Tag Archives: fatherhood

Hey, Littlest

11 Feb

My students – well, not mine. But it’s either that or calling them ‘the kids’ which is misinterpretable to the uninitiated, not the least of the reasons being that there are about forty of them!

Anyway… Start over. My students keep asking me if I have any nicknames. What is my favorite shortened version of my name? Did my family really call me by name…? My name is a three-syllabled thing. Shorter than Elisabeth. Longer than Charlotte. Not Anglo-Saxon. But it’s not hard to say and it always strikes me that people who complain about saying it, complain not so much because it’s ‘long’ which is what they think they’re complaint because 😉 but because it’s ‘foreign’ and when someone’s name is foreign AND long, I mean that’s just way too much trouble. Not only do you expect to learn something non-English, non-American – you want us to not even make it easier on ourselves…

And yet, no one complains about say, Giovanni, Madonna or even Angelina Jolie. Just something I suspect, but I daresay no one even notices as a prejudice in themselves. I am not unsuspect in this either. Me too!

But it is true. My family really always has bothered to call me by my whole name. All three short syllables of it. And the only other nicknames they gave me were terms of endearment.

And pretty unusual ones at that. Ever noticed some terms of endearment come more naturally to some people than others? I could never say ‘darling’. I don’t know why. I try – even to a puppy, I can’t manage it with a straight face.

😀

My mother often calls me ‘her baby girl’ or just her baby. I’m not baby anymore, that’s for sure. I’m definitely not any more the little, plump, curly-haired thing you hauled on to your lap that that phrase brings to mind! Lol.

But it’s the kind of protective, stepping-in-for-you surge of emotion that probably brings that phrase to her mind. And it’s the knowledge of that affection that can still make me clog up when she writes completely ridiculously sentimental stuff like:

xxx.xxx@gmail.com

I love you, my baby girl.

_____

I mean seriously – how can I ever read my email in a library?! Haha. But my eyes still well up, because I know she does love me. And I miss her.

So no. I got the whole three syllables plus a whole lotta love in eeeeven LONGER terms of endearment from that source. So still trying to find a response to my students, my mind tracked back to my dad.

The dad is pretty stoic in some ways. He’s the kind of dad who, when faced with the teary-eyed, trembling lip precursor to a good cry, will quickly and staunchly pat you awkwardly on the back and say ‘Now, now’. In as soothing a tone as he can manage. He gave pretty decent hugs though – if you managed to get one off him as his daughter, he’d grunt comfortably and give you a hug… Before, of course, patting you strongly and firmly on the back with a ‘Now, now’ equivalent.

Yet he’s also pretty emotional when he’s emotional.

And then my mind tracked again to the father who’s always been near. I must admit my father unashamedly hovers. Like he did at creation. Good habits die hard 🙂

I have so much love to be thankful for. The father, my mum and dad… Today I’m thinking about them. My dad’s nickname for me was a Tamil variant – Chinza – that simply meant ‘a little person’. I figure he didn’t lose out on the protective streak either. But it’s a diminutive (look that up, if you need to). In English, it would sound sorta like ‘Hey, Littlie’ but not in any demeaning way that that could imply. When the dad wanted a game or to pick me up or to go on a drive together, he’d often start with ‘Hey, Chinza!’

Hey, Littlest.

It is one of those words I’ve never heard without love. So last night, I pushed my bike up the hill considering my rather-unsharable nicknames. Considering proofs of love I knew. And I think my head became quite silent inside. God stopped me. My father stopped me.

Hey, Littlest.

I love you more than anyone else. More than you can ever know. 

The Crazies

7 Mar

“Oh, R”, I laughed to one of my co-teachers, after hearing her itemised list of which teachers sit with which grades and in which appointed places in the sprawling gym area, “we just sit with the crazies 😀 .”

I meant it. First grade can be pretty crazy and even crazier if you’ve been teaching adults for most of your professional and academic life! Strange little humming noises, five off-key tunes together, head-banging to nursery rhymes, a random trip to centre-stage, intense debates on why the sun has bigger muscles than the moon, on why your teacher is tall, and what your latest snot sculpture was – really, you name it… we’ve probably got it.

Some moments, in the middle of our guided reading workshops, I’ll hear ‘Twinkle twinkle… the fuuuuu-uhst NoEEEEERRRRRR… jingle bells jingle bells jingle bells jingle jingle bells jingle bells-one ‘ouse open say, YAY’. My co-teacher is patient. I admit to having said ‘Cut it out’ once. The selection of music depends on the season. The selection of fantasy story ideas also depends on the season, or whatever real thing has happened that can be moulded into magic. Yes, it’s pretty crazy.

It’s also pretty full of energy and affection. Affection that people learn to hold back in later years. Little children don’t, y’know – if they love you, then they just do. They’ll pick favourites. They will take sides. And they’re terribly loyal. And they depend on you to sort out anything from snot to bullying to romantic relationships (even when you can’t quite believe they have them). And any moment in the day, when they see you walk past, whether they are doing Math or Literacy or P.E. or recess, they will appreciate you in whatever way. The classroom or the chairs or the rules don’t constrain them. Or whether they’re in a different school and they have no classroom, or teacher, and they’re waiting for your time. You get introduced to their (real and imaginary) friends, their betrayals, their plotting and everything else inbetween. And just as you finish one station, and ask them to clean up their whiteboards, they’ll quickly scribble ‘I love you’ on it and show it to you shyly. And it short-circuits your thought processes (and your lesson plans!) incredibly quickly and leaves you only with a familiar, stupid grin. Funny – never had that effect on me with the adult learners!

I think that is what Jesus meant when he said this. I have, in my old Children’s Bible, an illustration of many different kids scrambling up on Jesus’ lap or responding as he makes them laugh with (I imagine) his stories. This is the God I know. The picture I carried with me for a long time, before I gave my life to him even. And all through my life in him, I’ve returned often to this sense of relief to be found in getting up there. Right by my father. Letting him make me laugh. This is the God we know.

They drive me crazy, yes. But the kids also trust me. Some of them, not all. Some of them are starting to consider other things. But when they do trust me – WOWZA! I feel so honoured.

And they’ll do the things I ask them to do. I might think of a zany activity like ‘Write about camping’ eeeerrrrr ‘under your tables’. It’s cool – it works for them to imagine the tent idea – and they remember the exercise for next time. We turn the lights off maybe… Or I make up rules like ‘Write your names on the whiteboard and I’ll come to you in turn’, so that they aren’t always following me and my co-teacher around the room. Sometimes I decide to go to where they’re at. And I’ll make up whacko actions. And they’ll do it – like touch your nose round your head. And sometimes I have a unit plan that I want to stretch over days because of some literacy skill or the other, and they’ll ask me why they can’t finish today – but for the most part, they’ll stick to my crazies.

Maybe that is the second reason Jesus said that and that. I know I posted about thinking Christianity – in thinking about God and seeking him in his word, the experience of an everyday, working relationship with God in complete obedience only becomes more real. I read this today, over at (in)courage. I almost copied it here and said nothing myself 😀

We sat with the crazies that day. And had them cheer for us every time we breathed. And chatter every time someone else breathed. Seriously, pretty intense. 🙂

Jonah Chronicles

21 Feb

So the last time I revisited Jonah Bar-Amittai, he was running away from God in fear. If you missed that, here it is

Get this: Not fear that he was inadequate and wouldn’t match up, that he would not be able to do what God had called him to do. No. Fear, instead, that he would. That God would do exactly as He had promised and it would be too hard for him to confront. He also feared that God would be who He is.

He knew God and he knew himself too – pretty darn well, I’d say, seeing how the story turned out! Check out this part in particular. Isn’t that an amazing story?

I know what Jonah’s about, you know… I am the queen of non-confrontational. I hate the conversations where I have to talk about something that’s not right. I especially hate it when I’m not actually doing the wrong thing. Not because I haven’t messed up – I always have, and, eeerrrrmmm, I don’t care to elaborate on that point just right now :-o! But sometimes I do believe God uses you from the periphery of a situation to speak into it, to intervene.

Imagine this. If you’re in a research team, and you know that one of your colleagues is manipulating data specifically recorded by another of your colleagues, what would you do? That’s not so bad. Let’s step it up a bit. Two friends of yours in a teetering relationship and you know that they are hurting each other. And you know it isn’t of God.

Let’s up the ante a bit more, shall we? Your accountability partner with whom you share a totally equal relationship is on the brink of something actually unbiblical. Usually, with my friend, my contributions are along the lines of ‘Do you think that you are acting in accordance with what you believe the Bible to be saying?’ – ‘Well, then, good on ya!’ *cringes* I guess you pick the people you are accountable to… Mine is amazing, beautiful and tells me what’s wrong without me even feeling the tiniest twinge of smallness or pain. Ha – let’s see who tops that 😉 *I jest.* And I would never feel the need to say that to her – I am certain. Yet, what if I did? I do know there was one friend I did feel I had to say something to, when she was asking advice and expecting a certain response from me – one I couldn’t give if I was to truly reflect my feelings on honouring God in the situation.

