I’ve been thinking about this day for awhile now.
The day marking three months since my dad left for his forever home. Three months is how long I got to be with my dad before cancer stole his life.
Three months that has caused me to re-think, reflect and re-orient to a life of being unable to pick up the phone and hear my dad’s voice,
I do have a few voicemails I still get to hear these very words. But it’s different….I don’t get to say, “Hi dad” and enjoy a conversation with him.
I woke up in the middle of the night and God whispered to my heart.
“A daughter pursued.”
It’s the same words He whispered to my heart in the middle of the night shortly before my dad went home. My heart felt crushed.
God asked me in the middle of the night to stop and consider what I had been given in an earthly daddy.
My parents divorced when I was seven.
My memories before that event are of a very present, loving and pursuing dad. My memories after that are a present as could be, loving and pursuing dad.
I don’t remember how long it took for the shock to wear off, but I learned to adjust that my dad was no longer tucking me in at night, rubbing my back and praying with me “if I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord, my soul to take.”
I don’t remember how long it took before my heart grew angry. I only remember when I found ways to temporarily escape the pain with alcohol, drugs, sex and rock and roll. It seemed to work at the time.
My dad watched his girl become a mess. I watched my dad pace in his backyard knowing he was crying out to Jesus for his baby girl. I listened to my dad lecture, plea and at times cry in his attempt to keep me on the straight and narrow.
My dad was relentless in his pursuit of me.
My dad’s heart was broken over me at times. To watch someone you love in self-destructing behaviors is deeply painful. To add pain to pain, my dad witnessed me getting myself into messes for many years.
When my life came to a crashing halt at forty-two years old, I can still hear my dad’s plea, “Kandace, no!” My dad went to his knees and cried out to Jesus for his daughter and her family.
He cried out for the freedom of my soul and his prayer has been answered.
My dad’s pursuit of me was always in the midst of his own deep battles.
Before he passed, he shared things I never knew. I sat next to him on his hospice bed as his daughter/sister and poured out tears with him. We confessed our collective gratitude for a Heavenly Father who loved us both and never let go of us. God’s presence came in that moment with such a thickness that any concept of holiness I once had was washed away and overtaken by Perfect Love Himself.
This is where I was at in the middle of the night…feeling the gift of being a daughter pursued by both my dad and my Heavenly Father. Feeling the sorrow of those who can’t say that…
feeling the urge to unashamedly and boldly say these words to you today:
You are a daughter or son pursued. You may not have had an earthly daddy like mine, but you have one in Heaven whose love for you is so perfect, that if you will trust in that love, all your fears and anxieties will melt like wax in His presence.
Again and again and again.
As present as my dad was for me, my dad was not perfect. He was a broken, forgiven and made whole human being like we all can be.
You not only have an ever present, loving Father in Heaven relentlessly pursing you, you have a perfect Father in Heaven relentlessly pursing you. He has pursued you to the ends of the earth and displayed His perfect love for you in His Son who bled and died for you on a Cross.
Jesus rose from the grave to not only show us how to die but how to be resurrected into a new eternal life, having access to things in Heaven even while living here on this beautiful and hurting earth.
I know this is hard if you had a dad who abandoned, abused or neglected you. And though my dad didn’t do those things, the pain of not having him in my daily life after seven years old, left all kinds of questions in my little heart and mind.
God knows your story. He knows your whys. He knows what or who you turn to when life sucks or your heart needs comfort. You turning away from Him doesn’t mean He turns away from you. No matter where you are at or where you go, He remains in one place.
That place is the place of a Father who relentlessly pursues relationship with His kids. His ways are perfect and though He never stops pursuing, He will wait for us. He will allow us to come to genuine desire to be with Him, realizing there’s no other place to go to receive what we tirelessly search for.
My heart is fragile today but don’t mistake that as a heart that’s not filled with deep gratitude for the years I was given with a dad who pursued me until his passing. I miss my dad more than words can convey. I look forward to the day I get to see his healed face and body, knowing we will both be worshiping at the feet of the One who pursued us both, even to His own death.
That, my dear friends, makes want to jump up from this kitchen bar and do a victory dance.