“Can I maybe call you dad?” Those simple words on the screen from a little girl to her daddy brought tears to my eyes. There is a difference between a father and a dad. All daddies are fathers in my book, but not all fathers are daddies. I see a father as a figure, there but not available. I see a father as talking but not listening or engaged. Authoritarian in style, controlling not nurturing. He is a man to be obeyed and feared.
In contrast, a daddy is someone that you can always talk to and know he is listening. He is a place of safety, a lap you can climb up in and rest close enough to sink your heartbeats. He makes you know and feel his love, even when you know you have screwed up royally. He is able to bring peace in the storm, to right a wrong even when the situation can’t be changed. He is available and uses nurturing correction. He is a man with whom you have a true relationship.
I didn’t realize how much my heart missed having a daddy in my life. It has been over twenty-two years since my dad passed away. He was far from perfect, but I knew he always had my back. There is just something special about the relationship between a girl and her daddy. No matter what the problems are in a family, there is a bond that runs deep. And his passing left a void in my life, that still exists to this day.
However, my response to that question stirred a deeper ache because it wasn’t my dad that came to mind as I heard myself pondering that question. I realized the deeper cry in my heart was for my Heavenly Father, “Can I maybe call you Daddy?”
I have a relationship with God, but I long to trust Him as a Daddy, or Abba. For some that may seem too personal for the God of the universe, or too casual name “dad”.
I want to fully believe that regardless of my problems I have, my Father in Heaven longs for that deep bond with me just the same. I have a knowledge in my head of God the Father. My head knows He is an Abba, but there is a wall I have built around me that keeps me from really allowing myself to call Him “Daddy.”
I realize I need God as my daddy, I need His presence to feel that void. I want to feel my Heavenly Daddy’s arms around me, to sink my heart to His and rest in His presence. I need to feel Him listen to the cries of my heart, and believe that He cares enough to help me in my mess. I need His correction, but I long for His nurturing. I long to really make the connection that there is nothing I can do or have done that can keep His love from me, because He is love.
I love this quote from Larry Crabb, author “I assume the Spirit is always whispering, “Abba”, to God’s children, assuring them that they are safe in His care. And He is continually calling them to become what God saved them to be, solid people, indestructibly alive, hurting perhaps, but consumed with pleasing the Father.”
Tonight my heart cries out in response to the Spirit’s whisper, “God, can I maybe call you Daddy?”