I Call Him Dad

I woke up this morning and my heart cried out Dad.  I don’t always wake up that way.  Sometimes, I yell on the inside, God Where Are You?  I feel like I am looking around the room in the dark until I calm my heart and find Him.  Other times, I march to the bathroom with no lights on saying I can do nothing without You.  That usually takes place when my exhaustion is at a high.  I don’t know where to go except to Him.  I can be frantic, I can be enthusiastically dependent, but I like it the best when I wake up calling him Dad.

No matter the direction our soul takes us, there is no other place to go except to Him.  He puts in us our unique identity, giving us the opportunity to be who He made us to be.  When we are in tune with Him, we do what we do because we believe.  I write because I think it is my “hands and feet” in the body.  I breathe because He has given me that privilege.  I am a mom because He showed me that it is one of the ways I can deny myself, pick up the cross and follow Him.  I am what I am because He asked me to be.  And, what I am not — the things that are the real works in progress — I seek Him for.

So, why do I believe?  Why do you believe?  I think the answer is His heart and His actions.  He reaches into to the depths of your soul and tells you that you are good.  He says you are Mine.  You have no need to be alone.  You are with Me.  There is no fear in Me.  I will walk with you.  I will hear you.  I will know you.  I will come close.  I will reign in you.  And, I will not charge a fee for my great and unending love.  You just believe.  And, little by little, you come to know Him as your dad.

Each of us knows a little about the figure of dad.  Some of you will say that your bloodline makes you a daughter.  Some of you were adopted and that has made you a child.  Some of you would say that pain is synonymous with dad.  Some of you would say that your dad is your hero.  Or your protector.  For some, your dad still causes you grief.  Some of you rejoice over the great gift you have received in knowing and having a father.

I love that some of us get a glimpse of God in the eyes of our fathers.  I love that dads can fix things.  Give advice.  Walk through the fire with you.  Whether it’s job changes or marriage.  I love that my dad saw me while I was pregnant and complemented me on the good work going on in my body.  I love pics of dads with their grandbabies or toddlers on their shoulders.  I like the idea that dads walk down the aisle with us.  I like the way God made dads.  And, I like that the ruler and maker of the universe is my dad.  And yours too.

FF Oct 3

Birth, Death & Father’s Day

I remember years ago asking my dad what his favorite verse was. He was approaching his birthday and I wanted to do something crafty for him. The craft really doesn’t matter at all because it didn’t come out that good. I think I tried to embroider the verse on a pillow with a beads. But, I remember what his favorite verse was at that time in his life. He will never leave you or forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6

At the time of his birthday (I think it was 54 or 56), I had not even taken in the idea that my dad would only have a few birthdays left. He was already sick with cancer at that time, but idea of him getting sick enough to die and God allowing that did become part of my mind’s possibilities. I have been thinking about my dad a lot the last month. Probably because I was his father’s day gift many moons ago. My birth, his death and Father’s Day loom around in my mind in the month of June.

This month, I have been telling my kids some of my thoughts and remembrances so their memories have my dad in them. I think about what life would be like if he was still here. I text my brother who senses his loss almost daily even years later. But not for one minute, not for one second do I question God’s calling on my dad’s life or God’s choice to end his earthly time line at 59 years old. This is the faith that my dad’s walk to heaven has brought me to.

In my dad’s time of weakness where God was allowing him to feel pain. Allowing him to know the brevity of life. Allowing him to realize life was going to end differently than his expectations. Eventually allowing him to wrap up his affairs, say goodbye. Allowing him to prepare to see God face to face. All of that time, my dad said that God showed him that He will never leave me or forsake me. My dad walked home to the Lord like the warrior He was in his life time and like the humble man God taught him to be in his life time. It is in our utmost weakness that God sews in His great love, great strength and His true to the end promise that He will never leave you or forsake you.

Never Leave You

Thank you to Jennifer Dukes Lee for sharing her Ten Life-Changing Truths to Believe Today.

Interlude

I used to turn off the music when I got into the car.  My pain multiplied when music played.  I used to feel strangely lucky when I heard someone else say that they lost someone important to them.  Now I know that loss changes your life forever.  I used to think that my hope in heaven was enough to let you go.  I now believe that moving mountains is not too little to spend time with the one you love.

Once or twice, I woke up thinking that you are still alive.  My dreams left me thinking there was still time to make the end different.  Time to tell you that I am coming for your birthday even if you are in the hospital.  Time to come when you told me not to.  Time to say I am sorry for a handful of things I am sorry for.

I still think of calling you when I am driving in the car.  Sometimes, I feel your presence as if you were standing in the room.  I see your freedom in the presence of Christ.  I see that there are no boundaries to who you are now.

I still think of the day I watched you walk home to the Lord.  I still think of the day I told you that your death would not be a disappointment to me.  Having experienced the loss of you and the aftermath of your ascent, I could not be more convinced that life, in some ways, begins at death.

It used to be that I would humbly ask God why.  I would propose answers like you finished your life’s accomplishments.  I now believe that a person’s passing has more to do with limitations.  I think that when you have become all that you can be in your human body, God brings you home.  In coming home, what used to be is no longer.  When you are healed and whole, what used to be is no longer.

Love Never Fails

By AbbyA

Think back to a time when you were really struggling with a particular issue.  Was it trying to lay off the hot and heavy when you were a single twenty-something?  Gosh, maybe you were getting off the partying band wagon and trying to move on to something better.  Maybe you had to leave a relationship or grow up an immature part of yourself.  Just think back to that.   Do you remember thinking to yourself and God, “Lord, when I get through this, what are we going to have to talk about?”  I do.