I know what I wanted to say was the cop-out line.

Then there was that other time when I had to – just had to – tell a good friend and housemate I really felt from God for her. We’d been discussing a relationship she was struggling with for a long time. We knew from the start that there things that did not honour God in it. And still, she and I were both tempted to sigh and wonder how beautifully romantic it would be if certain things were straightened out. Yet in prayer, I knew that ignoring things that had happened already would not be putting God first. It would be compromising on what she was waiting on God to prove Himself faithful about.

So… I did tell her. After feeling heavy and compelled one morning, I did. I huddled in my cold Oxford room with only glass doors and curtains to keep it insulated. And I waited for her to put the kettle on for her breakfast. I could hear the kitchen perfectly, from the adjacent room. And I wondered what to say to her.

I padded out in the huge, fluffy kermit flip-flops I’d adopted and fumbled through what I’d been feeling. I had respect for both of them but I had to get this out. I was pretty scared. But God made another of his miracles that morning. I think coincidences are designed.

But that is a story for another Jonah day.

For today, in what ways are you running away from God’s will for your life?

I ask this because I have been running too.

See… Jeremiah said ‘but‘, Moses said ‘but‘, Jonah definitely said ‘but’.

If you know you have said ‘but’ more times than you care to remember hurting him, then I think you want to experience this.

Then the LORD reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I have put my words in your mouth”. Jer 1:9

What an incredibly intimate, evocative picture… The Father looking into His child’s troubled face, full of her awareness of her inadequacy and worthlessness. And God’s first impulse is to reach out and gently stop those words that belittle His beloved. And give you His precious, infinite words instead.

I know that God has a specific purpose for you. A calling that only you can fulfill. A place for you to speak into. Words that only you can say. And they aren’t your words – they are His. He can fill those lips that are trembling with tears with the song He wrote.

And then if you but let Him, He’ll hold you and sing softly over you, hold those broken pieces back together.

The LORD your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing. Zeph 3:17

Whatever you’re afraid to confront, let Him hold you. Like Jonah, we have a God who cares passionately enough to be persistent.

I know that God has a purpose for you. It may not be comfortable at all.

But

it will

be

God.

Crazy love (sorry, Mr Chan)

12 Feb

I wrote this a while ago. In 2009. It is seasonal 😉 But more importantly, it encapsulates my thoughts now – today, another of those times I’ve forgotten to love.

How does one explain without seeming insane that you’re utterly in love with someone? Love that makes you want to hug the person, hold them so long and hard. The kind that makes you stop in the heavy afternoon amidst work and play and intimate conversations with best friends and take a quick, sharp breath from this realisation: God, I love you!

And what makes it crazier is that no one ever sees him with his arm on your shoulder or holding you close or smiling down at you… And yet, if they don’t know him themselves, they don’t realise that nothing ever comes close to this kind of love anyway! The can’t-take-my-eyes-off-you love. While they don’t see him holding your hand on a ramble through town, you wonder if they’ve seen him give everything for you. Obsess about you constantly. Die on a cross for you. And you wonder what it takes.

What’s even crazier is how often you forget how in love you are. Crazy!

public love physical display affection God's love Valentine's valentine intimacy true real love

I cannot get over how much God loves you. Me. I know all the things I’ve done. Worse, the things I’ve thought. I know I have been cold and distant. I know the things that I have – deliberately – left undone, unsaid… gathering the dust of numbed guilt.

And yet. He. Loves. Me.

And I know the reality of his love.

It isn’t the least bit distant or theological or abstract or a logical conclusion. It’s pretty far from any logical conclusion I’ve ever made, that’s for certain. I remember praying, as an early teen, that I wouldn’t have to wait for the intimacy of a relationship to find out what God’d meant by the metaphor of a husband’s love… And he was faithful in answering that prayer as I needed it. Oh friend, how faithful. Even when I least deserved it.

There is a relationship waiting to be had that is all-sufficient, all-encompassing… It is never going to be equal except in that the Lord carries you and holds you up to him… With someone who isn’t limited or bounded by our boxes, who doesn’t need to wait on human experience to show us the depth of his love.

Sometimes someone is so beautiful that you want to cry simply looking at them.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m no freak. So I don’t simply blubber at the Hoff or Mr Firth… Honestly – you might find it hard to believe.

