A Collection of Simple Joys

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cherished daughter -he is mine-4By Anonymous

[Trigger warning: Mention of abuse]

My dad was put in boarding school when he was 10. His father was cold and demanding, because his grandpa was a very sad man who had fought in World War II and his trauma went uncared for. The legacy of violence, the pattern of conflict, the hand-me-down curse of distant fathers. My dad is a man who struggles to love and be loved. So, he hit me.

I don’t write those words with anger, I write them with tears for my dad. Grief over his damaged life. He has Jesus, but he also has his pain, and the first has not yet been allowed to reach the second.

I also have Jesus. Letting him in on my own pain is a continual journey—an adventure lit by galaxies, northern lights swirling over this road called redemption. My own journey has been so beautiful that typing it fails. My arms are full of babies and my lips are kissed by a righteous man and I am a good mother. Those words are my miracle, my testimony, my battle cry.

Despite it all, I am a good mother.

Yet still, there is a problem. I’ve spend decades with my arms flung high, nights on my face in front of Him, days plugged into God songs on shuffle, dancing to the bus stop singing, prayer movements and mission trips and too many journals to keep.

Despite the richness of this love story with my God, he wasn’t my daddy. To understand that God identifies as a male (and female, obviously) parent was something that my heart shied away from with a big fat NOPE.

Father. King. Sovereign. Abba. Papa.

These words and concepts were taught to me. Sometimes the rockslide shifted a little, sometimes a word or breath had me sobbing the tears that my five-year-old calls “Happy God crying.” Frustratingly, though, these moments have been momentary and a wound that took years to form, apparently needed years to heal.

The righteous man I mentioned—the one with the kisses? He’s not a saint. Both of us are prone to all the sins. This is not a post in worship of my husband. That would be silly. However he is accidentally showing me something I have never seen before. He’s unwittingly being used as doctor. He’s demonstrating to me every day that a daddy can be a good thing to have.

A collection of simple joys—the way my daughter looks into his eyes as he paints her nails, the way he inhales our three-year-old son’s head because he still kinda smells like a baby, the way he feeds them vegetables, the way he smuggles them cake when I’m not looking. The way he bends himself to fit into soft play, to fit around them in bed, to fit into the routine that they need. To fit into their hearts.

The bigger things, the harder things, become the things where I see God through a foggy mirror—the way he never says a no he doesn’t mean. The way he goes to work when he’s sick, to pay for her birthday party. The way he goes to counseling so he can be happier, the way he shelves his pride in favour of healing. The way he plans our days around them. The way he passionately cares about their cares, the way soft toys are real in our house, the way he serves them every day.

Every day this little girl who had a violent dad, watches wide-eyed as this daddy cherishes his children above himself. As he makes himself softer, gentler when they need tenderness. The way he will challenge them and empower them to thrive. The way he orbits them, the way he loves them both uniquely. All these things are in my home, because God is in my home. These things are possible because God is a good Father.

This woman starts to breathe differently, starts to see better. It’s good to have a daddy. I think God wants me to know that He is mine.

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