The Gift of a Father When We Feel Father-less
Do you smell that?
Pumpkin spice goodness has officially filled the air… I can take a deep breath, sip a fragrant, warm latte, take out my journal and begin reflect on my year thus far…
Hmmm… wait a second… as I take this unusually deep, peaceful breath, I am beginning to remember what the falling red leaves and pumpkin patches truly signify…
CHRISTMAS IS RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER!
Alright, scratch that journalling session! Can I get a refund on the latte? I need to get to work!!
If you’re anything like my wife has been ever since our three beautiful daughters entered the picture, come fall time, all you can think about is that when the air welcomes its first crisp fall breeze, a huge work load is right around the corner. And, what is the most practical response to an impending mountain of tasks? Well, of course…
Come November your calendar will be filled with dinner parties, white elephant gift exchanges, traveling to visit relatives and, worse, they will be traveling to your home to see how good (or not so good) of a decorator you turned out to be! For the modern wife and mother, the possibility of enjoying the holidays means you get yourself organized early to tackle the countless number of tasks to come.
But, as I sit here with my own Pumpkin Spice Latte, I wonder if our Good Father might just have a different kind of preparation in mind for us as we prepare for the winter season festivities.
I’ve always been big on gift giving. When my daughters were young we would shower them with (seemingly) endless presents. Not because we were rich. Quite the opposite, actually. I have been a pastor for my children’s entire life time. But, my wife and I made a conscious decision to always make Christmas magical for our girls. We would save our money all year long to ensure we would be able to lavish upon our kids, if only for one day of the year.
One particularly bountiful looking Christmas eve, a friend visited our home and couldn’t help but guffaw at the pile of presents taking up the entire living room. After he stopped staring, pointing, and laughing, he asked me why on earth I had decided to give so many presents to my daughters. Not many questions am I so prepared to answer, but this one, I sure was ready for.
When I was just a little boy, my father abandoned me, my three siblings, and my mother. He left us penniless in a time when it was very difficult for women to make money. Well, my mother, not being your average woman, decided to beat the odds and raise us on her singular salary. She did whatever work she needed to do in order to ensure we always had the things we needed. Mind you, we never had anything we wanted, per se, but anything we needed, we never wanted for.
Now, the reason for all the presents is two-fold. First, being poor as we were, you can imagine Christmas was difficult. But, you know what is so remarkable about my mother? She made sure that, no matter how hard it was, we always had plenty of presents for Christmas. There was never a question as to whether I would feel lavished upon. It is only as an adult that I have come to appreciate the true sacrifice she made in order for this to happen. My mom truly loved me and she made sure I knew it every Christmas morning during my childhood.
The second reason for all the presents is a bit more painful. Although my mother fought to make Christmas special for us kids, it was a little more difficult for us to share gifts with others. The money had pretty much run out at that point. One year, my class did a Christmas gift exchange. I begged my mother to allow me to participate. She said, “Rick, now we don’t have any money left, except a few cents… BUT I think a few cents is all you’ll need. Take these pennies, run to the corner store and buy some chocolate covered cherries. Your secret Santa will love them.”
And, run I did. Sure enough, all the cherries cost were a few cents. I wrapped them in paper and proudly took my present to school. Little did I know, my humble gift went to one of the (relatively) rich kids at school. But, after class let out, I saw the boy eating the cherries across the lawn, so I rushed over to him to say “hi”. As I got close, I yelled “Do you like your gift?” I had a grin on my face, as I was sure he did.
But, as I approached him, my grin fell. As it turned out, he hadn’t opened the box of cherries to eat them. No. As I stood right in front of him, not sure what was going on, he took the opportunity to throw the opened box of cherries right into my face. As the cherries hit me and red gunk burst all over my clothes, he said “I don’t want your stupid present.” And, he walked away.
This was the first time in my life that I felt poor.
My vision of the cherries on my face and clothes went blurry as I began to cry. And, in that moment, I purposed in my heart that I was never going to let anyone make me feel that way again. Ever.
These days, the sting of that moment feels far off, but, surprisingly, I can find moments revolving around gift giving where I can be suspicious that a person thinks that my gift isn’t good enough. That I’m not good enough. I can become insecure.
I took this feeling to God a number of years ago, and He revealed something profound. God showed me that when that boy was so cruel to me that day, I purposed in my heart that I would “Father” myself in times where I might be embarrassed. And, to this day, I must admit I struggle with this idea. Will I be embarrassed? Will I be found out as a fraud or “less than”?
My question for you, as you prepare for all the trimmings of the holiday season, is “Do you have a place deep in your heart that you’re trying to “self-Father”? Is there an area of your heart that wants to control or make sure you don’t feel unloved or guard from hurt?
Let Immanuel be with you.
Immanuel means “God with us”. This is one of the great gifts (speaking of gifts) of the birth of Christ. He is WITH US. How often do you think about that when you’re beginning to feel overwhelmed with all the work that’s expected of you? I know I sure can forget it easily. But, I wonder what would happen if, in preparation for the holiday season, we all took time, real time, to prepare our hearts for the work that God might want to do in us this holiday season. Just as we long to give good (and many!) gifts to our friends and loved ones, our Good Father longs to lavish His love and gifts on us.
Are you ready to accept the gifts God has for You this holiday season?
So, maybe, before the crisp fall breeze turns to a winter storm, it would be worth having that Pumpkin Spice latte after all. Just, think about sharing it with Immanuel, too.
Pastor Rick Evans
Many of God's people carry around an unhealed orphan who cries out to be seen, cared for, and healed. Healing An Orphan Heart is about helping you recognize orphan issues and how to give your True Father permission to heal your heart in profound ways. Some of the topics included in this groundbreaking book: -Why Orphan ecosystems are so damaging -Learning how to identify orphan traits in your life -What the Bible says about "adoption identity" -How to invite God into the lonely and painful places -How to be an orphan no more! Rick Evans is an internationally known speaker, spending the last three decades pastoring churches and equipping believers to move in the gifts and power of the Holy Spirit. Married to Lisa for 40 years, Rick has three grown daughters and three grandchildren. Rick is the founder of Orphan Heart Ministries based in Cleveland, Ohio.
Share this post: