A few weeks ago, my mom had some home movies from 1965-1967 transferred onto a DVD. She gave me a copy as a Christmas gift. I was so excited! The last time I saw these was before my dad got cancer so it was pre-1975. Of course, the quality was not the greatest but overall they turned out extremely well considering the films were over 40 years old.
I was watching a clip of my 5th birthday party when suddenly a lump formed in my throat. There was my dad! I know some of you are aware of this but many are not so I probably need to mention this. My dad was diagnosed with colon cancer when I was 14. The prognosis was not good back then. He battled it for two years and passed away exactly six weeks before my 17th birthday.
I was a typical daddy's girl. There are many derivatives of my given name. The whole world calls me by one of them but my dad and only my dad was permitted to call me by a different derivative. A few people dared to try but they never did it again. It was my father's name for me and I will never be called by that name again until I see my dad again in my Father's house.
I watched that clip over and over again. I was smiling and waving as my mother was filming me. Suddenly, unexpectedly, my dad stoops down and wraps me in his arms. I immediately molded myself into his arms, even as I was staring at the camera. You could still clearly see my face light up even more, even though the film had degraded somewhat.
I wrap my arms around my dad's right arm and smile brightly. My dad looks down at me with love in his eyes. My older brother tries to distract me but I ignore him. My dad tightens his grip around me and my smile gets even bigger. He plants a kiss on my left cheek and immediately my left arm goes up around his neck and head keeping his face close up against mine. I close my eyes and we both smile as I cuddle close to my daddy.
Later, I started to think about all of the times the Father draws close to us and embraces us. What is our response? Do we push Him aside because we're too busy doing our own thing? Do we shove Him away because we refuse to believe that He loves us? Are we indifferent or suspicious? Do we feel that we can't respond because we are unworthy of His love?
The little girl I was watching on the screen was completely responsive to her daddy's love. She knew she was loved by him and she relished it. She didn't worry about whether she was deserved that love. She simply accepted the love which was given to her. She was fearless in her response to his love. She fully expected that her love would not be rejected and it wasn't.
If an earthly father can love his little daughter in such a manner, how much more so does our Heavenly Father love us? He is always pouring out His love upon us. The question is, are we responding fully to His love? May we learn to receive and respond to the Father's love more and more with each passing day.
K, if I think back far enough, I can remember a few moments with my dad like you describe. My opinion is that his mental illness (which he denies having) got worse the older he and I got, so the memories are few and quite old. Well, since I'm not old, they really aren't old (LOL).
But I decided that God, in His graciousness, gave me a grandfather who loved me totally and spoiled me completely -- treated me as a princess. He died when I was 7 so the memories are faint and few.
Thanks for the word picture.
Linda Young (@savedbyegrace),
This was in the earlier films. My father also battled with mental illness but we've been told this was related to the head injuries he sustained in a near-fatal accident he had in the navy. Actually, he had been pronounced dead and a death certificate had even been signed but that's another story.
In this earlier film clip, he had admitted himself to the VA hospital about four months earlier. He was concerned that he was going to have a nervous breakdown. He was right. By the end of the films, two years later, you could see the effects of the various drugs they were trying in his face. For awhile, I nearly completely lost the dad I knew and loved. It's tough when you don't understand what it happening.
Thank God for a mother who loved God and loved him. She was also an extremely proactive woman who was relentless in her insistence that this was not living and they had to do better than this! I guess you could say she refused to leave her partner behind. Maybe that's another reason the movie Fireproof touched me so much. I watched my mom fight for my dad when he couldn't fight for himself.
My battle has not been whether or not my Heavenly Father loved me. It was whether or not He might abruptly change his behavior and turn into a stranger without warning. However, He understands our fears and gently and patiently heals us from the inside out.
P.S. Thank God for grandfathers! My paternal grandfather died before I was born and my maternal grandfather died right before my second birthday. I always wanted a grandfather. :)
[quote]My battle has not been whether or not my Heavenly Father loved me. It was whether or not He might abruptly change his behavior and turn into a stranger without warning.[/quote]
K, you just put into words what I struggle to. My fear is more accurately just that, that the smiling and loving dad might suddenly become angry and smash all my toys and holler mean things at me, or tell me how much I've let him down.
Really, thanks for that. I am one of those folks that just needs to identify and label things. Somehow putting a name to it helps me confront it and deal with it. Kinda like going to the doctor for an accurate diagnosis. Can't treat it right if you don't know what it is.
Amen this really helped me, my dad passed away march 2008, due to a tumor that spread to his lungs, and i still cry fro him, i look back at pictures and stuff like that and i just break down and cry, but its during those times my heavenly father Jesus has held me close and drew me closer to him.