Last year my granddaughter met her father. He was present for her birth, but soon after became an absent father. Through the toddler years she was completely unaware that anything was missing from her life. She had her mother, and of course, she had her Granny. As she grew and the questions began, they were matters-of-fact, not emotionally driven inquiries. Her mother very wisely responded to the questions with enough honesty to admit that she did not have the answers as to why he didn’t care.
Teachers presented their special Father’s Day crafts for the children to make, unaware that she does not know hers. Being a quiet child, she carefully completed her works of art and took them to home to her grandfather. Little by little she began to piece together this puzzle to find that the missing piece was supposed to be an important one. Her friends had fathers or step-fathers. Where was hers? Realizations began to settle in and conversations about his absence at times brought tears.
I don’t know what prompted his desire to re-enter her life. It was met with much skepticism by her mother and great discussions occurred before a meeting was set. As every good mother can imagine, the protective instincts reached new heights as this door was preparing to open. He dare not leave again once he has entered. He dare not break her heart.
The meeting was set and mother and daughter talk about the plan. Kylie easily accepted the idea that she would meet him until the scheduled day arrived. She exited the school bus with a slow step and a troubled countenance. She did not want to go. My daughter understood and began to offer suggestions to make it easier. She doesn’t have to call him Dad, she can call him by his name. She can pretend he is just another one of Mommy’s friends that she’s never met until now. She will not be alone with him, she can just look and listen if that’s all she wants to do. It’s just an introduction.
“I have to face my fears.”
Not bad for a six-year-old!
There are giants in the land. We all see them They are people and situations and circumstances that seem to tower over us, obstacles in our effort to get to the promised land. We fear them. We feel small in comparison to them. We do not know how to face them. But we must.
We have a Father Who goes with us. He is there to protect us, to encourage us, to empower us to prevail. He has ensured our victory, but we must act. We must trust in His ability and desire to help us and we must take steps of faith to move forward. We must face our fears.
The central key to facing fear is to acknowledge and embrace this love God has for us.
“There is no fear in love – dread does not exist – but full-grown love turns fear out-of-doors and expels every trace of terror!” 1 John 4:18
His love drives out fear! But we cannot sit in the safety of our homes waiting to feel no fear before we move. We move by faith and confidence in His love and He dispels the terror as we go!
Many, many years ago twelve spies were sent to scope out the promised land that God had planned for His people. It was a place where He promised they would experience peace and rest and abundant provision. But it was occupied by the Canaanites who would have to be overthrown in order for Israel to possess the land. The spies returned and ten reported their fears. They saw giants in the land and had no confidence for a victorious takeover. Only two spies saw this land through the love of God – they believed in His ability to do exactly what He said He would do – give them success. But they were outvoted. Their fear of the giants not only cost them the wonderful plan God had for them, but their children had to wait forty years to enter this wonderful promised land.*
It is a miserable thing to live a life afraid, to miss the wonderful things God had in mind. It is sad to know that children pay the price of parents who live afraid. I know. I did for many years. But not anymore!! His love set me free!
And Kylie? She and her dad have a slowly developing relationship. She recently spent her first time alone with him and she is happy. She faced her fears and she is stronger. She knows who her Heavenly Father is. He is love.