I grew up with a Dad who was both physically and verbally affectionate. A quiet man by nature, he was in my child’s eyes a rock of security. Firm with discipline yet generous in love.
I was the eldest of four strong-willed kids and I was tough to raise-bossy, opinionated, sassy, and frequently in trouble.
Once I shot a neighborhood boy with a friend’s “bb gun” simply because I didn’t like him! I was furious with my Mom when she came home from the hospital with a second brother and would not speak to her for days because I didn’t like the first brother who had usurped my position as “only child” at age four. A few years later Mom redeemed herself by giving me a sister.
I’m not quite sure how Mom and Dad survived those tumultuous early years of my childhood.
However there is a vivid memory of my Dad that surpasses all others and it is one that still impacts my life today.
On many occasions I remember Dad sitting in his old easy chair. As I came into his sight, he would set aside his carefully folded newspaper and pull me into his arms. Perhaps I was in tears from a recent punishment or happy because I was invited to a play date, or beset by childhood fears.
Yet, in his lap I felt safe.
And once again Daddy would say,
“Susan I love you so much.”
“Why Daddy?” I responded?
“Just because you are mine,” he replied.
It wasn’t because I’d been good or bad. Most likely I’d been bad. It was simply because I belonged to him.
That was enough.
This one statement, often repeated, gave me security and acceptance. Love from my earthly Father has enabled me to understand more clearly how my heavenly Father feels about me.
Daddy’s love for me wasn’t perfect. My heavenly Father’s love for me is perfect.
Daddy didn’t even know all the naughty things I got away with. My heavenly Father knows everything. Yet his response is still,
“I love you just because you belong to me.”
You may not have grown up with a Dad like mine. But the good news is that you can be the first of a generation of healthy families. Pull that young child into your lap. Whisper in his ear,
“I love you son. Do you know why?”
“It’s just because you are mine. You belong to me.”
Our world screams that performance earns love. Jesus says belonging to me ensures love and acceptance.
When guilt, failure, self-condemnation, and feelings of being unlovable creep into your head- rest in the truth that your heavenly Father is saying to you,
“I love you.”
Our little voice answers, “How could you?”
And He responds, “Just because you are mine. Period.”
In His lap you are safe.