April 21, 2010
Embraced by the Father
"How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him." 1 John 3:1 (NIV)
Her smile lit up the room when her daddy entered. Her rosebud lips spread into a wide beam of a smile. Her silky black hair leapt about her face as she bounced excitedly on the balls of her feet. She looked like Snow White after a large cup of espresso. The man started the music and began to walk toward her. He stopped and opened wide his muscular arms—the familiar invitation to dance. She raced to him and perched herself atop his feet. They began two-stepping to their special song, "My Personal Penguin." The princess was dancing with her Prince Charming—her daddy.
Bittersweet joy washed over me like a warm spring rain as I witnessed this scene between my son and granddaughter. Happiness for my granddaughter flowed into my heart, but there was also a tinge of sadness. I regretted never having experienced the same type of father-daughter relationship with my earthly dad.
My own father resembled the character of Rhett Butler from Gone with the Wind. He was suave, handsome, and self-assured, but a rogue. I traveled through my childhood and adolescence wishing for a Rhett Butler type of man to whisk me off my feet. I desired a rogue to embrace me with a wild and untamed love. Because of my "father image," I actually desired imperfect love from people. A flawed love would hurt, but it still appealed to my broken heart. I believed falsely that love could only be achieved through volatile sparks of emotion, fueled by the uncertainty of the love.
Of course, it was all a misguided representation of a girl's broken heart. But now, I have learned to know a perfect love—the love of my heavenly Father. Only He has been able to fill my heart with a perfect love. The night I accepted His love, He began to reveal to me the character of a faultless Father. As the Father embraced me, my idea of errant love slid into oblivion. I learned the true meaning of love as I gained knowledge of God. He taught me His characteristics and personality through the diversity of His names, but my favorite will always be Father—Abba—my Daddy.
Do you know Abba—the heavenly Father? He is waiting for you with His arms wide open. Come and be embraced by the Father.
Dear Lord, thank You for revealing the true love of a Father to my broken heart. Help me learn to live out my life in Your perfect and holy love. Remind me that You love me just as I am—flaws and all. Thank You for Your love. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Embraced by the Father: Finding Grace in the Name of God by Susanne Scheppmann
Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God by Francis Chan
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Read Zephaniah 3:17. Write down the activities that sound like a father loving his daughter. Imagine yourself sitting on the Father's lap and allowing Him to sing over you.
What is my mental image of a father?
Do I believe that God loves me as a perfect father would? Why or why not?
What hinders me from accepting God's unconditional love?
1 John 1:2-4, "The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete." (NIV)
Galatians 4:6, "And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, ‘Abba, Father.'" (NLT)
© 2010 by Susanne Scheppmann. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Wednesday, 21 April 2010.