The Heart of a Father

Something happens during the teen years. That child that used to follow you around with wide-eyes and constant questions disappears and an independent, resident expert on all areas of life takes their place. Or at least, that’s the way things are in the Slattery home–most days. It’s almost comical how far the tables have turned. My doting little princess is growing up and now I’m the one following her around, bombarding her with questions, hoping to find a way into that ultra-independent heart. Which makes those rare moments when my adult-sized, emotionally-childish teen curls up beside me, special. A stop-all-time-and-grab-the-moment-with-both-hands special.

Yesterday was one of those days. It couldn’t have gone any better if I had planned it. Before my daughter left for school, she curled up on the couch beside me. And we sat like that, for a good ten minutes, not saying anything. As I held her, my mommy instincts took over and I had an urge to protect, even though there was nothing to protect her from. I didn’t want her to do anything for me. I didn’t need her to say any magical words. All I wanted was her. And I could have sat there indefinitely.

She left and I turned to my to-do list. After four days zonked out in bed with the flu, it had quadrupled. The house was a mess, laundry was piled so high I was ready to send out avalanche warnings, and scene upon scene of my next story was burning in my head crying to be written. But another voice was calling just as urgently, although much softer. In fact, it was just the faintest whisper. If I chose, I probably could have ignored it. Even convinced myself I didn’t hear it. But somehow that tender moment with my daughter had opened my heart, reminding me of another parent recently forgotten.

In Isaiah 6:5 I hear the tender heart of an ever-pursuing father in God’s words, “I was ready to respond, but no one asked for help. I was ready to be found, but no one was looking for Me. I said, ‘Here I am, here I am.”

And in Isaiah 65:12, “For when I called, you did not answer. When I spoke, you did not listen.”

Only this time I did. I ignored my to-do list, let the clutter piled around my house wait, turned on some praise music and grabbed my Bible. And I could have sat there in my Father’s arms, indefinitely. He didn’t need me to do anything. I didn’t need to say any magical words. All He wanted was me. It was one of those stop-all-time-and-grab-the-moment-with-both-hands experiences.

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