunch have never changed.

Even without having ever eaten it, just thinking of the sustained “sameness” of his choices makes the combination of never changing options distasteful to me.  Often, when packing his lunch, I offer him something different thinking that surely he must be tired of eating the same thing every single day.  Each time however he assures me that he likes what he takes and is content to take what he likes; that is what makes sense to him.

This is just one more place where I realize that the Lord has gifted me with a Beloved who is my exact opposite.

As I look through pictures of even the last five years I notice more hair colors than I can count on one hand, and more hairstyles than I can count on two!  I often clean out my closet for the sole purpose of refilling it with new and different options simply because I get bored with wearing the same things over and over again and more than a couple days of the same food choices cause even me to begin to put some of my limited culinary skills into action.

This difference in demeanor spills over into other places in our lives as well.  My husband presents the same whether he is happy, sad, excited or bored.   If you truly know him you might have an inkling of what may be going on in his heart but for the most part calm, cool and collected is what is perceived by 99.9% of the individuals he encounters.  I on the other hand am as transparent as Saran Wrap.  For the most part whatever is going on in my heart is on display for the world to see.

If we were vegetables he would be celery and I would be a jalapeno. Colors? He would be beige and I would be bright, fire engine red.  He is the one the Lord has given me to hold onto my ankles to keep me from floating away as I follow my dreams.  God knew exactly what I needed in a husband.

My husband is the vessel that the Lord has chosen to teach me of His never changing faithfulness, stability and security.  He is an on-earth representation of so many characteristics of my heavenly Father.

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deut 31:8.

Even more than my husband, my God never changes.  The Word tells us that He is the same yesterday, today and forever.  He is not moved or changed by circumstance or motion.

photo by Wylio

He is the Rock we can stand upon when the waters rise around us; He is our firm foundation.

What a blessing this is for those of us who call Him Father.  We never have to wonder what we are going to get with Him for He always presents the same 100% of the time.  His love never fails and love, in its perfect form that casts out fear, is what He offers us every day in relationship with Him.  Regardless of what circumstances we may face He remains stable, trustworthy, faithful and steadfast.  His Word is truth and the anchor to our ever-stirring souls.

He never leaves us or forsakes us and can always be found in the same place …  His throne room of grace where He encourages us to run boldly in our time of need.

 Father, thank you for the security that I have found in all that You are…

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