I do cry, however, when a child I love tells me he wants to be a policeman – so that no one else dies in his community from a knife-fight. Just a policeman, no more – but he won’t take bribes. I feel that familiar lump again when a child I love runs up to me from behind and awkwardly snuggles into me. I feel that lump when someone in my family is appreciated, or even when the Tass knows I’m crying…

I read a Father’s Day line somewhere that reminded me of God.

You have your Father’s eyes.

So you know what it feels like to have tears in them.

What makes you cry?

Expect love

4 Feb

I write as I learn, and as I hear. Like anybody else, I suppose.

I used to have a dog called Misty. I’ve written about her before. Ah, Misty was a beautiful German Shepherd, with the friendliest grin and mischievous eyes.

She was very loyal to my father, and she bullied me because, of course, I was Little Sister. Her name for me – and this is true! – was ‘Yawooooo’. A sharp yelp-like Ya with a howl, which I have transcribed here ‘wooooo’. Er – best I could do, peeps! But truly, she would stand outside the house and call for me whenever she wanted to go upstairs to play or when she wanted to be let out of her kennel and had been put in, in the first place, by the parents. She knew I’d take her side.

She was lovely, naughty, mean, generous, loyal, amusing and intelligent. All the things a good healthy, growing dog should be – right?

I love dogs. I have had so many in my life so far and they have each been an indispensable part of the family. But I also love them for the lessons I learned from them. God always uses examples. I mean, get a load of all those parables! 😀 But jokes apart, every time the Lord wanted to teach me something as a child and often now, he would point to something around me and teach me in baby steps. Hey, what can I say, I’m slow!

Misty, although pretty familiar with the house and the sofas too, had a leash and a collar that we tied to the gate on her kennel, as an alternative to shutting her up. We rarely ever did need to shut her up. This only occurred when (annoying-in-my-childhood-world) visitors screamed and ran at the sight of a dog. Yes, where I grew up, dogs weren’t common to most households and some people – er – flipped. Then, or when we needed to keep two or three dogs out of each other’s food bowls so we wouldn’t see any fur fly when they got catty.

When we did tie her to her leash, she wasn’t very miffed about it. She took it like a good dog. Still, what has always stayed with me, more than ten years after Misty went, is the way she reacted to being free.

When one of the family undid the clasp on her leash, Misty would still sit in her kennel. Patient in the area of her captivity. She had this quirk of having to sniff the end of the leash, as it hung from a particular spot on the gate. She knew the circumference of her bondage well. And she would sit there, as if she didn’t know she was free. The thing is no one ever tried to loose her surreptitiously like some prank we were playing on her. I distinctly remember afternoons when I, teasing this creature of habit as dogs are wont to be, would say to her ‘Go, Misty, go! I untied you, go!’ And she’d good-humouredly thump her huge, shaggy tail and sit on the edge of her kennel. Waiting. And look at me as if to say ‘Who’re you kidding, missy?’ She had to sniff the end of her rope every now and then to remind herself that freedom had come. She had to keep going back to the thing that kept her in captivity so she could tell herself she was free.

Like me. Sometimes. I keep having to remind myself that I am free. I forget that God has forgiven me, forgotten my sin. I rehash. Oh, I rehash. Over and over again, as if I have not taken his deliverance seriously. As if I am denying the sacrifice on the cross that gave me life. The sacrifice was sufficient. It has swallowed my sin, my shame. It is gone, it is finished! But I forget so often. I act more righteous than God, I wait to see proof of my deliverance, my redemption, I doubt myself and expect me to fall.

My dog now is called Tassi. Well, one of my dogs now! She is a little Dachshund – see a German pattern emerging here? Yeah, I don’t know what that is about. Our other dogs have been a Dobermann, an Alsatian-Great Dane mix (er, also German and, in fact, sometimes called German Mastiff), several other Dachshunds, and a Pomeranian-Cocker Spaniel mix (phew, we got one half of a different nationality in!) Definitely something there to investigate! The German dog inclinations of the Writeroo family. Although… I have always wanted a Bassett Hound…

But, I digress.

