Tuesday, April 13, 2010

My Father's Daughter

My life is a tale of two fathers. One man gave me life. The other showed me how to live. One man was there at my birth. The other present at the birth of my children. Both men are my Father. Yet one has chosen to be absent from my life since I was 12 years old. The other stepped in to fill empty shoes.

My mother married the man I call my Father when I was in sixth grade. For years, it had been the three of us, my mother, my brother, and me. So, when my mom announced she was getting married, I was happy for her, and nervous for me. After being abandoned by one father, I wasn't sure I really needed a new one. With one foot firmly rooted in childhood and the other stepping into the uncertainties of junior high, God was wise to bring me my Dad.

They say that the relationship between a father and his children plows the way for how they will one day see God. In my life I definitely find that holds true. Cruel and abusive, my birth father caused me to look at all other men with fear. Even though I longed to be "daddy's girl", his very presence filled me with anxiety. To further complicate matters, my dad left me and my brother when we were quite young. One dark night, during a fit of rage, my dad spewed dreadful words that damaged my fragile spirit for years. It was the last time I saw him. Consequently, I was suspicious of God's love from the start. Rather than viewing God as a caring father, I believed Him to be an angry tyrant, ready to punish me at any moment for any small offense, real or perceived. Insecure and broken, I hid within myself for years.

My "stepfather" on the other hand is gentle and quiet. A private man, Dad is not overly demonstrative and he keeps his feelings to himself much of the time. While the rest of my family is animated and passionate, my Dad is quiet and reserved. My rejected and oversensitive heart often misread his intentions as I was growing to know him. Having been mistreated by my biological father for many years, I suppose I was overly suspicious of this new man with whom my mother now shared her life. Our transition wasn't easy for either of us at first. Still, over the years I have come to respect and appreciate the man who chose to be my Dad when my natural father walked away. The world refers to him as my "stepfather". To me, he is the father placed in my life by the loving hands of God.

He is my mother's faithful husband, my children's grandpa and my Dad in every way that matters. Ironically, my brother and I even look like we are His natural children. I have no doubt that God looked to and fro and then assigned him to be our father.

Patient and calm, my Dad is a good teacher. Over the years, he taught me how to drive. How to change a tire. And how to close the back door. After all, we didn't live in a barn! But the greatest lesson he has taught me in life is how to trust again. While he didn't have to be my dad, he chose to be a father, and claimed me as his own. As I grew, I was proudly recognized as his daughter.

It is a beautiful parrallel of my standing with my Heavenly Father. Grafted into God's family through the blood of Christ, I am precious in His sight. He could have left me in my sin, but instead He came for me. Despite my failures and shortcomings, God claims me as His own. Nothing can snatch me from His loving grasp. God looks upon me with favor and intercedes in my life. His loving eyes are always upon me, nothing happens to me without first being filterd through his sacrifical love. And, unlike some, God will never leave me nor forsake me.(Deuteronomy 31;8 NIV)

I am his beloved child, "an adopted heir in Christ." (Galatians 3:29 NIV) And he works daily to teach me how to be me more like Him. God longs to help me become more loving. More patient. More kind. He wants me to look and act like Him. In this life, I am called to be my Father's daughter.

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