Fathers and Daughters

This past weekend I had the privilege of going home to see my family. It was crazy time full of laughter, fun, childhood friends, and an old fashioned square dance. Even with all the fun planned the first thing I wanted to do on arriving was run into my father’s arms – and stay there!  The last few weeks of ministry have been rough and challenging to say the least and nowhere on earth do I find a place which holds more physical security and peace than in the arms of my Dad.

Knowing I had a rough few weeks, Pops arrange to take me out on a date. I love daddy dates by the way! As one of 7 daughters, a date with ‘Papa’ as we endearingly call him is always special. My Dad was my first date at age 14. It was fun then – but looking back now, it was monumental in my life.

Fathers, whether they know it or not, are the first to speak value and identity into their daughters. Girls learn what is and is not the normal way to treat and be treated by men from their dads.

There is a lot of weight to the thought that girls marry and date guys like their dad. Not the same professions, looks, or personality but character traits – lazy or hard working, a leader or a follower, etc. Sadly in unhealthy abuse situations girls don’t think they are worth more than the way their dad treated them.  Unless they do a lot of work to readjust their thinking – they will often marry abusers as well. I 've had teens I work with break up with really amazing godly boyfriends and their only reason is that the guy was too good for them. They didn’t know how to react when they were treated like a lady.

Women seek approval, acceptance and worth from men. Since the fall, it’s almost an ingrained trait in us. If we don’t get it in a healthy way from our dads (and ultimately the Lord) we will turn to other men (and boys!) to get it or even rebel to the point of lesbianism and desiring that approval from other women.

My Dad “dated” me all through high school; he told me and showed me that I was worth something - I was loved, beautiful, accepted, and wanted. He not only emotionally affirmed me, but intellectually and spiritually challenged me as well. I didn’t have much of a desire to date in high school because I knew how a guy should treat a girl and most of the guys in high school wanted only one thing. Thanks to my Dad I knew I had something worth waiting for and had many things to offer a godly man someday.

My Dad and I don’t have a perfect relationship but four years after leaving his roof and living independently, I thank him for giving me feet to stand and wings to fly. Ten years after my “first date” I asked my dad why he “dated” me then and now. He said “as a young girl I wanted you to get your affirmation from me and not look for it else where and now – well I knew you just needed some Papa time”. Thank you Pops.

Men, if you’re reading this, please date your daughters. Work on the relationship, as we might not always want it but we need it. Show us we are worth fighting for. Don’t have daughters? Little sisters, nieces, cousins and the single mother’s daughter down the road all need you. Girls in your youth group need you. Women respond to men and vice versa – it’s way easier to display godly femininity when godly masculinity is shown to us. We absorb actions without realizing it. Men, girls need you!

Girls, I know it’s not always easy to be friends with your dad, and maybe you don’t have a dad that would ever “date” you, but your dad needs your affirmation as much as you need his. Guys are all about respect – if you blow him off he’s not going to ask to do anything with you again anytime soon. Girls, let your dad or a dad figure in your life love you. Encourage their efforts – its not easy being a dad and they don’t understand your emotions any more than you do at times.

Cut him some slack and show your dad you want to be loved by him. He’s not a mind reader – ask him. “Dad – think we could do something together (and name something specific) – it would mean a lot to me if we did...” And girls, pray for him. If you don’t have a dad or maybe you have an abusive one, he’s hurting too – pray for him and then seek someone else out to be a “dad”. I have a “second dad” closer to where I live that I can bounce stuff off of.  What a blessing this man is to me!

One last thing – Dads will always fail you. I love my dad - he’s my hero, but he is no more perfect than I am.  The Lord never fails though and the acceptance and identity that come through Him can never be taken away. If you haven’t had a good experience with your dad, seeing the Lord as a father is a difficult thing to do but I challenge you – good or bad Dad experience – to ask the Lord to be a Father to you – to show you what a perfect Father looks like. He is the ultimate safe place for us to be weak, to be safe, to be secure and to have peace. He never disappoints and I fall in love* with Him more every day. I encourage you to date your dad and/or your Heavenly Father.




*Check out my blog on "Falling in Love with Jesus!?!"

What Are You Waiting For?

When it comes to sex, why are we waiting?  We are told not to have premarital sex, we’re told to be pure and save ourselves. But why? We’re told sex outside of marriage is wrong and maybe sometimes we’re told about diseases or adverse emotional effects – but why are we told to wait? Why does the Bible say it is wrong? What and why are we waiting for?
In Dannah Gresh’s newest book, “What Are You Waiting For – The One Thing No One Ever Tells You About Sex?” she answers those questions and more. She explains the “why not” and the “just don’t”. I received this book for free from Waterbrook Multnomah’s Blogging for Books program to read and review it for them. It is by far the best book I have ever read on sex for young women; and although written for women, some guys would really get a lot out of it too. It combines scripture, science and real life examples.

