I have been making myself too busy lately to stop and write, to stop and think. I think I’ve almost been avoiding coming here because I know there are some things I need to jot down, a story I need to tell, and a real-life issue I need to walk through.
So here I am.
I called my dad on Thanksgiving day morning. It’s the first time I’ve out of the blue called him since November 1, 2006, the day I left a message on his voice mail telling him I have decided to forgive him. The call went good; mainly just some chit chat, but maybe that’s what I’m needing from a parent figure instead of something deep right now. I suppose we can deal with the broken relationship later, or maybe talking has a way of doing that naturally. I don’t really know, I guess. More on that in a bit, with the other thing I want to write about.
I had asked for prayer for this conversation, and went into it and through it knowing some good friends had my back. Oh that is good to know. Friends here locally, and friends across the USA.
As we were talking, and getting near the end, I suppose, my Father stopped me dead in my tracks with a word from my dad. We were talking about church and what I’m doing there, he asked me if I was still a deacon, like I was when he left. I told him no, I’m helping lead our Sunday School ministry now, and it’s a much better fit. “Do you do a lot of teaching, then?” he asked. No not really. Well yes, but not consistently with the same group of people.
“Oh, ok,” he says, “because I think you would do a great job teaching teens.”
What the hell!???!?!?!??!?
Hope that language is not too offensive, but it was my gut reaction at that moment. Where did THAT come from? How does he know that’s such a big thing on my heart right now? And not only that, this is affirmation coming from a man of whom I remember most belittling comments, guilt-driving speach, and a hard, obstinate heart.
I don’t think he had any idea how what he’s just said pricked my heart, my very soul. The conversation ended shortly after that, and I talked to my wife a little bit about it. Where did he come up with that? Is he reading my blog? Is he talking with someone about me (who that would be a certainly haven’t a clue)?
Or was that my big F Father talking at that moment? I think it had to be. The Bible tells me time and time again that God uses people (even animals) unknowningly to communicate His message. But what would God be trying to tell me through this?
Perhaps it was a word of strength, an affirmation that I was walking the right path by making the decision to make that call. Perhaps it was a sign that my dad does have some sense left in him, and that forgiveness means admitting that, even when you still don’t have an explanation as to the big “why?” question your heart has been asking for years. Perhaps it was just… just… just me?
God, thank you for that moment. Your name is wonderful counselor, prince of peace, almighty God. You teach me things through the strangest circumstances, you awaken my soul in the darkest of nights, you restore me in the wildest of ways. Take this dialog I had with my earthly father, the man you put here to raise me, and use it somehow. Use it me to learn more about forgiveness, patience, and love. Use it in him to learn more about being forgiven, accepting reality, and being used by you.
So that’s that. I needed to recap that call, to take a few minutes to regroup, to think it through, and to really let it sink in. I found myself denying the message because of the messenger, but getting past that is so freeing.
Father, I love you. I need you. Take me, lead me, let me chase you.