And of course, you can track statistics all day long and really never know whether you're making a difference or not. I mean, someone found my site the other day when they Googled the phrase: "ways to know your lover has lost interest in you." People, there were sites listed on the Google page that I never thought I would see near my innocent, little blog. Let me just say, "I like to got an education!" And that was just looking at the search results. That is why it is so nice to get feedback (be it through comments left on the site or personal comments).
Something else my friend said stuck with me. She said, "I read what you wrote in your blog, and I was like, now I know why we're friends." As the conversation progressed, she told me that she liked that I referred to Father as Papa. Of course, I gave credit where credit was due and told her that I started using that particular nomer after reading The Shack. She told me that since she had never really had a father, that is how she views God - as her Father.
You know, I really think that made Papa's day - hearing one of His children acknowledge who He is in her life. I believe that so often we keep God at a distance because it is easier for us that way. If we really get close enough to feel that He is our Papa, then the religious lines start to get fuzzy for us.
I'll let you in on another secret from my life - I can relate to what she was saying. Now, I have a wonderful dad, and I love him very much, but Papa took the place of my mother. You see, I was only 10 years old when I lost my mom. It's never easy to lose a parent at that young age. From my perspective (which is the only one I have to draw on), it was particularly difficult to have my mom go on a weekend trip and never come home. It was confusing as a child to wake up every morning hoping that this would be the day she would come home and night after night go to sleep disappointed that she had not returned. I prayed that God would bring her home to me. In my childish mind I reached out for any shred of hope, so I would wish on a star every night too, just in case.
I can tell you that through most of the major experiences of my life up until I was 20 years old, I missed my mother. I would rail against God asking why He had allowed her to be taken from me. I questioned how a loving God could permit such heinousness in this world, especially when He said that we could ask Him for anything in faith and it would be done. Then, on the same night He had me forgive the man who took my mother's life, He confronted me with this question: What do you miss about your mother?
How do you answer a question like that? There's only one way to answer it - honestly. I told Papa that I missed her love. I went on to list all of the good qualities that I could remember about her. When I had exhausted every trait, He said, "That was me." Yeah, my jaw dropped to the floor too. Basically, Papa went on to explain that every single, solitary positive thing on my list of "I miss my mom because . . ." was attributable to His work in her. He also told me that He would fill that void left in my life, if I would allow Him to do it.
Funny thing, I opened up to Him, and He really did take away the pain, and on the day I got married I didn't miss my mom because I knew that Papa was with me. The day my daughter was born (my fondest dream come true), Papa was there then too. I have the assurance Papa adopted me into His wonderful family.
Galatians 4:4-7 tells us this:
4But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" 7So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.Now, I know that a lot of people would say that we were never under the law to which Paul was referring. We received salvation through faith in Christ. That is true; however, many of those who are saved place themselves under "law" rather than exploring the fatherhood of God. He is our Daddy God. He is our Papa. By whatever name you choose to refer to Him, He is so much more than a grandfatherly figure sitting on a cloud making arbitrary decisions about people's lives.
If you have not arrived at the place where you can see Him in that light, I would encourage you to take that next big step in your walk with Father. He will be your Daddy too!