Several times in the last year or so, I have known of people who due to growth in their relationship with God began to call him Papa, or Papa God. It seemed reasonable to me. Jesus calls God “Abba” - the equivalent of “daddy” or “papa” - and I never had qualms about it, but now, I understand. I really understand.
Throughout the day, I wear many hats and am “all things to all people” - sometimes giving mommy hugs, sometimes playing referee, sometimes acting as big sister, sometimes just being a good listening friend. I am teacher, nurse, comforter, corrector, tickler, snuggler, and all sorts of other things. Through all of this, I have learned more of what it is to be a mother. And what it feels like - I have had my heart close to bursting with love and close to breaking with sorrow for my children.
Something I didn't know would happen, though, was that God would teach me so much and so specifically about Himself through my individual experiences. Seems silly to say it, because I should be expecting His instruction... Like secret whispers to my heart, the Lord has been teaching me more about who He is as my Father in Heaven. My Papa Dios.
Some journal bits:
How fierce and heart-bursting love for my children can be! And this is the fierce, passionate, tender love the Father has for me, his chosen child.
These kids are not mine by birth, but there are certain ones who have my heart in a different way – this is, I believe, the spirit of adoption. I, too, am adopted into the family of God to be an heir with Christ. Chosen. Purposefully beloved.
He chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will (Eph 1:4-5).
I am jealous for my children's love and honor and attention. My father is jealous for my love, honor, and attention, but I am easily drawn or distracted by other things that in the moment seem more important or fulfilling to me. He delights in my attention.
...for love is strong as death, jealousy is fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the Lord. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it (Song of Solomon 8:6-7)
I could burst when my kids tell me on their own that they love me, and not just when I am giving them something or when they want something. Lord, you delight in my love for you that is for you just because you are you and I trust you.
I love and treasure every gift – every picture, rock, flower, anything. They show me I am important in their lives. They desire to bless me, and I want to bless them back. Lord, you are the same.
I think of my sweet boy who wrote on an envelope to me that he is my son. That is what made me cry. He acknowledged on a different level his love for me and mine for him. It means that on some level he understands what my love for him is, that it is real and true. He claims me and understands that I will claim him back. And Father, I understand that this is only a taste of the joy and pleasure you feel when I submit and claim in truth that I am your child.
...to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God (John 1:12).
There are also times when I have tasted the pain of parenthood. When I saw one of my babies fall face first into the ground and wail and wail because of hurt and fear, I held him so tight and long and wanted to cry because of his suffering (it really was just a little scratch, but it was a scary fall forward into the ground...). I have been sorrowful at the choices my children make because I know the pain it will cause in the long run even if they cannot see it now. Over and over again, I am learning more about who God is as “our Father in Heaven.” What is so amazing, though, is believing that God absolutely can and does feel all of the emotions that I do, but in their purest and most perfect state! ... this is why He can love completely unconditionally, despite all my imperfections. There is nothing He needs from me and so there is no way that I can earn His love. And so - I bask in it!
Creator of the stars
and Designer of my heart.
This week we come to the end of the school year and have already jumped into the summer schedule with the arrival of our first short-term team this weekend. Three of our five summer interns are here to help us out with all the craziness and to learn and love and serve and grow in the Lord. Please pray for everyone who serves with us this summer - for safe travels, open hearts, fertile soil, and that each one would leave blessed by the Lord. (Already we do have one woman who fell from a ladder and broke her wrist while painting! Pray for her recovery!)
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