Yesterday while walking through Walmart, my oldest daughter pulled me aside to whisper something to me.
“Your dad is in the next aisle over. He saw us but kept walking.”
“Are you sure?” I asked her, hoping maybe she was wrong.
“It was him. He has his COVID mask on, but I know it’s him. He looked me in the eyes.”
A knot was instantly in the pit of my stomach. Should I follow him and say something? It’s one thing for him to ignore me, but quite harder for this momma bear to deal with him ignoring my kids. They are amazing, and the fact that he wants nothing to do with them makes my heart feel like it was ripped in two.
“No.” The voice, to my relief, interrupted my now spiraling thoughts. It was the voice of the Holy Spirit. “I am your father. Remember whose you are.”
I wish I could say this was the first time this happened, but unfortunately it isn’t. It keeps happening. I wish I could even say it gets easier each time, but it doesn’t. The sting that hits my eyes almost instantly still catches me off guard each time.
It’s not that I haven’t tried. I have. I have called….. so. many. times. I have dropped off gifts. I have sent letters. I have shown up unexpectedly. Each time, with some childlike hope that maybe this time, this time it would be different. It never is.
I remember one time, after hanging up from another unanswered phone call, the complete feeling of rejection that started to wash over my heart. The Lord interrupted my thoughts then, too.
“Its the responsibility of the father to pursue a relationship with the child. Not the other way around.”
Wow. I had never considered that before. But we see it in Scripture.
“We love because he first loved us.” 1 JOHN 4:19 NLT
Every time I tried and was rejected, it seemed to compound the hurts that came before it. But this time, as the Lord spoke this into my heart, it started to reach a space that I had kept closed off for so long.
“Perhaps I am keeping you from something, protecting you. I can redeem ALL things! You have seen me do it! Don’t you think that if I wanted you to have this relationship in your life, I would see that and help you? Don’t doubt me daughter.”
It was one of the most candid moments of hearing the Lord speak. Part loving discipline and part rescue from the longing. Certainly the one who restores could have mended this relationship if He wanted to. It’s not like there hand’t been opportunity or willingness on my part.
Almost immediately, an image of a long buried trauma surfaced. I had forgotten it, that’s how buried it was. It was almost as if the wind was knocked out of me. I had forgotten the pain of that moment until now. This was why….. this was why God was protecting me from that relationship. All these years I had cried out to God to give me something that wasn’t good for me. All these years I carried the burden of being the “Christian” that “should” keep trying. All these years, it was my heavenly Father who was protecting me from something I didn’t even remember.
“I love you, daughter. That will never change. I have adopted you as my own, and have been pursuing you, for your entire life.
I am enough for you.”
God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. Ephesians 1:5 NLT
The truth is, I am a daughter of the King. He pursued me because He wanted a relationship with me because it is what He wanted to do. It wasn’t forced up on Him. I didn’t need to chase Him down. He didn’t look past me.
He sent Jesus to come get me.
As we face a season of socially distant holiday celebrations, perhaps this will be the year that we understand not just who we are, but whose we are. My prayer for you in this season is that you will realize how incredible His love for you is.
A daughter of the King,
Rachael is a Missionary with Children of the Nations, a global orphan care organization. She works hard to help children all over the globe know that they are loved by God. You can keep up with her at her blog shehears.org