Thursday, January 2, 2014

More Than a Father

I have struggled for as long as I can remember believing that I had love from a father. It's not that my father didn't love me. I believe now, as an adult, that he loved me as best as he could. There were just gaps, and unfortunately those gaps created hurt and pain. And eventually led to my belief that I did not have his love.

When I stepped into a new relationship with God last year, I finally allowed myself to be loved by my Heavenly Father. I finally allowed myself to belong. I think that at some point in time, I had given up hope that feeling cherished and cared for and pursued by a father was possible for me. Oh, how wrong I was.
----- ----- ----- ----- -----

It's been two years since my father passed away. This has been a hard season of me processing through grief
and just allowing myself to feel the absence of my father, while knowing that God will use my pain for His glory and ultimately heal those areas that I allow to be exposed.

I think the biggest area that I have felt my father's absence is with my car problems. If you know me, you know all about my Jeep. You can hear it coming from down the street. It's not pretty, has had manymany issues over the years, but it has kept running.

Maybe it seems silly to you, but you have to understand that my father's love was often expressed in practical, manly ways. It never failed that I received a flashlight, fuel injector fluid and a nail/screw set for Christmas. Every. Year.

He was just the practical type. Sometimes it bothered me, but sometimes I found it endearing. He always reminded me to get my oil changed. He always bugged me to keep my car clean and checked my tire pressure. He always checked my fluid levels and kept everything topped off.
----- ----- ----- ----- -----

When I returned to Virginia this summer, it was clear that my Jeep was barely hanging on. Honestly, it's been barely hanging on for the past few years. But, the noises coming from the Beast were a little alarming. So, the search started and the pennies began being saved.

Only hours after I looked at my budget and shot up a "I'm not quite sure how this is going to work out, so I really need you" prayer to God, I was contacted by a woman who told me that God had put me on her heart and she wanted me to nanny fairly regularly. When I shared with her that I had just been praying for God to provide more of an income for a car, she mentioned that they had one for sale.

It turned out that they were going to ask for about $2,000 for the car. Very reasonable, considering that it was a 2000 Camry with only 136,000 on it. But.... It would take me months to be able to afford it, and they were wanting to sell it within a month and a half. So, I just told them I would let them know, but not to hold it for me.

About a month later, I got a text from the wife. This is how it went down. God talked to her husband in his private prayer time. He told this man that I needed a new car and to sell it to me for whatever I could afford. I was blown away. I cried (obviously) and told her I would think about it. That night, I texted her the amount I could reasonably afford within the next few weeks ($800). Then she responded by dropping another $200 off the amount.

So, just to recap:

I talked to God.
God talked to the wife.
The wife called me to nanny.
I told her I needed a car (in a casual conversation).
They told me they wanted 2k for it (it was worth $2,600).
I told them I'd think about it (aka blew them off).
Time passed.
God talked to the husband (I found out this was a repeated thing until he eventually told his wife).
The husband talked to the wife.
The wife talked to me.
I calculated and told the wife (this was based on the amount i thought I could sell my Jeep for).
The wife responded by dropping more money (this, she said, was after much prayer again).

So, this whole time, I was feeling super encouraged by God. How many fathers would negotiate the price of a car down to a price that their daughter could afford? Probably tons of them. But, how many fathers would be able to negotiate the price and have it dropped from $2,600 to $600. None. That's right. None. Why? Because God is able to do so much more than our earthly fathers. It's in His nature. It's part of who He is. He is above all things. He is WAY bigger than the cost of a car.
----- ----- ----- ----- -----

When I went to pay for the car and get the title signed over, I had money in the bank to pay for the car (another thing God did in an amazing way). I took my checkbook in the house and as I was writing the check out, the husband told me, "Hey, just make the check out for $1.00."

"Yeah, just make the check out for a dollar. If that's okay. I just kept praying about it and felt like God wanted us to just give you the car."

Once I regained the ability to move, I wrote the check. I expressed my gratitude and left in shock.

Here's the thing that I didn't realize until a few days later (with the help of my mentor): God chose to give me this car at a specific time. I've needed a new car for years. I've been searching for years. I've tried to get second jobs and failed. I've begged and pleaded for help, believing that He would help me when it was the right time. But it was in this season, as I approached my father's birthday and the anniversary of our last few conversations and ultimately the anniversary of his death, that I needed my Heavenly Father the most.

It was in these moments when my heart ached and the what-ifs clouded my head that I needed to be reminded that there was a Heart to which I belonged. And that Heart would anticipate my every emotion, my every move. And those emotions and actions would be coupled with His actions of love and compassion. And I know now, two years later, that if I had never lost my father I wouldn't be able to experience God in this way. God has unveiled my eyes to show me that because my father passed away, I am able to have a unique relationship with my Heavenly Father. How amazing is that?

Love and compassion.

In a way that exceeds anything that I could ever ask Him for.

In a way that exceeds anything that I could ever imagine.

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." (Ephesians 3:20-21)