walking in grace

Don’t Forget to Call Your Dad!

(I don’t make a habit of reposting here on my blog. But because Father’s Day is just around the corner, I think it may be an appropriate time to share this story again.)


I sat on my well-worn twin size mattress with a notebook resting on my crisscrossed legs. I can’t recall the subject matter scribbled on those pages. That isn’t important. The lesson awaiting me wasn’t on the syllabus of any professor at Louisiana College, that small community of teachers and learners nestled in the sweet pines of Louisiana.

My roommate was the unknowing instructor that day.

Patti Jo popped into our cramped dorm room with her effervescent love for life that was always on full display. Throwing her books on her bed, she plopped herself upon our room length desk. Finding the phone — yes, the black one attached to the wall — she picked up the handset and dialed the number.

“Hey, Daddy!”

PJ just sat there chatting with her dad about nothing in particular.

I sat in awe. Awe that soon turned into an ache I couldn’t shake.

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If I had been taking notes that afternoon my outline would have looked something like this:

Patti Jo Called Her Dad

A. PJ called her dad to talk.

  1. She didn’t need anything from her dad.
  2. She wasn’t returning his call.
  3. She simply wanted to talk to him.

B. PJ knew how to contact her daddy.

  1. She didn’t have to look up a number.
  2. She had stored his contact information in her mind and her heart.
  3. She called her dad — assuming he would answer.

C. PJ’s dad answered her call.

  1. She didn’t have to wait for her dad to call her back.
  2. He made time for their midday conversation about nothing.
  3. He delighted in her as much as she delighted in him.

Those were my take-aways. Concepts I would struggle with for years, though I’d replay them over and over, trying to figure out just how things went wrong for me.

And as an unintentional learner that day in the fall of 1983, I ached. My young heart longed for a relationship with my father that matched this newly sketched outline in my mind. A connection born of mutual love and trust and delight. However, it was a yearning that would never be satisfied by the man I called Daddy.

Many years later that perfectly demonstrated lesson in love found its way to a safe place in my heart. In that precious moment (and many others like it) Patti Jo and her father had painted the most beautiful, real-life portrait of prayer I had ever seen. A flesh and bone depiction of the relationship God longs to have with me.

Yes. God, my heavenly Father, wants to hear about the big things and the little things in my life. The ideas and dreams and worries that take up room in my heart and mind.

I can call out to Him anytime. While I might make morning or night-time my planned times of prayer, I can call Him midday to talk about nothing. I can call Him knowing He is there and that He is happy to hear from me. That He delights in talking to me.

Are there times my heaveny Father may need to speak into my life? Redirect me? Ask hard things of me? Require me to give up good things in my life for better things He has planned?

Absolutely!

But none of those things negates or predicates His love for me. God’s love is oh, so much greater than that.

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 1

EPHESIANS 3:17-18

God loves you and me. He loves us because He is love. And for those of us who have chosen to follow Jesus, God’s love for us is not tainted nor lessened by the things that cause us to struggle. We can approach Him with the knowledge of His deep love for us.

We can be in the presence of our Heavenly Father — delighted and delighted in.

Oh, I hope your story looks more like that of PJ’s than mine. I hope you have experienced a great love with your father of flesh and bone. I hope you have danced and loved and laughed together. I hope he said, “I love you!” more times than you can remember.

But if not, you have a Father in heaven who loves you better than any earthly father dared. It’s not just a lame phrase I’m trying to pass on to you to soothe your broken heart on this Father’s Day Weekend. God adores you. Call upon Him. Call your heavenly Father right now. Maybe midday. To talk about nothing. He would be delighted to hear from you.

Let the;m praise the LORD for His great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them.

PSALM 107:15

Father, your love is deeper and longer and wider than my mind can comprehend. But Father, somehow my heart knows. You meet me in the middle of my messes and in the waves of my pure delight. You are constant.Thank you for loving me to wholeness when this broken world brought fear and shame. To know you delight in me fills my heart and my cup to overflowing. AMEN.

If you have comments you would like to share, I would love to hear from you!

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