Daddy’s Hands

1979 (or thereabouts)

The stage was set. My father was in the kitchen with all his friends. My brother and I had a new joke, and I wanted to tell it in front of everyone. I was confident of walking way with loads of laughs… confident of being successful. And so, I walked into the room and approached the easiest target. I asked, “Do you have a quarter?” I could hardly contain myself, ready as I was to deliver the punch line. My father’s friend said, “Oh, sure, sure..” and reached deep into his pocket for a quarter. But, I didn’t get to finish the joke. Daddy jumped in. He spoke sternly, and told me to never ask anyone for money. He sent me to my room, and I was humiliated. I had to walk out of that kitchen, crushed and unable to look into the eyes of anyone I passed.

As I lay in my bed, I could hear my brother pleading my case. “But Daddy, it’s a joke… she was going to say she didn’t need the quarter, that she had a nickel for a pickle.” Not too funny, huh… but to a small child, it was a knee-slapper. I laid there, crying and embarrassed, and so hurt that my Daddy yelled at me. And the worst part about it… everyone saw. Daddy came to me afterward. He hugged and kissed me, and said he was sorry. He didn’t know it was a joke. So our relationship was restored. However, the damage to my ego lingered. I didn’t want to see anyone for shame.

March 22, 2013

The stage was set. I wrote a blog that I thought was really great. I mean to tell you, Friday’s blog moved me. And so, I felt on top of the world. Friday, I left my house fully confident. I felt successful and purposeful and ready to take on the world. But things changed quickly. I went to my son’s school for an Easter egg hunt. I was there for about two hours, and by the end of the day I just had a really bad vibe. I felt like someone didn’t like me. And it bothered me. Because I’m one of those people that just has to have everyone’s approval. Yes, I’m a people-pleaser.

I left the school feeling somewhat down, and then moved on to the next chore. I had to pick up a document, but the person wasn’t very nice. In fact, he was downright rude. I sunk a little lower. At the Post Office, the person at the counter was on the phone the whole time. She took care of me, but did so while handling a personal matter. I sunk a little lower. My next chore was to drop off some of my paintings at a local shop (to be sold consignment). I had to tell the owner how much I wanted. By this time, my confidence was shaken, and I felt like crying before I even reached the door. I was embarrassed to ask for anything, because why would anyone want to pay the amount I wanted.

So what happened? The confidence I felt at 12:00 was gone by 4:00. And as the evening progressed, I had a sinking feeling that God wanted me to see something. I was pretty sure that I was being chastened because the feelings I experienced were very similar to feelings I had just over a month ago. In February, there was no doubt about it… God disciplined me. But this time, I wasn’t quite sure what I had done wrong. But the feeling persisted. And as the weekend marched on, I became more and more withdrawn. For some reason, I felt humiliated, and crushed… and unable to look into the eyes of anyone I passed.

Today 

God is my Father. His word says so… but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” Romans 8:15. In my Bible, I have written out “Daddy” below the word “Abba.” Because that word for father is personal and intimate. If we have Jesus, we have been adopted into the family and are in fact children of God. And so, as His child, I have that privilege… I can call Him, Daddy.

And just as my Daddy corrected me so long ago, my heavenly Daddy does the same today. See, what we do reflects on our parents. I don’t think it matters what our age is. Long ago, my Daddy was mortified that I asked someone for money. He was embarrassed. Not only that, he wanted me to learn from my mistake (or what he thought was a mistake). My Daddy corrected me because of my actions, for sure, but also because he loves me. That’s what daddies do. And today is no different. My heavenly Daddy was not pleased with my behavior last week. He knew my heart. He knew I was proud. And so… He chastened me… because He loves me.

“My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the LORD loves He chastens…” Hebrews 12:5,6

We’re all individuals, and we’re all at a different place in our relationship with God. Some may know immediately when they do wrong and God corrects them. Not so with me… I find that God’s discipline is subtle. Chastening is not as easy for me to identify as when I was a little girl. See, my Daddy often used his hands when I did wrong. There was no room for misunderstanding. But God’s hands are not down here to literally spank me, so, His methods are different. For me, a spiritual spanking may take some time to figure out. This past weekend, I readily identified how I felt… lack of confidence, insecurity, shame, embarrassment… but I didn’t immediately know the reason why. And so I had to think about what precipitated those feelings. Then it became clear. My heavenly Daddy gave me a spanking, so to speak, because I was acting in an unbecoming way. My actions reflected on Him, and I needed to be corrected.

I want to close with the words of an older song called, “Daddy’s Hands,” by Holly Dunn. I first heard it at my cousin’s wedding as she danced with her Daddy. Tears flowed down my cheeks as I witnessed father and daughter moving across the floor. My uncle held her tight with his work-worn hands. I think of my own Daddy’s hands, callused from years of house painting… weathered from years in the garden. And now, I think of my other Daddy’s hands… those hands that came down in human form. I think of the hands that are scarred by nails… the ones that bled for me. I’m all grown up, but I’m still Daddy’s girl. And those are the hands that hold me tight. Daddy’s hands discipline me. But I know…there’s always love in Daddy’s hands.

“Daddy’s Hands” by Holly Dunn

I remember Daddy´s hands, working ’til they bled.
Sacrificed unselfishly, just to keep us all fed.
If I could do things over, I´d live my life again.
And never take for granted the love in Daddy´s hands.

Daddy’s hands were soft and kind when I was cryin´.
Daddy´s hands, were hard as steel when I´d done wrong.
Daddy´s hands, weren´t always gentle
But I´ve come to understand.
There was always love…
In Daddy´s hands.

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