Last weekend we visited my Aunt in a health care facility and we talked about her father, my grandfather. I have only two memories of him.
He was a dark-haired, blue-eyed German– a man’s man. He hung with men like his sons; four who lived to manhood. Since I was a girl, I naturally felt left out; after all I had a younger brother close to my age.
My first memory at the farm was Grandfather sitting in his chair at the kitchen table. Grandma was at her place at the stove behind him. The first greeting from him as we arrived, was to my brother. He called him and bowed low to scoop him onto his lap.
I’ve talked about my father before, how he was a man of few words, and I have memories of early childhood that were sweeter than the rest. As if by magic the moving from a cramped home we had outgrown, to a larger one made the family eventually fall apart.
We rode the see-saw Dad made from an old ringer washer, the green car he made that ran with a lawn mower engine, and the times he took us sledding on the farm…always on the farm.
It seemed when (we girls) turned into a teenagers it frightened him. How would he talk to us now? With the boys it was easier: they worked together, and they learned what he learned…the man things.
Because that’s the way it was back then…and as I listened to my Aunt, I realized this sad truth. They may have been part of the “Greatest Generation”, and they might have been “real men”, but they left holes in the hearts of girl children.
I’ve heard it said that our formation of ideas of the Father come from our earthly father, and I think it’s possibly so. Grandfather was a stern, distant sort, always on the road and not available for the girls. My own father was not lacking in emotion, but had the hard reserve of the German-Swede.
Four years after the death of my father, I can say that I’m free. That I don’t have to measure up to my Dad’s standard of what is important. Free from the guilt feelings of only getting C in Math.
Bringing home a report card was always met with judgment. I just couldn’t measure up, and he was frustrated that I didn’t get Math like he did. Dad had no idea how to praise anyone for a job that was well done, only judgement when the job was poor.
It’s not my father’s death that makes me feel free. But because of my father, my picture of God was skewed. I saw God as stern and distant; always pointing his finger when I got out of line. Not loving, but a constant judge, ever watching me, and I wondered if I would ever be good enough to live in heaven.
But He taught me. It’s not what the Father says about me…
so I asked…
What do you say about me Father? What do You say that my earthly father did not say?
- You chose me.
- You planned my life before time.
- You accept me the way I am.
- You sent your Son to redeem me.
- You are patient when I’ve gone the wrong way.
- You love me when I am without faith.
- You love me when I forget to trust.
- Your plan for me is best, even if I don’t always believe it.
- You gave me the choice to believe.
- You love with an everlasting love.
I have great value in the Father’s eyes. I’m a child of the King, a Princess far from her homeland.
I don’t regret my earthly father, he taught me many things that are of value. As he grew older, he softened and learned how to show love. We knew he loved us, worked hard all his life for us, and wanted what was best for us.
God is not distant because he lives in heaven. He let his own son leave heaven and die a hideous death for mankind who wouldn’t accept him. When it was finished and Christ rose, he left the Comforter with us.
Do we have any idea how many birds abound in one season? Do we know how many of us live on this earth…made in His image?
Who can put value on the Father’s love? It is inexhaustible, enduring, timeless…
“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns,
and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”
Matthew 6:26 NIV