I first posted this on an old blog back in April 2007. Wow… 4 years have gone by. Someone somehow commented on it today and I re-read it. Seemed somewhat appropriate for this weekend being Father’s day. It also reminds me of how far things have come as I lok to God as my True Father.
Father Figures – April 2007 – From my old blog.
It’s been 17 months since my dad walked out of my life, face set in determination to do what he thought he had to do. Walk out on his wife. Abandon his friendships. Disregard the things he pretended to teach.
It’s been 5 months since I forgave him.
It’s been 10 months since I became a father myself.
The reason I write those things down, the reason… I’m not real sure. (I did have to add up the first two numbers, they weren’t that fresh in my head) I wanted to write something about father figures, and those three events have been some pretty eventful ones in the past few years of my physical life.
During the past year – maybe it’s been since forgiving my dad, I don’t know – I’ve seen myself really – for the first time in my life, I think – really beginning to grasp what a father is. As my own dad left, I started to look at my relationship with God, to see how His love for me might be similar or radically different than the father-son relationships we experience here on earth. What a difference I have found!
I used to occasionally do little “projects” with my dad. They rarely seemed to be a team thing – they were more of just a task, more of just something we both did at the same time, than something we did together. Who would have thought that I could have a more personal relationship with an invisible God than a physical father… I can’t figure out how to explain this, so I’m just going to write out two stories from the past year that I remember vividly.
Sometime during this past winter, as we had our barn built and were beginning to get things ready for electricity, I had just one thing left to do – get the electrical cable that had been trenched 300′ out to the barn pulled up through a 6′ pipe into the meter base so that the electric company could hook it up. Mind you, this cable is about 2″ around, and the pipe is about 3″ around. The cable isn’t very flexible, and I had about 6′ extra of it. It’s freezing cold, muddy, and I’m out there trying to dig in the dark, even get it started into the pipe, and I finally get it. I’m not even sure if this idea I have is going to work, but I decide to start shoving it through. I finally see the end of the cable coming out the end of the pipe, which means I only have about 6′ more to pull, but there’s a big corner it’s going to have to turn so it is not going to be easy. That was one of the most straining physical things I have ever done. Pulling, yanking, shivering, falling… and then it was done. What happened there was not natural. Not the pulling and yanking part – I’m guessing my muscles had the ability to do it… but what was not natural was that I stuck with it. I didn’t give up. I thought over and over again before and during the event that I could just give up and pay someone else to do it… but I didn’t quit. When I finally finished, I think I finally realized that it was God who had been with me that whole time – encouraging my heart, somehow – to get the task done. As I sat resting on a pile of dry dirt, the only thing I remember saying out loud was that “we did it, dad.” Dad. I called my God, my dad.
The other story happened just last Saturday. We were home unexpectedly from a trip we were supposed to take to visit family out of state. I needed to get my horses moved over to my house / pasturees from the neighbors, and I’d been nervously fretting about it – wondering if my fence would hold them, wondering if I had things set up right. And once again, when I finally stood up, did the task, and got it done, I felt that sense of accomplishing something that I couldn’t have done on my own. I’m standing there in the barn, watching my horses eat hay in their stalls, and out comes another verbal “we did it!”
Only this time, it was followed with a verbal “what did you say?” I think I must have turned red in the face as I realized my wife had just walked in the barn door to see how things were coming. Oh how I wish I could express to her the feeling I was experiencing… I think I managed to say something silly sounding like “oh I was just talking with God” or something like that, but oh how I wish I could have better expressed the joy I was feeling. The sense of belonging, of being loved, and of accomplishment – but not out of my own strength.
Anyways, I wanted to write that story down, and the electrical one was good to re-expereience as well. They may sound silly to anyone who might read this, but to me, they are some of the most personal experiences with God I have ever had.
I also wanted to write something about other “father” figures who’ve come into my life since my dad walked out. You know who you are, and I thank you. You’ve helped me when I’ve been weak, you’ve listened to me when I’ve been torn apart by who I am, you’ve helped me let God raise me back up. I thank you. With my whole heart. With my whole being. With everything I am now and will ever be. You are a part of that. A huge part of that.
It is totally new for me to know God as my not just my Heavenly Father, but as my honest-to-god DAD. He’s adopted me, loved me, raised me, helped me, and never failed me. Regardless of the times I’ve walked away from him, he has never left me or forsaken me. He has always forgiven me, disciplined me, discipled me, and been thee when no one else was, even if I didn’t acknowledge his presence.
This is the same Father that I want my son to know. I want him to see Him in me. I want him to see how much I love Him and in turn love Him as well. I’m sure I’ll give him chances to see that I fail, that I fall, and than I sin. But I want him to see that his Heavenly Father will never do that. And then, sometime years from now, I want to be able to turn the young man over to his true father, to release my hold on him and give him back to the father who can love him more than I could ever dream.
Well that’s it…. I’m out of words. I sit here amazed all over again of where God has brought me from, and to.