My Daddy left us.
He took his things and he sauntered away with a chip on his shoulder and the world in his heart, the lust of the things of this life flowing through his deep red veins.
And he took his things and he slammed the door on a past that he didn't want to bother with, didn't have time for, didn't care about any more.
Slammed the door on his family, on the God he claimed to know.
My Daddy left.
And I still hold on to strong memories from the time that my sisters and I were little girls, little girls who adored their Daddy, their Daddy with the strong, sinewy carpenter arms and the gruff truck-driver voice and the smell of sweat and cigarettes and coffee and cologne that was him.
The donut shop where I would order the chocolate sprinkled donut--the same kind that he ordered--to be like my Daddy.
Working in the yard and watching him labor there in the hot sun, even the strongest heat of the summer--he was a strong man.
But not strong enough.
And he could sweat and grow browner and browner and drink coffee in the sweltering afternoon and it didn't affect him.
My Mama was always physically weak; but she always said that it was her weakness that humbled her and drew her to the Lord . . .
So my Daddy was strong. And he could swing the hammer hard and I loved to work on projects with him and watch him pound the nails in deep and smell the delicious scent of sawdust and the motor of the saw.
And I remember how he used to get up so early in the morning and make his thick, dark coffee and drink more than a cup or two.
And he left for the cheap things in this life--the beer, the women, the glitzy thrills of a quick-night spent and a morning of regret.
He left the things of value.
Sold his inheritance for a bowl of soup and a pocketful of silver.
The bread of life forfeited for a moldy, stale crust that is bitter to the taste.
I loved my Daddy.
I wish that things could've been different, but God gives a choice.
And I speak these things from the hurt of a little girl, but also from the wisdom of the grace of healing and years and tears and surrender.
The Lord gave me grace to experience His loving and continual healing in my life over my father's conscious and deliberate choice.
And that is the mystery of His will to me--
That He could give my Daddy a choice and "empty" me of the blessing of an earthly father who loved me--
And then fill that emptiness with Himself, the Father of my heart, the One who chose me from the foundation of the world--
The One who loved my Daddy, but gave him a choice.
And my Daddy chose the world--over the woman who loved him more deeply than he knew how to love and the three little girls who belonged to him.
Did he forget . . . ? That they belonged to him? That he was given a charge to be their earthly protector, provider, and example of Jesus to them?
Did he forget?
And the things of this world appear so lovely, all-polished and shiny and pleasant to the eye.
But in the end, they bring forth sorrow and death and devastation and hurt.
The hurt cut deep.
And I pray that the pain that I experienced would be a lesson, a warning to other fathers, to other men.
The pleasures of this world are fleeting--
Lay hold of Jesus, and embrace those things in Him that have lasting value.
Be still before your God and turn your eyes away from looking at worthless things.
And see the woman that you covenanted with and the children that she gave you as a beautiful gift, as a charge to keep, a charge committed to your trust.
See the gift as precious; see Him as precious.
So that you don't leave sorrow and pain in your wake, but grace and strength.
The strength of a man who loves his God and whose eyes "look straight ahead," straight ahead to Jesus, to glory, to peace.
The strength of a man who loves his family and his children and who truly wants the best for them.
Learn from the lesson of my father--
And embrace the high calling of the Great Father of our hearts.
Photo credit: ajschroetlin / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0)
Photo credit:shoothead / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)