Tassi is short for Pocahontas, which means ‘playful girl’. She is a playful princess, indeed! She was, in many ways, a Writeroo dog. I carried her home, and she slept in my shirt sleeves and lost herself in my laundry and cried under my bed every night, as a puppy. She’ll eat the bread I give her without butter. She’s a spoilt miss though and won’t take unbuttered bread from anyone else. She is very loving, loves pampering, purrs like a cat, keeps imagining she’s preggers and plonks herself on your feet inconveniently. She’ll go to sleep the moment you pick her up in your arms. She sometimes snores.

puppy dog cute cute dog dachshund black dachshund

The thing that broke my heart – in a very good way – about the Tass when she was getting puppy-trained was this…

One afternoon, she bit me pretty hard. We were rolling about on the floor having a romp. She bit my fingers – not too painfully – and ran away, playfully daring me to get her. While I was encouraging her gnawing at the bone I held, and gripping my hand… she knew, by this time, that a hard nip through the skin was not in order. Having suffered this a couple of times, and needing to show the dog what she could and couldn’t do, I gave her a tiny rap with two fingers on her back. It must have hurt. It wasn’t more than what I would do to swat a mosquito away, but I was stern and she knew from my tone that I was not pleased.

Tassi squirmed from the gentle rebuke and came running back to burrow her head with its too-long ears in my waiting lap.

loyalty trust trust trust

Coming up for the cuddle she knows she's gonna get!

She made me cry. I picked her up and held her close and thought about what God wants from us. How do your children react when they are disciplined by you? Do they trust you to come back to you with the problem? That’s exactly what God’s father-heart longs for. For a repentant child to come back expecting grace. Expecting justice, but knowing the love that is constant already.

trust trust faith God is good lessons

Expect forgiveness. Expect redemption. Expect grace. Expect the God you know. Expect love – don’t you know it by now? He is your father.

Know his love. He knows you, he singled you out and loves you crazily. Trust him today. Remember your love for him. Remember your trust.

God is beautiful – Part 2

2 Feb

This is Part 2 of the story of beautiful God.

Lord, Lord, but how?! How shall I come into Thy presence, how shall I let go of my sin? How can I forget the things I’ve done, the things I’ve omitted to do?! Oh God, how!

And as you’re crying into the vacant space before you, knowing that you can never measure up, never love Him as much and give Him what you should be giving Him… This is what He’s saying as He holds you folded into His side:

Father, she is beautiful and she is Mine. Because of my blood, and my sacrifice. Look at her, Father! Isn’t she beautiful?! And she is Mine.

It’s almost as if He’s repeating that line over and over with wonder – and until you believe it.

Beloved, you are His. Unequivocally, unquestionably, HIS. I wanted to post this here. Can you believe this verse?

Now to Him who is able to keep me (!) from stumbling,

and to present me faultless (!!) before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,

To God our Saviour

Who alone is wise

Be glory and majesty,

dominion and power,

both now and forever.AMEN!

(Jude 24, 25; NKJV)

Lessons from a father

24 Jan

Today is for my dad. You might already know that my dad and I have a fraught relationship. I have learned so much from my heavenly Father, that I sometimes forget what I have learned from my father. Growing up, he did love me… and I have learned good things, beautiful things from him. I will not show this to my father because although he has talked about our relationship to others and to me, he would feel it presumptuous in me to do so. He has said this before. But too often, I have held on to the barbs that hurt, the little lines, the marks of childhood, teenage and womanhood… because it was hard to forgive, but it is so hard to forget. Today, I’m ignoring the thorns that came with the plucking. And I am opening a box of pressed petals… birthday cards, lessons, laughs.

“Always read a chapter of the Bible in the morning, before you do anything.” That has come to be translated in my life as beginning the day with God, so you’ll get through it with Him. Every morning, to this day, I try. And if I don’t, I know nothing feels right.

“Keep your eyes on the ball. Don’t move them anywhere else.” Philippians 3: 13-14

“Got to put a shirt on to pray.” OK, this one’s funny. It made me laugh and it annoyed him that it made me laugh :). But it reminds me to give God my best and on the other hand, it reminds me of why I smiled too. I want to be naked before God, open to Him, vulnerable to His probing my heart and my hurts. But I also want to make every effort to give Him everything, to give Him my messy best. I don’t want to reduce grace to an excuse, but honour it as God’s greatest gift.

Generosity. My father never liked to be caught out without being able to give to people who asked. It irked him if he couldn’t, like duty undone! It has taught me to not be proud of my giving and let my ego be hurt by having less, but to trust God to bless me to give more. It has taught me also that giving is important. I have learned that giving is for closed doors, and that need is more obvious than we want to know. That not all who ask need and not all who need ask. Would that we did all ask our heavenly Father! I have learned more from his actions than my father ever sat down to teach me, but I have learned it well.

