One of my favorite sounds in the world (even when my TMJ flares is hearing our girls and their excitement when they see Chris and call him Daddy. Dads are very important. The role they play in the lives of their children has been proven repeatedly in studies. In truth I don't need a study to tell me this because I see it in my own life. I had my dad for five short years. But those five years shaped me and what I thought a husband and dad should be. Seeing Chris with our girls and knowing these things always makes my heart full and it also makes me long for my dad.
1. My girls have no clue what it is like to not have Chris around. There is no mourning for the what could have beens if he wasn't gone or wondering if he is proud of them. They know because he has made it a priority to be sure they know he loves them.
2. I love knowing that he is there for them even when I can't be. He is an amazing dad. It has helped heal some of the pain I feel seeing him with them.
There is another father we can count on as well. God. But what if you didn't have a dad growing up? Or what if your example of a dad was not a good example. There are some really awful dads out there. That's just wrong, but it is a reality in our world that is filled with sin and free will.
Sometimes, I think we focus on explaining that God is our father more than the fact that he wants a relationship with us. And Jesus came to be the bridge. God was the law maker as our Father, and Paul even says that the law is death. But Christ stands in the gap. He is like our older big brother who says, "Wait a minute Dad, I already paid the price for that remember? It's forgiven." God sent Jesus so he could understand our humanity more and so that we could see Grace on earth for a short time as Jesus His One and Only Son. God does not want to be all about rules. He realized that no one could follow the law and not mess up and that the act of continually sacrificing animals became a routine without the heart behind the act of requesting his forgiveness. But when we truly and thoroughly begin to realize that there was ONE major sacrifice, a sacrifice that no animal or another human being could possibly make on their own because we are humans are imperfect, the weight of that and what it truly means makes our act of asking forgiveness of our sins even more humbling. Realizing we could NEVER possibly earn God's love by acts of goodness alone. We as humans will never, ever be righteous enough on our own to deserve or earn the gift Jesus and God gave us. Which brings me to a new question.
What is sin? Off the top of my head or many people's heads, I'm sure we think of thieves, murderers, serial killers, or child abusers. But sin is more than that. Sin is the willful disobedience of God. Sin is when we hold a grudge, or tell a white lie, when we take office supplies, or when we cheat on our time card. These seem like such small examples, but they are still sin. That's why in Romans we see it written,
"As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one;"
(Romans 3:10 NIV
that means even those who you see going to church, we are not without sin either. The church is for sinners and we are ALL sinners, including Christians, even me.
In early June I was burned when I used too much lighter fluid and foolishly closed our grill lid. The flames had no place to go but out the side door straight at me. If it sounds like it hurt, I can assure you it did. In the car on our way to the Emergency Room, I was crying, "Oh God". That may seem small to many, but to me that is the name.of my God and my King. It is a very big deal. At that point, I was in so much agony that even now I am unsure if I was calling out to Him for help or if I was taking his name in vain. It bothered me. . .A LOT. So I prayed and asked him to forgive me. I would rather ask forgiveness and be certain, because I know God knew my heart and state of mind, but I was so blinded and confused by the pain, I couldn't tell.
I am not sharing this to show you I am better than you. On the contrary I hope you see that even though I grew up in the church, even I still sin and have to seek forgiveness.
Even as you read this if you are thinking But God could never forgive me, this woman has no idea what I have done. Let me assure you, God knows. He has always known. And yet he loves you even now and wants to welcome you into his arms. He deeply wants a relationship with you. And you can find him if you seek him with all of your heart.
If you read this and want to ask Him into your heart it is as simple as this prayer.
I am so sorry for everything I have done. I want you in my life and to be the King of my heart and life. Please come into my heart and forgive me of my sins.
Some of you may feel the need to confess your sins out loud. You can alone, just you and God or find a Christian or friend who is a Christian and confess with them and pray more if you are led by God to do so.
So which is God? The man who made rules or the one who wants a relationship with us? He's both.
If you have prayed that prayer, Welcome to the Family!!