Sunday, March 1, 2015

dad vs. Dad

When you think of dad... what do you think?

Growing up my dad said he had a dad, a father, and a Dad... a man that allowed him to be born, a man that raised him, and a man that he looked up to. His dad was not in his life and that caused him hardship. His father was in his life, but also caused him hardship. His Dad, or Heavenly Father, he found later in life and has really allowed that figure to play a large role in his life, decision making, counsel, etc.

I was thinking about this the other day and couldn't help but think about how I have a dad and a Dad. There is a huge difference between those titles and I know that for me, and many others, our experiences with our dads have affected our outlook on our heavenly Dad/Father. Don't get me wrong, I love my dad. He has been a beacon in my life and many others, but there have been rough roads along the way and as I have grown in life and wisdom I know that my dad is a good man. At one point in my life I was not very close to my dad or my Heavenly Father and this was a time that I was searching to fill that emptiness ...

What I didn't know at that time was that the only one that could fill that emptiness was my Heavenly Father. He was longing for me as much as I was longing for Him. It was a challenge and took a long time to circle back to the idea that I not only deserved that love, but that he was grieving with me and wanted to provide me with that love all along.

Our dads are here to help provide us with guidance and show us what love we deserve. Some of us have not had the opportunity to receive that love and that has hindered our relationship with our Heavenly Father. The biggest reason is that we have placed our perspective of what a dad is on Him and He deserves better/more than that. Our Father will never leave us nor forsake us. He is always on our side, by our side, and fighting for us. He is the one who knew us before we were knit in our mother's womb. This Father is the one who is longing and patiently waiting for us to come to Him, return to Him, be with Him. We have to believe and understand that He is the one that will love us far more than anyone could possibly ever love us here on this earth.

Often times, we will look for that love in all the wrong places. We will try to fill that emptiness with earthly things... like relationships, technology, money, success... but we will never feel fulfilled and will always keep searching. None of those things can fill us up the same way that He can. We find ourselves in situations where we are calling out, crying out and we do not hear the answer (that we want), but we also do not listen for the answer (what He wants).

We all were created with a purpose and often times we lose sight of that. When we are young we long to be something bigger and better than we can imagine. All the people around us push and pressure us to be something greater, to reach for the stars, to be whatever we want to be... We look to not disappoint our mom or dad, but what nobody tells us is that we cannot disappoint our Dad if we are listening, waiting, and ready to take the path that He has already mapped out for us. It is not about what we want to become or what we want to reach/hope for. It is and has always been about letting Jesus take the wheel.

When we think about that it is scary, terrifying even, but it is easier to rest in knowing that we do not have control over anything anyway. Why not put our trust or faith in Him. If you were to take a bet on whether or not God was real - If you bet right, then you gain everything in the world. If you bet wrong, you lose nothing because you have nothing more or less than you had before. So, why not bet on Him.

Our earthly dads will fail us, disappoint us, and will at some point in our life leave us. Our Heavenly Father will never fail us, disappoint us, or leave us. He is the one that will always love us no matter what. Even when we go against Him, leave Him, fail Him, disappoint Him... He will still be waiting with open arms ....

My favorite bible story of all times is the story of the Prodigal Son... I just imagine Prodigal Daughter... because at some point in my life I have been that person (and so have you).

At some point you want everything before you have earned it, even when you don't deserve it, but you want it because you don't have it. You ask for it and even when it is given to you, you squander it away. You are left with nothing and you understand at that point, your lowest point, that you were wrong and He was right.... You end up crawling back, expecting to apologize and beg for mercy, but God is mercy. He welcomes you with open arms, throws robes around you and placing priceless rings on your fingers. He throws a party for you and invites everyone around to see that you are home and you are loved.

This blows my mind. I have to frequently remind myself that I am loved, but not as often as I once had to. Even when we don't deserve it (which is always) we are still loved and cared for.

There was a point in my life that I had to recenter my life, my heart, my mind. I had to find my way back to God and it was a long journey filled with messy relationships, a failed marriage, a lot of lost years and lots of darkness and brokenness. But, I did come out on the other side of that mountain and realized that I was worth more, that I deserved more, and that I was loved. It took a long time to piece back together what was once whole, but eventually that did happen.

Now, I have the love of God and He has blessed me with so much. Even after that point I have found myself absorbed in what I want and not focused on what He wants. I have found myself millions of miles away while acting like I had it all together. It only takes a quick glance in the mirror to really see what we need to see - the reality of the situation. I am but a spec in the universe, yet He calls to me, love me, and takes care of me. He sent me an amazing man to help care for me and these amazingly girls to daily remind me how precious life is and how we cannot squander it away.

There are many things in life that I want, but if they do not align with what He wants, they will not happen - or I will force them to happen and it will be a painful, rocky journey. Why force it, when something more fulfilling is ahead and we merely have to have patience and wait on His timing for it?

I can count the tears I have shed over the years because I wanted something so terribly bad and I did not understand why God would allow such pain, hurt, or disappointment in my life. I cried out to Him, blaming Him for all that was going on... But now I can look back on those times with much more wisdom and know that I was blaming the wrong person. I had strayed and placed myself in those positions, I had put myself in harms way and had allowed that pain to strike me. God was with me, holding me and loving me, patiently waiting for me to find my way back to Him.

Like I said before, my dad is an amazing dad. In my adulthood, I have grown to truly love and respect him (which I didn't always do when I was younger). One of the reasons why I love and respect my father so much is because he has always been a source of wisdom for me, a Godly insight. I have leaned on him over the years for the truth that I needed to hear even when I did not want to hear it. My dad has been a beacon, always pointing my in the right direction, toward the right path. I used to hate when he would "preach" at me. I knew when he was disappointed in me. I longed for the day that he would just let me make my own choices and be okay with them because I was an adult and I knew what I wanted out of my life.

What I realize now... my dad had been there. Those mistakes I made, he had made them too. The only thing he was ever trying to do was protect me. Sometimes a little too overprotective, but that was because he loved me.

Now imagine... Imagine something/someone that you love. Now, take away any doubt, mistake, hurt, pain, slight, disappointment, negative thought you have ever had about them/that. That is the pureness of God's love for us. The love that we do not deserve, but are given anyways....

Now, again, I ask you - take a bet.... Is this God of love real? If you bet on Him - what do you have to lose? Ask Him to reveal Himself to you - If He is real... He will!

Obviously He will not appear in front of us, shining, with an angelic choir surrounding Him... But, he might appear to you in a random act of kindness from a stranger just when you need it - or in the sunset that you needed to see while coming down to the runway in an airport - or the apology of a loved one that has been gone for way too long - or in the embrace of a friend who knows you are hurting even when you refuse to let them in - or in a strangers smile.... Who knows how it will happen, but I believe it will. Do you?