“You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.” Luke 3:22I have always been awestruck over this particular piece of scriptural information given when Jesus was baptized and have wondered why it seems to be so often overlooked when the narrative is told.
Seriously. A voice…GOD’S voice was audibly heard from Heaven for all to hear saying just how pleased He was with His Son. And it was before Jesus even began His earthly ministry. That’s validation.
This portion of scripture stands out so clearly to me, likely in large part, because I never received validation in my life from my earthly father. It’s ironic then that this blog post topic has come up the week before Father’s Day. I’ve struggled to write it. I have written quite a lot over the years about my mother but I have never shared publicly about my father.
The photo depicts a little girl of less than two years old sitting on a tricycle. Her feet fumble to touch the pedals and her little hands grasp for the handle bars. She is far too young to be able to ride it, but that doesn’t seem to matter. You see, her father’s large hands are also shown in the picture. With a firm grip over her hands on the handle bars he is guiding the bike for the child. All will be well. With her father’s help she will be okay.
That little girl in the picture is me and the large hands belong to my father. If only life had gone on to be as simple and loving as it appears to be in that picture. However that was not the case. My father, unhealed from years of abuse he suffered as a child at the hands of his own father, was not able to give me the love, guidance or validation I so longed to receive as his daughter. In fact it was quite often the opposite; abusive, demeaning words were hurled my way whenever I displeased him or even when I hadn’t. This is only the bare bones of what life was like in my home when I was growing up. Not only was I not validated but I cannot remember a time when I was not afraid of my father.
I was always a creative child but to my father it didn’t matter. There were no words of praise or acknowledgement. I came upon my ability to write by placing in a national writing contest when I was in high school. This piqued my interest and over the years I’ve sporadically pursued it; including a stint as a reporter. It has all been a challenge for me and at times I have felt my confidence in my craft grow while at other times, usually during times of stress, I have felt weak and incompetent and wished God had never given me this gift.
Have I ever felt God’s pleasure when I write? Any time I’ve stepped forward in my writing in spite of great fear I have felt His presence. Is His presence the same as feeling His pleasure though? It certainly wasn’t with my earthly father. In fact I used to try to avoid my father’s presence as much as possible.This is the dis-connect that unfortunately occurs for those of us who were abused by our father’s. It’s hard to then go on and see our heavenly Father in a loving light; that He would actually be pleased with us. Most of the time it seems far too good to be true.
And so for me; I must go by faith. I believe I do feel growing glimmers of God’s pleasure but just as assuredly I still also push them uncomfortably away. Most of the time I simply choose to believe that He is pleased with me. A favorite bible verse when I attended bible school became Ephesians 1:6 “to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.”God called Jesus His Beloved and feels pleasure with Him. Through Jesus I have become accepted in the Beloved. I am God’s Beloved. Therefore He is pleased with me.
If I’ve learned even one thing through all I’ve been through it is that ultimately my relationship with God is not based on feelings or what I can necessarily always observe in my circumstances. It is based on faith. “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” II Corinthians 5:7I look to God with confidence that His strong hands will guide me. All will be well. With my Father’s help I will be okay.
He might even be pleased ;)*scripture verses from NKJV