Abba Father
Ariel Allison, She Reads Featured Author

"For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by Him we cry Abba, Father. The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children." Romans 8:15-16 (NIV)

We welcome Ariel Allison as our guest writer today. Ariel is the author of eye of the god, one of P31's She Reads fall selections. Ariel is the mom of four boys under the age of 7 and wrote a suspenseful novel in her "spare" time.

The cross that marks my father's grave is nothing but a broken tree branch lashed together with twine. Knee high weeds grow above the sunken ground where the rustic casket lies. The last time I visited his grave was late at night as I stared at the makeshift cross with the help of flickering headlights. The sharp chill of a Tennessee autumn surrounded me and once again I felt the longing.

What I longed for, as I stood on that frigid hilltop, was not the physical presence of my father. It was what I had never really gotten from him—the feeling or assurance of his love.

A year earlier I sat beside a dying man and choked on my sorrow as I asked, "Daddy, do you love me?" I got my answer hours before he slipped into eternity.

He looked at me with startling blue eyes. My resolve to hold it together began to crumble. I feared his answer. What if he said no? How would I live with that knowledge? But even worse was the thought of standing over a grave and never knowing his answer.

His blue eyes clouded with tears. "I'm sorry," he said, his tongue swollen and dry. "I'm sorry I haven't said it. I do love you."

For the first time in my life, my father and I wept tears of joy together. It was a holy moment, a gift from the God who loves me more than my earthly father ever could. Before he passed on, I got but a taste of what our relationship should have been. It was a drop of water on the tongue of a thirsty woman.

Jesus taught us to refer to God as "Abba" or "Daddy." Jesus knew it would be difficult for some of us to approach God as our Father. However, only God can fill the empty places in our hearts that long for a father's love. He offers a living water, a living love, that quenches our thirst. We simply need to admit that we are empty and thirsting for our Father – our heavenly Father.

I've longed to be the delight of my father. Not for a moment on his deathbed, but for the entirety of my life. This longing has caused my heart to hunger deeply for my heavenly Father. My Abba. He says that I am His child, and assures me that He loves me. In those words my heart finds the father I've been looking for my entire life.

The rustic cross above my dad's grave represents the truth that I have a Father who loves me. I have a Father who will never leave me nor forsake me.

And so do you.

Father God, help me to know You as my Father, the One who will never leave me nor forsake me. Heal my broken places and teach me what it means to be loved. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do You Know Him?

eye of the god - Christian suspense novel by Ariel Allison

The Wonder of His Love: A Journey into the Heart of God by Nancy Stafford

Talk with Ariel and join the She Reads blog discussion where this week we’ll be talking about the father-daughter relationship and it’s affect on lives and literature.

Application Steps:
It is hard to know the love of Father God if you've never known the love of your earthly father. If you feel distant from your heavenly Father, ask Him to come closer, and invite His Spirit to dwell within you.

If your earthly father has been a source of pain in your life, pray that God will give you the courage to forgive.

Reflections:
Do you need to allow yourself the freedom to grieve the loss of a father's love, and seek the love of your Father God? Be honest with yourself, and God about this.

Power Verses:
2 Corinthians 6:18, "I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty." (NIV)

Psalm 10:14, "But you, O God, do see trouble and grief; you consider it to take it in hand. The victim commits himself to you; you are the helper of the fatherless." (NIV)

Psalm 68:5, "A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling." (NIV)

© 2009 by Ariel Allison. All rights reserved.

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11 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having lost my eartly father one month ago from cancer, this devotional touches me deeply this morning. Our relationship was strained at times, but not a day goes by that I don't miss seeing him or hearing his voice. However, I feel comforted knowing that he is now in Heaven with Abba, and both he and Abba watch, guide, and speak to me from Heaven. My eartly father was not perfect, but he loved me and did the best he could. He death became a testimony of how God comforts us even in the darkest times. My earthly father may have left me temporarily, but Abba is always with me and I will rejoice being with them again when God calls me home.

