Blind-sided…hit out of no where. Hit and laid flat.
Yesterday morning dawned and I was feeling chipper, alive, rested, good. I applied myself to doing things that needed getting done, not the least of which was finishing up the house cleaning.
Having made headway on that, I sat down at the laptop to work through a lesson online. I have committed to learning “CSS,” to develop my ability as a website designer. A highly recommended book took me to Amazon.com where, after ordering the book for learning CSS, I saw “Recommended for You” and clicked somewhat mindlessly (distracted, really) on an image of a book. The book image is enlarged on the left…The title is Longing for Daddy: Healing from the Pain of an Absent or Emotionally Distant Father.
Looking at the image cover, pondering the title…and a part of my heart that had been walled off from feeling began to crack…the dike burst. I was hit by a wave of overwhelming sorrow. Yes, I was blind-sided. Absolutely hit out of nowhere! The image on the cover of someone waiting, clearly lonely…and lingering quietly for “Daddy,” — it all resonated with me.
I wish I could say that all of the things I have been learning lately and posting about here at the blog were applied with eagerness in that moment and that the thoughts that came to me were taken captive and surrendered to Christ. I wish I could tell you I was victorious and that I lived out the greater truth than the one that broad-sided me (that of having an emotionally distant father who is now deceased). But nope…I was run over, flattened, wiped out.
In that moment (and all of yesterday, really) the fact that “I am 100% accepted by and acceptable to the God of this universe” sure didn’t seem to matter much. All I knew was the pain of never measuring up to my earthly father’s standards…I wasn’t good enough…I wasn’t pretty enough, thin enough, talented enough…and now he is gone. It is too late.
How did I handle it? By running.
Deep called to deep, but I wasn’t answering. Like Jonah, I hit the road. I had already felt swallowed alive by a bottomless, overwhelming emptiness.
Surely, God wanted me to “be still and know.” To know HIS sufficiency, HIS truth, HIS love. But he also wanted me to sit with the pain I was feeling. To rest in it, to give it a voice, to invite Him into it.
I would have none of it.
So what did I do? I reverted to old behaviors.
I plunged myself into computer work.
After my nap, I woke up with fat machinery in full throttle and ate some more.
All the while I knew that God–my Heavenly Abba–called. I didn’t answer the phone…I turned a deaf ear. I turned my back. I rejected His plan for this pain.
It is interesting…what happened didn’t surprise God at all. He knew that I would face that link at Amazon.com yesterday morning. He knew…no, he orchestrated it…for my good. Not for my undoing. The undoing part happened when, in my arrogance, I rejected his loving, healing hand.
He has a plan and a purpose for our pain. I know this. In fact, sometimes godly vision comes through pain.
What he wanted was my healing, but all I could think of was how painful the process is. I just couldn’t stand that…well, I am sure I could have. When I put my hand in his and allow him to lead me, choosing to trust him…he makes it possible in His strength–through the pain.
So this morning when my husband left for an early flight to Colorado at 4am and I couldn’t get back to sleep, I knew it was time to answer the call I ignored all day yesterday. I made my way to the living room where a fire glowed a welcome invitation to this place, this time, this divine purpose. Journal and bible in hand, I made my way to the couch and poured out my heart to God over this. I wanted to get angry, wanted to blame–which is a convenient way of steering away from the pain and going down a rabbit trail. I angrily asked God how he could possibly have allowed someone like my earthly father to be a father. He reminded me that this isn’t about whose fault it was. It was about my woundedness. My silent hunger…all the things I have been reading about and learning and more. Somehow, I had insulated myself against the “Dad stuff” until that moment at Amazon.com.
I have never been able to relate to God has Father. It has been almost impossible for me. At times, I get close to maybe being able to call him that…but typically, no. It stands to reason that He would want me to deal with this as it hinders my relating to him in all the ways that he wants me to relate to him.
After crying out in prayer, wiping the tears and throwing my kleenex in the wood-burning stove, I decided to look at what Jesus says to me about the Father in my bible. I turned to the gospel of John and invited Abba to show me Himself as my Heavenly Father.
The portrait that emerged even in the first 11 chapters of the gospel of John warmed my heart. Again, a greater Truth to counter my truth. I have generated a list of things that describe the Father according to Jesus and will continue this study through the rest of the gospel of John and possibly other books of the bible as well.
The thing that has struck me is the tenderness that emerges in this list. There is tenderness, strength, and reliability. I was touched to see that the Father seeks us–seeks me. The Father wants me to belong to Him for eternity. The Father has given me as a gift to Jesus… Gosh…who gives gifts that they don’t value?
The list is amazing and definitely softens my heart to God as my Heavenly Father. I know that this is only the beginning.
When I put this together with the truths of the past couple of months, it really is something that sets me up as if on a mountain top high over any deluge of a bursting levee. I mean, this God, this Father, this One who is working even now, who gives the dead life, who judges no one but who has entrusted judgment to Jesus, this one who give the true bread from heaven, who offers praise to people (imagine that!…just look at John 5:45)…this is the one who accepts me 100% and finds me 100% acceptable.
It is astonishing. I am glad for a new day, new mercies…tender mercies.
Somehow, the feeling of needing to run, to numb out doesn’t seem so great today. I can honestly say that the heartache was compounded yesterday by running from my Heavenly Father instead of sitting at His feet. The pain that I felt in his presence was worth the joy of having him reveal himself to me. I can’t begin to pretend that its over and we are ready to move on from this, but I am optimistic…and willing to relate to God as my Father. That is HUGE.