One day, when I was 15, my father said he was sorry… to me. That was the only time. I asked him not to, and we both cried. That wasn’t the end of our fraught relationship – I’ve said ‘sorry’ too for unthinking, reactionary words but it wasn’t. Yet it is one of my most precious memories.

It has taught me to say sorry, even when it is such a bitter thing to do. It needs to be said, and if you were wrong or unloving, you need to love again and seek peace. It. IS. Necessary. Even after healing, sometimes not always, hearing someone say that they know you were hurting is comfort. And you could give that to someone.

Dad’s on my case

15 Dec

I have had a special-feelingy day today. All delicious, like walking on crisp autumn leaves in a yellow light, or triple chocolate cookies with marshmallows and Starbucks coffee. I think it was because I went to sleep being held by my Dad. The other one. The one who gave his Son.

I noticed when a pastor in a church we sometimes visit suggested that we worship and acknowledge the presence of the Lord, like we do for our earthly fathers. Perhaps it’s the conventional Indian way of filial relating… What this pastor said was that we hardly ever say ‘Hey, good morning’ on our way out to our Dads. We made sure we went to him, stood before him and respected him… and then said good morning. Maybe my own dad has missed this all his years. But growing up as I did, in the context that I did, it was hard to imagine a dad to laugh with. It was hard to imagine rushing to tell my dad the funny line of the day or to tell my dad just what I heard on the playground… My mum filled those positions of listener and friend and most trusted confidante. My dad, now, I think is a wonderful man who is full of single-minded allegiance to that beautiful gospel that has saved us. He was often proud of my achievements outside the home – school, work, college. He would show me off to his friends.

I was never comfortable with it, but I did appreciate his taking pride in my activities. However, there were so many things I did that my father never understood why I liked in the first place. My most enduring impression of our relationship and my childhood is, I think, a feeling of inadequacy. The things I did do could always do with room for improvement. But for a child, without the appreciation that I think I craved, a relentless push towards correction and betterment often becomes faith-destroying. I think I only saw the criticism. I don’t know if there was anything else. I’m sure there was. And I know there was love. Yet, there’s always been distance between my dad and me. While that hurts me, I am not sure I would change that. The distance is not enmity. There is so much love.

I longed to talk to my Dad, try out new words on him, discover my confidence in conversation with him, earn his approval. But I still longed for him to give me it without wanting me to be different. When I found Christ, it blew my mind. My Dad actually did do all that!

Still over the passage of years, my habit of inadequacy will catch up with me and I find myself forgetting just how much Dad wants to talk to me. Just how much he’s longing for me to come and snuggle beside him. I’m surprised to realise it’s he who tells me he wants time with me… I often forget my love. And really, I know it’s I who want – no, need this time with him. But God? Letting himself need me? Pshaw.

And I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. Who is my God? Who is my Father? Few sermons stand out to you years after they have been delivered. This was about fifteen years ago. And I still remember this man preaching on the father love of God. He said we forget that he’s our father. There was something about the way he spoke of it which made it so real to me. And created a hunger in me for it that I still remember. He told us to remember what a loving Dad we have in our Lord, to crawl up to him like a little child, to forget our prayer lists and our verses for memory, our notations and our to-do list, to forget even the things we rush around doing for him as if that earns us the relationship we already have… and to curl up in his lap, climb up and hold on tight and just let him put you to sleep.

The memories I hold so precious are the few memories of my dad being comforting or, once, apologising because he did love me. But recently I’ve also been reading Crazy Love which is a wonderful book. There are videos which accompany each chapter in the books. And watching this father in action broke my heart into mouldable vulnerability last night. What blew me was the way he smiles in obvious delight when his son arrives or takes advantage of his dad. It’s as if he’s discovered something absolutely delightful and it’s never going to get old. It’s as if everything that little boy is saying is hilarious, insightful and all he wants to hear.

And suddenly it was as if God was saying: Will you never know how much I love you?

I look at you and I see me. That’s my baby, I made her in her mother’s womb, she even looks like me. This is the girl who holds my heart in her fingers. Because I’m letting her in. There isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t think of you and long to share a smile with you. And everything you think (which I can hear, by the way) is just what I want to hear all about. I think those are the most amazing, insightful, funny and beautiful words I could ever hear because they are you. They’re about you. And you. You are who I want.

So I went to sleep in my Dad’s arms tonight. And he reminded me of Jeremiah 1. Not only in confidence, in the quiet of my room but also through the family birthday card and through Crazy Love. And in a million other ways, Dad’s on my case. And he’s got it covered.

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