“For 3 easy payments of only $14.95, you too can have this amazing miracle – fill in the blank with the latest and greatest product for home or life.” That’s all it took and for the next 30 minutes to an hour you can guarantee my dad would be glued to the TV in wonder of this product he surely wouldn’t be able to live without. When we cleaned out his apartment after he died, we found not one but TWO Miracle Mops. This is strange since he had less than 25 square feet of moppable flooring. But that’s just part of who my dad was.

“You’ve got your mother’s legs”

My dad was a lovable guy, but far from perfect. He was terrible with finances, struggled with addictions and wasn’t very present when I was little. He was also crazy creative, the life of any party and didn’t have a judgmental bone in his body. There are many ways I am like him, both good and bad. As Father’s Day approaches, I am reminded of who he was and who I am because of him.  Even in his brokenness there were times when he spoke life into me in ways that have stuck with me and shaped my identity. And God has often used my earthly father’s words to echo his divine love for me.

“You’ve got your mother’s legs.” This may seem silly and superficial, but not to me. My mom was the love of my daddy’s life (and she has nice legs!). Yes, they divorced when I was only 4. But even still, I always knew that their love for each other remained. So when my daddy told me that I had my mother’s legs, I heard, “You are like your mother whom I love…therefore, I love you. You are beautiful.”

When I was 19 years old my daddy said, “Even if you weren’t my daughter I’d want to be your friend.”  It was probably the most powerful thing he ever said to me. He not only loved me, he liked me. I knew those two things were very different. In that moment I heard, “I see YOU. I see the unique person that you are and I like that person. You are valued and you bring me joy.”

“God thinks you’re wonderful”

My dad was a disorganized mess. Along with the two Miracle Mops, also discovered in his apartment was the last birthday gift he ever bought me. I knew it was mine because, in his excitement, he had called and told me all about it. Yet here it was, three months after my actual birthday. He bought it, but hadn’t gotten around to mailing it.

However, in the midst of his disorganization, I never remember a time when he didn’t have my photo on his wall and my latest “masterpiece” of art or poetry on his refrigerator. Those things didn’t get left in pile on the table, but were proudly displayed. In this I heard, “This is MY daughter. I am proud to call her mine.”

I am reminded of a book I came across years ago by Max Lucado called “God Thinks You’re Wonderful!” It is a sweet little book, illustrated with child-like drawings, that uses human examples of ways God might show his feelings for us. One of the pages says, “If he had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it.” I remember reading that for the first time and immediately connecting the tangible love I felt from my daddy to the sometimes intangible love of God. In that moment, “For God so loved the world” became personal in a new and deeper way. It became, “God loves Dana.”

I heard,

You look like my son, whom I love…and therefore, I love you.

I see YOU. I see the unique person I created, redeemed and am restoring you to be and I really like that person!

You are valued.

You bring me joy.

I want a relationship with you.

You are important to me.

You are my child.

I am proud to call you mine.

 

“We are image bearers”

 

Though my earthly father was far from perfect, he left a pathway of love and value that God continues to use to speak to my tender heart. Even after 22 years, I still miss my daddy. Father’s Day reminds me that he is gone, but it also offers me the opportunity to remember these gifts of life that he gave me. And it calls me to receive afresh the love and value my Abba Father wants to lavish on me, his daughter. I am like my daddy in lots of ways. I have his curly hair, his sense of humor and his artistic creativity. I also have his oily skin, his inability to remain organized and his somewhat strange attraction to TV infomercials.

Like it or not, we all bear the image – in appearance and/or personality – of our earthly parents. It’s inevitable. Part of our identity is shaped by the DNA in our cells and the family we were placed into. But before your parents ever held you in their arms, there were other hands that lovingly knit you together. You bear his image too. And just like you may have your father’s nose or your mother’s laugh, God has given you parts of himself to reveal and reflect his heart right where you are. Maybe you have his eyes – eyes that see past the outside of a person and into their pain. Or did he give you feet that were made to roam the earth with good news? Certainly his thoughts were about you as he formed your very cells. And when he had flipped through all the pages of what would be your life story, he breathed you into existence and said, “This is good.”

 


One Step Further:

  • What happens inside of you as you ponder the thought “If God had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it?” Do you see yourself as a masterpiece he puts on display? Why or why not?
  • How were love and value communicated to you growing up? How might that be a pathway or a roadblock to receiving from God?
  • As you think of God knitting you together in your mother’s womb, how does that impact you? In what ways do you reveal and reflect him?