I’m going to tell a story today. I think it will be the beginning of a tiny little series on being known by God. They Lord has been pressing on my heart consistently from Deuteronomy 34:10 “…Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face”—one small descriptive written about Moses after his death. What an identity! Identity statements always make me stop a while and think, but this one has forced me to stand still…to linger.
So to start…
He walked through the living room of our tiny house. It was Saturday morning and Tom & Jerry cartoons were playing in the background of a kitchen that still smelled like pancakes. I hopped up from my chair, hands still sticky from syrup trying to pull back hair that hadn’t yet seen a brush. I followed after him like a puppy. Today was my favorite day of the week. It was the day when my daddy was home from work, I was home from school and the outdoors called our name. My dad was working on a new woodshed to store his tractor and the chopped wood that would keep our house warm that winter. And all my eight year old self wanted to do was follow right in behind him. He watched closely to help me navigate around the sea of 2x4s and nails and ladders and tools. I was in heaven. He taught me how to make a chalk line and how to use a level. If I close my eyes just tight enough, I can still smell the way his flannel shirt wore the scent of sawdust and sweat. We spent hours together. I learned that he was the greatest man that ever lived. I learned that he knew just about everything about everything. I learned that he could provide for our family, make me feel safe and teach me a thing or two. He was gentle. He was strong.
He walked through the living room of my grandma’s house. It was Friday afternoon and he was covered in sweat from his morning run. He stooped down to pick up Layla and give her a kiss on his way to making a stack of peanut butter crackers. Time was busy marching forward and I missed him like crazy. I was a mother now and I was beginning to realize there was so much about my daddy that was still a mystery to me. Something in my heart longed to be close to him. I decided in my mind that I would start running. I needed discipline anyway. He promised me that once I could run 5 miles without stopping, then I could go out on a run with him. I made it to 5 miles. My first run with him is still one of the best days of my life. It was just the two of us—no interruptions, no distractions…just the rhythm of feet hitting pavement. I decided 5 miles wasn’t enough and asked him to train me for a marathon. He agreed. What followed was a season of running with my dad at least three days a week. We spent hours on the road together. I could write a book on all that I learned those years…he spoke a lot about training my body but he always tied it to training my spirit.
Those two years brought a lot of change. My husband lost his job, we nearly lost our house, my world was being turned upside down. But every Friday night, I’d meet my dad for a long run. My heart became an open book to him. We joked that it was just “running talk”—which was short for “let’s keep this on the road and between the two of us”. It was the first time in my life that my dad was let into the unveiled caverns of my heart. It was grown up talk, for sure—there were some tears….some laughs…and some frustrations laid out on a stretch of pavement that went on for miles. I think he probably learned a lot about me. But can I tell you something? I learned a lot about him. I learned that he was sometimes afraid. I learned that there were things that broke his heart. I learned the things that made him angry and frustrated. I learned that he had regrets and hopes and quirks. I saw his heart those years. He was still the man I knew up on the roof of that woodshed—a provider and protector—gentle and strong. But now he had depth. NOW….I knew him deeply because time had allowed me to make myself known to him. I was a child that had been given access. He was my father—a name said with all the love and trust and child-likeness as ‘daddy’ was, but with the awe and respect that comes with being let inside. “Father”…I say even now with a smile.
The Lord has been pressing on my heart to know Him as my Father—to know Him intimately as my Father…to be a child with access. It is the endpoint of what will be a journey. As I began to ask Him what was required, He reminded me of the sweetest relationship I have with my earthly father by replaying those stories that you just read. I am thankful He is showing me what is required—pursuit, time and vulnerability (opening up that heart of mine and being really known by Him). So the next post(s), when I have time, will be about those things. I am excited. He is bringing me into a closeness that I have wanted for so long. Ahhh…look at that Father of mine, noticing me.