Good Good 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!  –1 John 3:1

Maybe the title reminds you of a song, maybe it doesn’t. I stumbled upon this song by Housefires 2 years ago on YouTube. It stuck with me, especially the chorus. Two weeks or so later I heard it being sung in a church I was visiting and since then, it’s been one of those songs that Lord continues to bring to my mind and it’s a truth I continue to declare over and over again.

You’re a good good Father, It’s who You are, It’s who You are, It’s who You are

And I’m loved by You, It’s who I am, It’s who I am, It’s who I am

As repetitive as it sounds, there’s something powerful about repetition.

I don’t know about you but my journey of understanding the Father’s heart for me hasn’t always been easy. What does it even mean that God is my Father? Why does that even matter? It matters because knowing and fully embracing our identity as His child changes everything. Adoption is truly the highest privilege. He could’ve stopped at saving us from the death we deserved to die, but He didn’t. Instead, He adopted us into His family.

One of the most powerful experiences related to this was back in freshman year of college where I listened to Lee Grady who has become a friend and one of my favorite speakers! He is an author and runs the Mordecai Project which you should totally check out. Anyway, he was speaking of father wounds and how the deficiencies of our earthly fathers can often affect the way we look at God as a Father. I love my father and am so blessed to have a godly man as a father. I will not be who I am today without him. Needless to say, I realized that my view of God as a Father was one who was reserved in His love and affection for me. I still struggled with the need to constantly try to please God and His approval of me was based on what I did for Him. And that if I screwed up, He would be disappointed and every time I fell short, I felt guilty and would constantly apologize to Him in order to be in His ‘good books’ again.

As I was prayed for that night, I wept. I wept because I was overwhelmed with the Father’s love for me. A love that remains, a love that never changes even if I misunderstood it, misunderstood Him. His love for me is based on who He is and not what I do. The pressure was off. I found a new sense of freedom that night and since then, He’s been building on that revelation of Him as my Father. A Father who is so ready to pour out His affection on me, who loved me enough to send His Son to die for me. And I am totally okay with that. Now I walk in freedom to serve not out of fear of punishment but out of a knowledge of His love for me. Even if I fall, He will catch me. I am not afraid to mess up anymore, there is so much grace. This grace compels me to stay close to my Father and I never want to leave.

But if I’m really honest, as much as I know that I’m His child, I don’t always live like I truly believe it. And it’s in those moments, the song gets even louder because I need to believe it. And I’m guessing you’re the same too. And so my prayer is that as you journey on with the Lord, you will continue to discover His heart for you. He is your good Father. If you do not know Him at all, then you should. He loved you so much to include you in His family, but only if you receive it.

Romans 8:15-16 – For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.

The Epiphany

If I were to think about all the epiphanies I’ve had in my life, I could probably write a book. An epiphany, to me, is a revelation, an insight; an unveiling of the truth that you were once blind to. It doesn’t stop there but it changes you, even in the smallest ways. Your life is never the same again once you receive that wonderful moment we call an epiphany. Some epiphanies have been very significant, some not so much but still it all contributes to the person I am today. The epiphany I am going to write about however is perhaps, the most significant one that affects me to this very day.

Growing up in a Christian household, I had never really doubted my faith. I was told as a kid that Jesus loves me and died on the cross for me. To me, that was a breath of fresh air. I gave my life to the Lord at age 6 or 7. That moment is still etched very deeply in my memory; I prayed the sinner’s prayer in church and tears rolled down my cheeks and for the first time, I felt God. The song ‘Change My Heart o God’ was being sung and sometimes I think about that moment.

My faith grew over the years as I began to see how my faith was defining me as a person. I would go to Christian camps every year and I loved it. I would get passionate about God during the camp and it will last for a while but then I would go back to the old. I thought I was fine, I was a ‘good’ Christian for the most part. I prayed, read the Bible when I could and tried not to do anything bad. My 16th year took a turn and the emotional baggage and hurt began to pile up. Through my pain and sorrow, He was close, proving Himself faithful.

But to be perfectly honest, even though I was experiencing a closeness with God that was new and somewhat relieving, I still didn’t really understand His heart for me and what this whole thing was about. The next year, in May of 2008, I attended a camp that changed my life. The speaker and his team were so on fire for God and I had never seen any ministry quite like theirs. Their passion and conviction was clear and it really made an impact. Every session was Spirit filled and people were experiencing God like never before. I received healing for my broken heart during one of the sessions but it was only the beginning. The camp lasted for 4 days and on the last session on the last day, the speaker drew a line across the hall. He called it the ‘Line of No Return’. He asked us to prayerfully consider crossing the line. He said that once we cross the line, there is no turning back; crossing the line was a sign of total surrender to God and His will for our lives. Even if it hurts, no matter what the cost, it was a decision to follow God wholeheartedly. As I knelt and prayed with the rest on the other side, I was weeping. I was convicted to cross the line but I wasn’t sure if I could do it. Sure enough, I took a step of faith and crossed the line. The moment I got over to the other side, I fell to my knees and my heart was literally lifted. I felt joy and peace. I knew I had made the right decision. This was my destiny, this was my call: to follow Jesus and live a life of absolute surrender.

I was holding on so tightly to my dreams but I let it go. I realized there and then that joy comes when we are surrendered to the Lord. Why did I not know it before? I could’ve saved time from struggling with Him. God loves me and His call for me to surrender is not so I will suffer but I will have life. Because He created me and therefore knows best for me and because of His great love, I can trust Him. That was the greatest epiphany. Of a loving God who compels me to follow Him and surrender every single day. By crossing the line, I moved past religion into a relationship with the Lover of all. I had found peace and it came by raising the white flag. I can’t go back, I’m keeping it raised.

p.s: I actually do have a dream of writing a book. In His time.