Blogger Suzette said...

This makes me think about my mother's story, she has never been able to forgive her father for the terrible abuses that he did to her. She says that he never asked her to forgive him. I think that his tyranny holds onto her from his grave until she can find forgiveness. My mother is a wonderful woman, but battles depression. If only she could see that the past is so behind us, its not worthy of life itself to hold onto resentments and pain. But how do you get thru to your mom?

Blogger Suzette said...

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Blogger Suzette said...

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Anonymous Ariel Allison said...

Ladies, thank you for sharing your heart. The father-daughter relationship is one of the most vital a woman has and it will bleed into every other area of her life. Yet as a once-broken woman, I've seen the healing and redemption that God can bring. He truly is our real Father.

Ariel

Blogger Kelly said...

My earthly father was NEVER a dad to me growing up. He drank excessively, abused my mother, and just wasnt never there for me. Just recently my dad has moved in with me. I forgave him a long time ago. I had to accept him for who he was. He never called me, I called him (he lived out of state) I was the one who made all connections. He has been sick due to his drinking and this last 4 monthe the doctor gave him 6 months to a year to live that is why he is living with me. I moved him from IL. He lived alone with no-one around to help him. I cant imagine dying alone! I had to forgive my dad a long time ago and Iam good with it unlike my sister! In these past 4 months that he has lived here with me and my family I have realized Im alot like my dad! We are closer now in 4 months than we have ever been in my 37 years of life. You have to forgive, I love my dad and I thank my heavenly Father for bringing me and my dad together!

Blogger Jerry said...

It took my dad 44 years to tell me that he loved me 4 years later we said goodbye he passed God gave us a good foru years
jerry

Well-written, Ariel. Right from the heart.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is so hard for me. My Father was an authoritative verbally abusive man who looked down on women. I never felt like he loved me since he loved my oldest brother the most and made that very clear. I feel lost spiritually. I cannot connect with God as Abba. I struggle with rage and forgiveness.

Anonymous rocker said...

This hits home boy! My Father was very abusive to me and my mother,his favorite was my sister,and he made that clear, I was always his whipping boy,and he was very mean to my mom,we could never please him,so a couple of times he would't speak to us for over a year,the only way he'd come out of his nasty attitude is my mom would have to kiss his ---.
I was never close with my dad,for years I stayed away even when I had a wife and kids. but than one day he was diagnosed with cancer,he tried battling it but it came back with a vengeance,when he was very sick we finally came to terms and he apologized and said he loved me! we even hugged!
as for my mom she never got over it,when he was dying she told me it's good he's going,when I was little I saw how he treated her and I hated it,I tried hard for my mom to even forgive him after he died,she may have in her heart but outwardly she did'nt
I thank God my Dad and I came together but by then it was over, why did God wait so long for this to happen? I can only have faith in his supreme wisdom that I can't fathom! Abba Father thank you!

Anonymous Ariel Allison said...

Ladies, I'm humbled at your vulnerability, and I' saddened at your pain - a pain I know too well. This discussion reminds of the lyrics to "Be Unto Your Name"

"We are the broken, You are the healer,
Jesus, Redeemer, Mighty to save. You are the love song we'll sing forever.
Bowing before You, blessing Your name."

We are certainly broken, but make no mistake about this: He heals - lives, hearts, and relationships.

I pray that each of you will know the Jesus who heals. That you will bring your broken pieces to Him so you can be mended.

Anonymous 12:15, you in particular weigh heavy on my heart tonight. I know what it's like to struggle with rage and unforgiveness. May I humbly suggest that you allow yourself to grieve the loss of your father's love. Grieve him, but don't stay there forever. When the tears dry - look up because your true Father is gazing down at you.

Each of you are welcome to visit the She Reads blog this week where we will be discussing this topic in depth, and providing resources to those looking to heal.

http://www.shereads.org/blog/

All is grace,
Ariel

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