In reading Bindu’s post, the words Love is not rude stuck out for me.  I was thinking about how I treat my husband sometimes.  In a snappy way, telling him the truth about how I feel without any love packed around it.  Of course, I can make some excuses such as it really only happens when I am tired or sick or whatever.  But Love is not rude.  When I read Bindu’s reminder of what God is made of, I felt quieted by His spirit that reveals truth.  I can be so self-righteous about my feelings.  So snappy, so rude.

Having lost my dad about two years ago, I had the very uncomfortable opportunity to relive in my mind my entire relationship with dad.  There is this one instance when I was frustrated sort of sandwiched between the foyer closet and the front door.  My dad tried to come in the front door holding stuff and I whaled out something very rude that I am too embarrassed to write down.  Do you know how long after my dad died that I pondered in regret over that fat, ugly comment?

Love is not rude.  So, Lord, when we get past the big stuff, there is still more to talk about.  You are always making us holy.  Always showing us through your Word parts of ourself that you want to fill up with your holiness.  Lord, help me to not be rude.  Thank you for forgiving me for my rudeness in the past.  Thank you for accepting my I am sorries, and passing them onto my dad.   Thanks Lord for who you are and for who you believe I can be.  Thank you that Love Never Fails.

 

My Dad’s Friendships

By AbbyA

Most of you know about my daddy.  There are parts of my journey of being his daughter that didn’t really begin until I said goodbye to him on a cold, December morning.  His blue eyes that I stared into before he set out to heaven have become a sort of roadway into the man that I didn’t get to know every detail of while he lived here on planet earth.  Not to say that I didn’t know the depth of his love or how much he adored me.  It is the missing details.  But with God, all things are possible – – even finding the depths of a heart and soul after his time share on earth shifted to heaven.

After a long day at the football field, my loving husband drove the four of us to the beach.  A local dojo honored my dad and a few other fallen warriors at its annual seminar.  I had three people in mind to see.  Two were there.  A few more were unexpected.

Donna J. grabbed me and hugged me in her strong arms – – just after she had finished teaching her portion of the seminar.  She told me things like it had been too long, about her summer Alaskan trip.  She loved on my kids who were about the same age as me and my brother when she first met us.  She talked about my daddy.  About his faith and his perseverance in the last few months of his life.  This is what I hoped for.  I didn’t want these relationships to pass away with my dad.

I unexpectedly sat next to a gent who went to high school with my dad and trained in the same Miami dojo.  He told me my dad was “bad” in those days.  In the best kind of way.  🙂  I talked to another high school buddy who I hugged as he shed tears over my dad.  We exchanged contact info.  This is what I came here for.

In the blur of my dad’s funeral, I have in my heart many, many words of those who loved him, but fewer faces and names.  Fast forward a year and a half.  Ray P.  It was his dojo, his seminar.  His words.  His warm face that closed the seminar in a tradition of my father that I was not aware of.  He stood at the front of his dojo and asked each karateka to lower to bended knee and he prayed out loud over the day, over the people there and over the teachings of the day.   In the name of Jesus Christ.

You see, my dad found himself in front of seas of martial artists over the years.  Speaking and teaching.  Teaching and speaking.  People from all backgrounds with a common love for martial arts.  This I knew.  I also knew like the back of my hand his commitment to Jesus Christ.  I did not see in action nor fully know how he brought his faith into the limelight of his profession.  Thanks, Ray P.

When we had a chance to say hello, Ray P. told me that my dad opened and closed every seminar and symposium in prayer.  In the name of Jesus Christ.  I saw that God pressed on Ray P.’s heart to be bold with his faith.  He said that not every person would agree, but everyone respected my dad for his convictions.  I sense that Ray P. is expanding his faith with a gentle spirit and a love for Jesus.  His faith calls for that same respect within his reachable audience.

Thank you, God.  For my dad’s friendships.  Thank you God for building more of my dad in me through these friendships.  Through Ray P. and Donna J. and others, what is unknown is made near and known.  What God makes complete, Friends embellish.  There is no end to the unexpected ways that God decorates your soul.  Friends.  Friendship.  Thank you, God.

Men and Boys – We Only Ask That You Act Your Age!

By AbbyA

After JMathis’ intro to this month’s all encompassing mystery of guys , my mouth is so full, I can barely get anything out!  So, let’s see . . . there is the boy of my life, QK, who melts my heart, amazes me with his seven year old spiritual understanding and stands by me like the little knight in shining armour that he is.  There are my two brothers.  My mom’s new husband.  My husband.  My dad already in heaven.  My pastor.  All the guys at the office (who say the darndest things – – like it’s so cold, my nipples are freezing).  My step grandpa who has been there for thirty years.  My “real” grandpa who walked back into our lives after thirty years.  My ex-step dad who keeps trying to walk back in.

At this stage in the game, Tanya is probably married to her father figure and Stacy is probably already divorced from the bad guy.  And with a straight face, I am going to blame it all on Eve.  JMathis hit it on the mark when she said: Whether you realize it or not, any boy in your life has to contend with the consequences of how well you have reconciled yourself to both your earthly father, as well as your Heavenly Father.

Having been through a lot in the way of father figures over the years, I have learned in my own heart the miraculous healing power of seeing pain and loss in the light of my Heavenly Father.   The day He showed me I was valuable even though giving my best didn’t satisfy my father-in-law.  The day He showed me how important my dad’s imperfections were to my understanding of His grace.  The day He showed me, as a mother to my son, I can overcome just about anything with His instruction and true, pure love.

Yes, we will have fun this month grappling with the men in our lives.  Some of them act like men, others like boys.  Some are little sons acting just their age.  Some are already gone but have left power thumbprints on our lives.  But most of all, at the center of it all, we have our heavenly Father leading the way, showing the light, and somehow, growing us all up to be like Christ.