April Motl is a pastor’s wife who loves to laugh, loves her man, loves to talk on the phone entirely too long and most of all, loves her Lord. Collaborating with the efforts of her husband Eric, the two of them share a ministry dedicated to bringing God’s Word into the everyday lives of married couples, men and women. April has been privileged through her own church and ministry outside her local body to share God's Word with women ranging in ages and stages, across denominations, and walks of life. April is a graduate from Southern California Seminary and has written for Just Between Us Magazine, Dayspring's (In)courage, and The Secret Place and also writes regularly for crosswalk.com, iBelieve.com and Women's Ministry Tools. For more information, visit Motl Ministries at: www.MotlMinistries.com
(Today's post is from the Walls Down Wednesday series & Mary DeMuth's newest book: The Wall Around Your Heart: How Jesus Heals You When Others Hurt You.)
Four little words. Three thoughts to continue us on our journey toward healing. Our. Father. In Heaven.
The Lord’s prayer unfolds from lips for the first time, with three all-important words.
The Lord is ours. In the context of community, when we remember God is not on “my side” or “your side” like some military ally. He is our Father. We are in this together, even if our relational hurts make us feel we aren’t. This small but valuable perspective change is crucial to moving forward out of festering wounds.
God is our Father. All of us together. When we realize that He loves every single person on this earth with enormous affection, we see how small our love is, and we begin to understand that we’re more like God when we’re forgiving those who sinned against us. We’re more like Him when we gather community to ourselves rather than shun it.
Of all the having-a-relationship-with-God concepts, seeing the Lord as Father is one that often stirs up intense emotions. I’ve known women who felt it was almost adding salt to their wounds for God to invite us to call Him “Father” because they’d been hurt so badly by their earthly fathers. For, me whenever my earthly Dad fell short, somehow it was more “ok” than other relationships because I knew God was my father and more than filled whatever holes were left. I can also say that after many decades of hurts between us, my Dad and I have the best relationship today than ever before (Thank You, Lord!). When we look to the Lord to be our Father and fill whatever relationship need or hole first and foremost, I think it makes room in our wounds for healing. Focusing our vision on our Father will always correct the direction of our course.
He gave us an example to follow and taught we aren’t children by chance. The God of the universe, who spun worlds into existence, chose us, adopted us. We’ve been reconciled to a right relationship with our Father through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, a task He struggled with: “He said, ‘Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will’” (Mark 14:36 esv). Because of His gritty obedience, His beautiful relationship to the Father, we have the privilege of calling God Daddy.
In a book whose premise sits on the experience of finding the greatest relationship hurts healed in the midst of relationship, our relationship with our earthly fathers, is one of those places that is easy to trip up on. Mary writes: Satan wants nothing more than for us to run from God’s goodness because of someone else’s bad behavior. So true.
I’ve lost count how many times I’ve seen people walk away from church and a relationship with God (by their own confession, not my judgement) because someone hurt them. We cannot ever allow one person’s relationship with God define ours. It’s too precious for that.
Mary writes so beautifully:
And someday, in light of heaven, our difficult relationships will be made whole and right. Heaven is expansive, which reminds us of the expansiveness of God. He is bigger than the discord we bring to Him. He is more immense than all the relational difficulties of every person in the world combined. Because He is in heaven, He rules over all. This kingship reminds us of His kingdom, and as we pray, we pray for His kingdom. We live in the great tension of earth and heaven, the now and the not yet, the familiar and the far away. God’s nearness and His otherness become a beautiful dichotomy. He is near, yet revered. Heaven reminds us that we taste and glimpse peace now, but that someday we’ll fully experience it. The lion and the lamb will hang out together. That enemy we battle has the heavenly potential to become an ally.
Don’t we need that reminder that this dusty place with our limited view isn’t the sum total, isn’t the finish line, isn’t all there is? There’s not more I can comment on that quote, except to say, Amen!
May the Lord draw you into wholeness and healing. I hope you’ll get this hot-off-the-press new book from Mary DeMuth--The Wall Around Your Heart: How Jesus Heals You When Others Hurt You.
Our winner from last week’s give-away is jcbutler623