Friday, October 23, 2009

From a Father to His Daughter

by Kathy Lay

This Week's Verse:
James 1:17-18, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.”(NIV)

God often uses our children to reveal Himself to us. Tuesday night He used them to show me how closely our parenthood journey mirrors His role as our Heavenly Father.

The evening was jam-packed and it began in a panic. One of my children was missing! Grandma was to pick up all three kids at school so they’d have time to grab a snack and change before heading to Terre Haute for the girls’ basketball game. After waiting until the parking lot cleared and even checking in with his teacher, it was concluded that Skylar had forgotten the arrangement and rode the bus home out of habit. So Grandma then drove out to the boonies where we live to wait for him. The bus didn’t stop. No Skylar. And he hadn’t gotten off the bus at her house either.

We later learned that he’d been playing with a buddy out on the playground the whole time, completely oblivious to the fact that his family was worried and that the pick-up location is in front of the school! Whew! He told me he’d thought it was weird Grandma was taking so long. Mmm hmm…

Later at the basketball game both girls played their hearts out. Awesome defense, sweet shots, working as a team—it was so much fun to watch. I considered how they’d improved and realized how much work and practice it had taken to get them to this point. Practicing when they didn’t want to, hearing the same advice over and over, opening themselves up to heeding it, and putting it into practice. Yet Coach Dad hadn't given up on them and his faithfulness coupled with their obedience and diligence is really starting to pay off.

We had to leave at half-time in order to make it back to Marshall in time for the kids’ piano recital. All of them were nervous and worried about messing up. My prayer was that even if they did, they’d recover gracefully and keep going. And that is exactly what happened. Each of them did a tremendous job not because they were perfect, but because they persevered and did their best. Shane and I beamed with pride.

Then the family, including two grandmas and one grandpa, celebrated at Pizza Hut. Good food and fellowship were a perfect capstone to a nerve-wracking-at-times, but fulfilling evening.

It was later in the quiet—after the crazy-busy whirlwind wound down—that the events of the evening replayed in mind. God painted vivid parallels and whispered sweet reminders into my heart about His love for not only these kids, but all of His children, including you and me. From the perspective of a Heavenly Parent, He showed me how the range of emotions I’d experienced all evening were a glimpse of what He feels about us, His children.

When we’re lost, He’s not content until we’re found. (Luke 15:6, “…Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.'”—NIV)

He’s given us skills and talents He expects us to develop and use. He disciplines and trains us so we continue to improve and grow, and He cheers us on along the way. (Hebrews 12:9, “Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn’t we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live forever?”—NLT)

He knows we have fears about not being perfect or falling short, but He applauds and claps when he sees us stepping out in faith and trying our best. He already knows we’re not perfect and His strength is made perfect in our weaknesses. (Isaiah 41:13, “For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you”—NIV)

And the fitting capstone: we will celebrate. He’s prepared a feast unlike anything we can hope or imagine that will last throughout eternity. (Revelation 19:9, “And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb.” And he added, “These are true words that come from God.”—NLT)

Lord, as our Heavenly Father, You love us too much to leave us lost. And when we're found You tenderly grow us into how You intend us to be, protecting and equipping us along the way. And when You return, what a glorious celebration we'll share. How we praise You for that!

In what ways has God revealed Himself to you through your parent/child relationships? Even if your situation is somewhat dysfunctional (whose isn't?!), tuck the truth into your heart that your Father God loves you too much to leave you lost, too much to let your growth be stunted, and too much to let you face fears alone. Look forward to the eternal celebration you'll share with Him.

Power Verses:
Zephaniah 3:17, "The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing." (NIV)
Proverbs 24-25, “The father of godly children has cause for joy. What a pleasure to have children who are wise. So give your father and mother joy! May she who gave you birth be happy.”(NLT)
Song of Solomon 2:4, “He escorts me to the banquet hall; it’s obvious how much he loves me.”(NLT)


Melissa Milbourn said...

ahhh...that's a good word Kathy Lay

Anonymous said...

I love this devo! Thanks for sharing it with us. I love that you highlighted the positive! We all need to do that more. Isn't if wonderful how at the end of a frazzled day, God delivers us His peace and reflection!

Cool Stuff!