Growing up, I always wanted to be just like you. I am sure you noticed how at the dinner table I would cut my food just like you did, keeping everything separate on the plate rather than mixing it all together. That’s how daddy did it, and that’s how I would too. I am sure you recall those spanks I used to wear with “Daddy’s Little Girl” embroidered across the back. I was so proud of those spanks and made sure everyone on the preschool playground knew that I was labeled yours. I believe I knew it wasn’t right to show off your britches on the playground, but I was just too proud to care.
We both know the hard part about when I was brought into this fallen world, was that our family was on the brink of falling apart. By the time I hit my adolescent years, there wasn’t much of a family left. The sin and the demons that had plagued our home since the day you and mom said “I do” had all starting claiming the victory. In a home like ours where brokenness, addiction, and abuse abound, you grew up pretty fast; and the starry-eyed childhood dreams of always being “daddy’s little girl” finally came caving in, creating a crater and a void so deep in my heart that it nearly overcame me.
Dad, you taught me that a “Dad is a son’s first hero and a daughter’s first love” and you were right. I loved you since the day I breathed my first breath of life. You were my first love. When you began to slip away from me I never stopped trying to reach out and grasp that deep, unexplainable love that is put in the heart of a little girl for her earthly father by the heavenly Father, himself. I kept reaching out, until eventually, there was nothing left to grab on to.
I have only seen you cry a handful of times in my life. One of those times was the day you and mom gave in to the devastation of your marriage and decided it was time to part ways. I was selected to move in with mom while you stayed in our now empty childhood home. A lifetime of memories now packed away in trash bags and worn out boxes. In the midst of this wreckage, I watched you stand defeated, dampening that old, tattered carpet with a flood of tears full of pain and regret. At the time, I didn’t fully understand why you were so very upset. In my mind, I had been searching for you for so long and it didn’t seem like you wanted to be found. So what did it matter if I was leaving now? It broke my heart to see you that way and evenmoreso to know that maybe, deep down, there was a glimmer of something of you left for me that was being poured out in tears on that old cream carpet floor.
What I didn’t know at that time, was the depth of the love you had for me. What I didn’t know was the truth of your history growing up without a father and your inability to see how the choices you made impacted me. What I didn’t see was how hard you hoped and prayed that I would be ok. That despite you, I would be alright. What I couldn’t see was the work that God was doing in you so that even though I couldn’t have all of you when I was young, even though I had to lose you for a time, it was so that I and the world could gain a stronger you, a more deeply rooted in Christ you, for today.
I still want to be like my daddy and you may wonder after all we’ve been through, why? I want to be like my dad because he is a man who didn’t just let me go, but he came back for me. He didn’t just wound me, but he asked for forgiveness. He wasn’t just a part of my brokenness, but he became a part of my restoration. And I want to be the kind of person that is strong enough to look in the mirror and see when I’ve been wrong. That I would not only look in the mirror and face my failures and see my pain, but I would be a part of the healing of those who are hurting in the same way I am and to the ones whom I’ve hurt myself. I want to be strong enough to face my fears and my sins but to not allow those things to define me. Instead, like you, allow those things to become a part of the story of God’s graciousness and goodness in my life.
When you couldn’t be there for me and all you could do was hope the best for me. What neither of us realized is that Hope in Christ is not a wish, it’s a promise. It’s an assurance that God would never let me go, and He never did. And He never let go of you either. Even though I couldn’t see it, all these years you were fighting hard to get healed and whole for me, you were on your knees praying hope and life for me. And God brought us both up out of the darkness and into his marvelous light. He was the Father we both needed, in just the way that we needed Him. Filling the voids with his healing touch and the craters in our hearts with his pure love.
Because of you, I will live my life never ceasing to ask for forgiveness, and always being willing to forgive. Because of you, I will fight to be an agent of change and a champion of restoration. You have given me a new hope that God is still in the business of miracles. And when others ask me how I overcame the pain and struggles of my past, I can tell them with full assurance that I always wanted to be just like my Father. I now know, I was and always will be, Daddy’s Little Girl—your’s and Jesus Christ’s.
Worship: I love music & I love to share it. Each song is for each post. Listen and Enjoy! Restoration
Gratitude: Give thanks- “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.” 1 John 3:1a
Grow: “So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”” Deuteronomy 31:6 What area in your life is there a void that you have been filling with anything other than Christ? Can you trust him to fill this crater with the knowledge and full assurance that he will never leave you nor forsake you?
Give: “This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls.” Hebrews 6:19a Hope in Christ is a promise not a wish. Who can you share this hope with today?
© Tamara Gurley 2014