Friday, August 24, 2012

It's Complicated

Beth Moore asked a group of us (okay, it was me and my friend plus 70,000 of our closest friends in Atlanta, GA) if we had ever had a complicated relationship with someone, but that person had no idea that your relationship was described by you as complicated?

Um, yes, thank you.

I would describe my relationship with my own father as complicated, but I'm not so sure he would say the same. I suppose that I ascribe the term "complicated" to our relationship because my feelings toward him are so complicated. He is a great man, with faults of his own (but don't we all have faults?), in need of grace just like me. But I have a hard time accepting him for who he is. I want him to be the dad I have in mind, so I have great expectations for him. And guess what? He fails my expectations every time.  It's not his fault, really. It's my own fault for expecting so much out of a single human being. Could he be a better dad? Well, I say quite often there is always room for improvment, but the same could be said for my parenting skills, too.

Unfortunately, the hospital didn't hand me a parenting handbook when my kids were born, and they didn't hand one to my dad, either.

A sweet moment with my dad on my wedding day :)


But sometimes the way we view our flesh-and-blood father is how we form our view of our Heavenly Father, and because we start comparing human versus the divine, it's just not accurate.

The way I view my Heavenly Father has been shaped by what the younger me learned in church and Sunday School, and has also been influenced by my dad. I began to see God as an angry, demanding "Father" (I grew up Southern Baptisit--can anyone else relate??) who was distant enough to not be very interested in my day-to-day, but was involved enough to be watching and waiting to strike me down with lightening when I screwed up. Which was (sigh...still is) very often. The God I had formed in my head was big, domineering, punishing, severe, distant, uncaring, and scary. So, I solved the problem by dismissing Him and going about things my own way. Which worked for about 2.5 minutes, and then I found out my own way didn't work very well (deep sigh...still doesn't).

Through going to bible studies and really just reading the Bible, I slowly (emphasis on S-L-O-W-L-Y) began waking up and understanding that my view of who God is was very warped--and it has nothing to do with my daddy, either. My issues with him are completely separate and he doesn't define who God is or should be. The only thing that can do that is God's Word, which is the source of truth.

So who is God to me? Well...

He is my Comforter (3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 2 Corinthians 1: 3-4).

He is my Healer (See now that I myself am he! There is no god besides me. I put to death and I bring to life, I have wounded and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of my hand. Deuteronomy 32:39).

He is full of mercy (But in your great mercy you did not put an end to them or abandon them, for you are a gracious and merciful God. Nehemiah 9:31).

He will never leave me (Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9).

He is full of compassion (And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness...Exodus 34:6).

He is forgiving (Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Acts 13:38).

I know now that I can trust God, which is one of the biggest issues I have, but over and over again He is proving Himself to be trustworthy in my life. I love that about Him, for He is willing to do what it takes, and walk beside me even when I turn my back on Him.

So my dad doesn't live up to every expectation I have of him. I'm sure that I, as his daughter, don't live up to every expectation he has of me. This doesn't mean we can stop trying to build a relationship. It means we accept each other, faults and all. Sometimes I get angry, I feel sad, and I don't want to. Sometimes I want to lash out, but in my more sane moments I know that lashing out will only tear down the relationship that we have. So, after I try my own way which, sadly, still doesn't work, I turn to my Heavenly Father (finally) and give Him the pieces. I know I can trust Him.



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