It was just over a week ago that I picked my children up after school and my son launched into all of the wonderful details of his Pre-Kindergarten field trip. They’d gone to visit a retirement home and, somewhere between his school and the home, he saw his daddy. He was speaking quickly and trying to get every last detail out before his sisters interrupted him, as they so often do. It was during his recap that this scene unfolded in the back seat:
Wyatt: “And then Daddy appeared next to my window and I was all like ‘Guys! Look – it’s my daddy!”
Henley: “Daddy who?”
Wyatt: *incredulous look* “Daddy Jonathon! What’s wrong with you?”
I couldn’t stop laughing after this hilarious exchange of words and expression. And I still had to manage to drive my way over to pick up our youngest child before we headed home.
I know somewhere in the shuffle of Wyatt’s jumbled words, Henley got lost in his explanation and her question came out a little wrong. But just as I pulled up to the sitter’s house to grab Willow I heard Wyatt saying in a softer, calmer voice, “I can’t believe you didn’t know who Daddy was.” He seemed a little taken aback that this man he calls Dad…who’s footsteps he tries to follow…seemed to have no identity to his sister as he told this story.
I’ll admit, this was one of those times I had to reenact the whole thing to several of my friends. I was still laughing about it days later. So was Henley! I would act out the look on Wyatt’s face when his older sister asked “Daddy who?” I made sure to add all of the finer details that made it even more interesting, like the tone of his voice upon asking what was wrong with his sister.
But, eventually, I had to stop and really focus on Henley’s question. How pertinent it is to our society.
I didn’t grow up a Christian in the basic sense of the word. Surely not what I’d understand a Christian to be as I form that opinion now. I knew who Jesus was, of course. I came from a loving family who put others first. I had a grandfather who prayed with his wife each night before bed and would always tell me that everything was in “The good Lord’s hands.”
But we didn’t live to follow Christ.
And I had no idea what that even meant.
For me…it was easy to ask the question “Daddy who?” for a really long time.
As I grew into an adult and began the slow process of learning about faith I spent a lot of time in prayer. I told myself it might also be a good idea to read the Bible. But it was really hard in the beginning. I think it was because I didn’t ask Him to help me understand it.
Then again, it might have had a little to do with the fact that the only Bible I owned was a King James Version. Regardless, I still stand by my first statement. Once I asked Him to enlighten me to His Word I began absorbing it like a sponge.
Needless to say, I stumbled around on the word “Christian” for years. I made some bad choices, but I had a lot of excuses to go along with them. In my mind, the good outweighed the bad. And if you’ve ever heard Candace Cameron Bure deliver a message on this you’ll know what I’m talking about.
I struggled with stuff that most girls my age struggled with. Self image. Confidence. Making a name for myself in regard to a career. Shacking up with my boyfriend. Sin didn’t seem like sin because we didn’t call it that.
And I’m pretty sure it’s all because I didn’t know the answer to that question. “Who is your Daddy?”
To know my Father in heaven is to know his Son. I can’t get to Him without Jesus. But to know who God is – is to know Christ. It is to know His identity.
Chasing that identity was the missing link.
If I’d known this at the time, I could’ve told you that I was to accept one another because Christ accepted me first. To live is Christ is to live as Christ. I don’t accept another person because I feel like it. Or don’t. I accept another person because He did it first and I live to follow that example.
If I’d known this at the time, I could’ve told you that I was to humble myself under the mighty hand of God. Christ came to serve…certainly not to be served. Yet I can think of many a time that my expectations have far exceeded what I’ve truly deserved and humbling myself to that of a servant was the furthest thing from my mind.
If I’d known this at the time, I could’ve told you that I was to free myself from worry and take those moments of anxiety straight to Him, just as Christ would do. How often does Jesus retreat to spend time alone in prayer? How often would I try to take on the world and all its problems on my own?
If I’d known this at the time, I could’ve told you that I was to forgive others their sins because my heavenly Father forgives me. I’ve never been much for holding a grudge, but I can tell you that if I’d been wronged I would always just walk away from the individual and never give them a second thought. Not a good place to be for me or for them. Jesus forgave sin over and over and He did it with love. And it was His ultimate sacrifice on the cross that bridged the gap forever so that we have a gift of salvation bigger than any of this.
I love learning who my Daddy is. As time goes on and I grow and chase and run and stumble and embrace what this word “Christian” means – I settle on making sure I’m doing everything I can to wear His shoes. To be those hands and those feet… Sometimes it’s through the Word and sometimes it’s through my personal interaction with Him. Be it soft and simple, I learn through those convictions how to put those words into action. How to set my heart to follow Him.
He guides me where I am now inclined to follow.
Learning how to answer that question…”Daddy who?” is critical. If I don’t ever understand Who He is, how on earth can I follow in His footsteps to begin with?
I’m joining the following writers for these link-ups today:
Jennifer Dukes Lee for #TellHisStory
Holley Gerth and Coffee For Your Heart
Kristin Hill Taylor for Three Word Wednesday
Love this!! Of course the story is hilarious & I can just picture it. But you have to show me the “face” Wyatt did.
And the transition to scripture & knowing our heavenly daddy is beautiful & so true. Thanks for your thoughts!
Thank you, Leisa! I’ve done it so much that I have it rehearsed down to a T. 😉
This is a wonderful, powerful story! I l love love love how the innocence of kids can bring such clarity to all of life’s complexities!! Thank you for sharing this insight and your testimony.
God bless you!
Anne @ http://www.frontporchinspired.com
Thank you for that encouragement, Anne. So grateful for your visit today!
As someone who else didn’t grow up as a Christian, this really strikes a chord in me. Thanks for proclaiming the gospel right here AND entertaining us with your kids’ story! 🙂 I’m glad you linked up at #ThreeWordWednesday today.
Thanks, Kristin! 🙂
Oh Jennifer this is so beautiful! I just love, love, love the story with your children. It made me smile big. I can really relate to not knowing God as daddy or Father. I grew up seeing Jesus as somber and serious in all things. In the last couple of years he’s showing me more of his daddy love and delight. Really loved this Jennifer!
Thank you so much, Jolene!
Stopping by from Tell His Story- thanks so much for sharing! Knowing who God really is – wow that is SO important, but way too often we manage to overcomplicate and miss the point completely :/ I love your vulnerability, and of course your kids sound just adorable! Blessings to you!