Sunday, May 22, 2011

Daddy God

So I'm typing this in my daughter's room. I just put her to bed.

Putting my daughter to bed is one of the most precious times in my week. It's a time of connection, relationship building and intimacy. It often reminds me of what is really important.

As I was putting her to bed, I just had some random thoughts. They were really too personal and complex for a Facebook post. So if my Facebook friends want to think deeper thoughts with me, they must leave the medium of Facebook and enter this world of multiple words and paragraphs. Honestly, I'm not going to spend a long time crafting this...I'm sure the usual spelling, grammar and punctuation mistakes will be there. I'm just processing -- and if you want to read my thoughts, you may do so if you so choose.

So just some quick musings...

1. Scripture suggests that God loves me far more perfectly and completely than I love my daughter.

Wow. No way.

If that is true (and I take it by faith that it is), that ONE concept is so far beyond my comprehension. So far beyond my comprehension that, quite honestly, I'm not sure I will ever grasp it. Or (and this sounds like heresy, I know), really believe it.

I want to believe it... but I'm not sure I do most of the time. Or I believe it in an intellectual way, but not really at the core of who I am and how I live.

Confession: I often struggle with seeing God as more than Big God.

Sovereign God.

Powerful God.

I can kind of "get" the forgiveness thing -- I mean, I believe and know that God forgives -- but mostly because He has to forgive me because it's in His nature.

I sometimes struggle with God as Gentle Daddy.

The Playful Daddy.

The One who really just wants to spend time with me because He delights in me.

Moments ago, I was laying there, watching my daughter sleep. She was cuddled into me because she was afraid of the storm. She quickly fell asleep, knowing she was now safe with her Big Dad.

I get that.

I see God that way. God is strong. God protects. God is big.

But then...

Then I just laid there. I watched her sleep. And honestly, there was no other place in the world I wanted to be more than right there in that moment with her. We weren't DOING anything. I wasn't doing anything. We weren't relating in any conscious way. She was just laying there, quietly snoring in my ear. And my love for her in that moment was overwhelming.

And I think, "God loves me more than this?"

Honestly, it is overwhelming to me.

And it should be to you as well.

2. When I take Lydia to bed, we have our routine. My wife also has a routine with her. I found out they are very different. But both routines connect us to our daughter.

Sometimes, when I go to put her to bed, I'm in a hurry. I want to get through the routine. I'm busy or distracted or I have things to do. Sometimes, quite honestly, I don't initially want to go through our routine...

But the routine gives space for relationship. It almost forces (facilitates?) relationship.

And sometimes, in the midst of that same-old, same-old routine, we find moments of true intimacy and connection. It becomes a channel for us to express love and care.

I wonder if this is how God sees our devotional life? The metaphor doesn't fit perfectly, but it seems to me that the goal is not a quiet time. A routine. The goal is connection and relationship. But the regular practice of spiritual disciplines (routines) can place us in a position where, every now and then, we have true connection with God.

The routine is for us. Not for God.

3. Final thought for now. In the past several years I've moved away from Father language for God. Some of it is theological. I believe God is MUCH bigger than one image or ideal. Some of it is pastoral - in fact - there are significant populations of people for whom God as Father is, at best, not a helpful image. At worst, it defames the character of God.

But the thing about most of my God language now is that it depersonalizes God. It makes God in to Big God. Powerful God. Sovereign God.

You see where I'm going with this, right?

So maybe... at least in my own quiet time (routine)... I will return to God as my Daddy. And maybe it if say it more, I'll believe it more.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


I've spent much of this past week writing a grant to fund a sabbatical I'm taking next summer. To say that it was this last week is misleading... I've been thinking about it for a year or so.

So the thing about writing a grant for your dream sabbatical is if you don't get it you dream is gone. This is a once in a lifetime chance. When I started it, I was kind of, "Well, if I don't get it it's not that big of a deal." But as I have finalized it... it's a big deal.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Sick Kiddo

Lydia has always had this allergy thing. She gets it multiple times a year and it's pretty bad. It starts as a cough and then she usually has a fever at some point. When I got home from work yesterday, she had it. I made her dinner and put her to bed by 7:30. I gave her this breathing treatment and some medicine the doctor recommended; we keep a large stash on hand.

So 3 am I hear her cry out, "Daddy!" (Which is some sick, I-need-to-be-needed kind of way, is one of the most beautiful sounds to me.) I go in and take care of her. Get her her medicine. Do the breathing treatment. Mostly, I just cuddle her and try to get her to relax so she doesn't cough as much.

As she is doing the breathing treatment, I've built us a little "nest" on the bed and she is cuddled into me. I read her a story and am stroking her head. I turn off the light. Then we sit quietly in the dark for a good 15 minutes or talking... just being with each other. (One of the best times of my week.) I'm stroking her forehead (which she loves) and she is doing this thing where she strokes my arm (which doesn't exactly bother me either).

At some point, I decide that both she and I need sleep, so I gently say to her, "Lydia honey, I think you need to lay back down and get some sleep."

To which she replies, "Awwww! 'Cause this was really working for me!"

It was working for me too.