This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It is adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?”
Romans 8:15 (The Message)
The four-year old girl ran up to her father who was working in their front yard, her face was smeared with dirt and her right hand was tightly gripping a handful of rather bedraggled pansies. “Daddy, Daddy!” she yelled as she drew near and thrust the pathetic flowers upward toward him, “These are for you, Daddy!” she exclaimed with love.
“Danna! Where did you get these flowers?” he asked in a stern tone. It was not the response she had expected and she immediately knew something was wrong. But what?
“I got them in front of all those houses, Daddy,” she pointed across the street at a few of the neighbors’ yards that had pansies similarly planted along their parking strips near the street. I wanted to give you a present, Daddy,” she whispered shyly waiting for his reaction.
“Danna!” her father shouted, “That is stealing! Those are not our flowers. They belong to our neighbors. You need to go to each house and apologize for picking their flowers and give them back right now!”
“Okay, Daddy,” she muttered softly as she crossed the quiet street with a lump in her throat and a knot in her tummy knowing she had to be obedient to her father.
She quietly walked up to the first door and knocked so lightly it was unlikely anyone would hear. Then she dropped a few of the pansies on their doormat and whispered, “Sorry.” She repeated the same routine for house number two and three. One more house to go. This time, the lady of the house opened the door before she could drop the flowers. The child was so shocked, she dropped the remaining flowers and ran off yelling out, “Sorry, lady. I took your flowers.”
Upon returning to her own yard, her father looked up from his work and asked, “Did you apologize to everyone, Danna?”
“Yes, Daddy,” she replied hoping she wasn’t lying. Hoping her apology was good enough. She knew her father hated lying.
Fast forward about 60 years
I remembered this memory one day when I was praying with one of my prayer partners and trying to sort out why my relationship with my dad frustrated and upset me so much. I’m usually even keeled emotionally and don’t take things too personally. But for some reason (Holy Spirit), the entire “pansy scenario” came flooding into my mind during a session of listening prayer*. As I described my memory to Lisa, I felt the same emotions of shame and rejection I had all those years ago come flooding back. My heart ached and tears flowed from this usually “strong” woman.
My husband and I had urged my parents to move to California from Washington in their mid-seventies so we could be of support as they aged. For 15 years, we’d lived one block away. As the oldest daughter (by 10 and 13 years) and the only child that lived near my parents, I had been the “go to girl” for their increasing needs over the past ten years. My dad was battling with Crohn’s Disease and my mom with mild Alzheimer’s.
In their eighties they needed me more and more. Mom’s memory and speech was declining. My dad would express growing impatience and frustration with her. I found myself becoming judgmental of him and sometimes wanting to express my disappointment at his lack of compassion. But I never said anything.
When mom experienced third degree burns on both her feet and ankles when she could not think fast enough to adjust the scalding hot water in the bathtub, everything began unraveling. My former skills as an RN kicked in and I became her advocate, head nurse, and my dad’s problem solver who got done what needed to be done. Unfortunately, he was often perturbed at me because I “moved too fast” and did not do things with the analysis and perfection he demanded.
As I spoke with Lisa, all those years later – I felt another emotion welling up inside me. Anger. How could a father be so insensitive to such a young child? All sorts of new “big girl” feelings began surfacing as I got more and more involved in my parents’ daily lives. I felt like all that I did was never good enough.
In my head, I knew I was exaggerating my dad’s responses and allowing the enemy to prod me toward taking offense every chance I got. I could tell I had a cancer of resentment that needed excising by God. My little girl heart was still so wounded and I didn’t have the emotional and spiritual tools to “pull up my big girl panties” and just get over it.
An important lesson
God does not want us to “just get over” anything. He wants us to heal! A couple years ago, even before my now 94 year-old dad became senile, I realized healing and closure had nothing to do with communicating my hurt to him, being understood, and him asking me for forgiveness.
Deep healing that brings peace and closure only comes through Jesus. When He died for the sins of all mankind, that included the sins of those who wounded us emotionally and those we wounded as well. The debt has been paid. The challenge is fully receiving that gift through our own act of forgiveness. For the last three plus years, I’ve spent time giving this deep wound back to Jesus and asking him to speak to my heart. Today, as I was journaling and quite frankly asking the Lord what I should write about this week, the memory surfaced again and I knew there was more work to do.
Practicing my growing skill of “Hearing the Voice of God”, this is what I wrote in my journal this morning. First, my question to Jesus, and then His response to me.*
My May 6 Journal Entry – “Tuning to Flow” to Hear the Voice of God
Danna: Jesus, why does it still hurt to think about the pansy incident? My dad is now 94, in another state and increasingly senile. I always wanted more than a “dad”. I wanted a “Daddy”. I feel jealous of other women who are so close to their fathers and feel loved unconditionally and adored.
Jesus: The Father and I are your Abba Daddy! I will receive your handful of pansies, Danna. I know your heart and why you picked those flowers. Sadly, your 28-year-old father was more focused on trying to be “perfect” and have you act “perfectly” and therefore missed your expression of love and in the process punished you for it. That must have been very confusing for you. He had never experienced my perfect grace and love, so he could not give it to you. He knows Me now and has grown a lot since he accepted my forgiveness and salvation at 65 years old! Forgive him. Let it go. Run to me for the perfect love you need to thrive. Your relationship with your earthly dad will be perfect in Heaven. When you first see him, you will run to him and call him Daddy and be fully loved and accepted. He will finally fully know your heart and you will know his.
God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! Romans 8:15-17 (The Message)
*Do you want to hear the voice of God more clearly in your life?
Do you have unhealed wounds that need healing?
We invite you to join us for a very special 10-Week Course: 4 KEYS TO HEARING THE VOICE OF GOD