Gresh is also not afraid to tackle the hard issues of porn, homosexuality and masturbation.  She does a great job of being real, without getting graphic. Her word studies into the Hebrew and Greek make scriptures come alive as you hear God's heart on human sexuality. This is a MUST read for all unmarried girls* and young adults.

I highly recommend this book for youth leaders – it is a big tool we can use to address why we wait to have sex. There are discussion questions in the back if you choose to use it as a small group curriculum. It is designed more for the individual but can be used for small groups. God doesn’t say no to spoil our fun, He says no because of …. Well – you’ll just have to read it!

Parents, if you have older teenage girls or young adult daughters this book will be a huge resource to you both. It’s the most balanced, biblical and scientific blend on purity that I have ever read. And it’s not just for girls who haven’t had sex yet. It speaks to young ladies wherever they are at. Get it. You will be glad you did!


*Due to the content of the book I wouldn’t recommend it for girls any younger than 16 unless the parents have read it first or the girls are mature.

Is

Is. The state of being. Who you are - we are - right now, in this moment. Present. We only physically live in the state of “Is”. Yet we never really do. At least I don’t.  I’m always dwelling on the ‘what was’ or the ‘what can be’. I never stop and live NOW. Right here in this very moment as I write this, or the moment you are reading it. The “is” of our lives.

I’ve missed so much.

No wonder we aren’t happy or satisfied, always looking for more.

We’re missing the only thing (and the only One) we can really, physically have. The state of being – of “Is” and the I AM.

“This is where God is. In the present. I AM – His very name…. I AM, so full of the weight of the present, that time’s river slows to a still… and God Himself is timeless. It’s not the gifts [that He has given us] that fulfill, but the holiness of the space. The God in it … This is a supreme gift, time, God Himself framed in moment. [“Is”] … time is only of essence, because time is the essence of God, I AM. This I need to
consecrate: time.” – One Thousand Gifts, Ann Voskamp

Can I learn to do that? Concentrate the now?

Right now “is” the only moment I have love Him. Here I can “Yada”* my Lord!?! The I AM?

If He is present I want to be also.

Today I am learning this. Learning how to simply be**.  He’s the one that created me to be, is He not? “Your hands have made me and fashioned me, give me understanding that I may learn your commandments.” Psalm 119:73.   Who has He made me right in this moment? Can I worship Him by just being?

I ran away to Lake Ontario yesterday to take a step back, to stop long enough to see a moment to be.  I found joy in simply being – joy in delighting in the small gifts of I AM.

Delighting in who I am now – a 24, single, young woman. I have the freedom to just take off – can I not rejoice in this season?  Feel the cool sand between my toes and the waves that chase my feet back to dry ground as I dwell on Him? Here with me on this beach – present - I AM?

I want to capture these moments and live them because He is HERE.  The wind calls me higher as I swing like a child. I thank God for seats big enough for adults and I pump higher and higher as my toes soar towards the budding trees.

 The sun is calling to me and my sunglasses take flight of their own and plummet to ground below.  I revel in the wind as it whips through my now loose hair making it feel like a flowing ebony mane as it tangles behind me – joy.

As I hike along the lake searching for a resting place, I silently thank my parents for my name. My given name means pure water.  I marvel at how much closer I feel to the I AM when I am next to water. He is here.

Cresting the horizon is a grassy knoll that over looks the lake with a field of dandelions – the perfect resting spot. I am over come with an irresistible urge to rejoice in the now - in dandelions. My fingers itch – can they remember how to weave a dandelion crown?  

How silly – a grown women weaving flowers in the middle of a field. How delightful. Right now in this moment I don’t care who sees. The I AM is here. I put the crown on in awe of how He clothes the grass of the field and how much more He clothes and cares about me.  He is here.

Do you remember how fun it is to play with your shadow? If we are created in His image are we not also His shadow? Left to testify of the imprint of His light in this world? Here too, is the I AM.

He is waiting to delight in you as well. Turn around – the I AM  “is”.

*Yada - Hebrew meaning to know and be known, respected... Check out this blog for more.
** This blog has not been edited on purpose - dwelling on being now - in all it's imperfect and glory.
Thanks to One Thousand Gifts for the inspiration - it's a must read!

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I'm a fun loving, people person, with a passion for ministry and the Lord. My greatest desire is to see people come to realize who they are in Christ and how that effects every area of their relationships and lives.I want to know Him more.