Mandy Baker Johnson

Living without Shadows

Tag: dad

Decide

Oh son, I love you so much!
You delight my heart and bring me joy.

Being with you dad, is just the best thing ever.
You’re awesome!

Let’s create more, just like you son.

Fantastic idea dad!
You’ve given me so much, can I share with them?

Not even conceived, yet I see each one…
and how I love them.
But son, I don’t want little robots.
I’m giving them the choice,
they can decide to love me or not.
I’ll make it easy:
I’ll create a fabulous world for them to live in
with trees, mountains and flowers,
and a sky full of stars.
Every evening I’ll paint the sky with orange, pink and gold.
Each morning will be greeted with blazes of silver and choral trilling.

I see dad….
The choice to decide is dangerous.
They’ll want to please themselves and rebel against you, won’t they?

Yes son, they will and they will be separated from me.
But I want to show them my love.
They are precious –
I want them to understand what love looks like, what it is.

How can we show them?

Dad, they will deserve death for rebelling against you.
I will die in their place and become the Way to you.
The greatest love is to die for a friend –
I will die for my enemies.

Son, I will accept your sacrifice on their behalf.
You take their place, and
I will lavish the love I have for you on them.
I will make them co-heirs with you of all that I have.
They cannot even imagine the wonders and pleasures in store for them!
I will pursue them with my goodness and love at every turn.

We have made our decision.
Now it is time for them to choose.
Today is the day of acceptance, now is the time of salvation.

An imaginary conversation between God the Father and God the Son before the dawn of time.

Faithful

Jack, my rabbit, had oodles of personality. He had full range of the garden and ground floor of the house. He knew he wasn’t allowed upstairs but had a funny habit of thundering up them if he thought I wasn’t watching and then stamping his hind legs at the top, as if to announce: ‘Mischief accomplished!’

Although he knew his name (something my two retired neighbours Mick and Jack thought amusing when chatting to one another across our back garden), he only came if he felt like it when I called him. Other times, he would race round and round the shed in the back garden with me exasperatedly panting after him.

I loved Jack dearly (as my friends at the time could testify) but I didn’t realise what a faithful friend he was until my dad died. For a very independent rabbit who only ever allowed cuddles on his terms, he lay by my side on the sofa for hours at a time licking my arms. It was the only way he knew to comfort me in my grief.

When Jack himself died, I missed him like crazy. Even now on clear, starry nights I look up at Orion’s Belt and remember my little J-J. One of my favourite things was to hold him in my arms while admiring the night-sky, in awe that the same God who spoke galaxies into creation also made cute, furry bunny rabbits.

Found

Jesus told stories about lost things being found.

A sheep strayed away from the flock and got lost. The shepherd went looking for it. When he found it, he brought it home on his shoulders, rejoicing.

A lady lost a valuable piece of jewellery but she cleaned the house, moving every bit of furniture until she found it. She was so happy that she invited her friends in for cake and wine.

A rebellious son ran away from home and lived the high life before losing his money and his friends. He crawled back home hoping he might be taken in as a servant but his dad was looking out for him and rushed to give him a massive hug. Then his dad threw a party to celebrate that his son had been found.

The sheep, the jewellery and the son never became worthless or reduced in value because they were lost. They were still precious.

God thinks of you like that. If you don’t know Him, it’s like you’ve wandered off and got lost. But He will never stop pursuing you because He wants to find you, because He loves you. (If you don’t believe God is pursuing you, consider the fact that it’s no accident you are reading this blog post. He’s crazy about you.)

Mighty

Day eight’s word prompt for Lent is MIGHTY.

For me, the word mighty conjures up mountains, high seas, a knight in armour, a white charger snorting for battle.

All of these were created by the one whose name is Mighty.

On days like today when I’m tired, a bit stressed and generally out-of-sorts, I want someone who is bigger than me to turn to. I need someone wiser than me, who is never stumped or in a mood, who is always consistent and knows what to do. This Mighty One invites me to come to Him and give him my rubbish and mess so that He can give me His rightness and peace and joy. It’s a great deal.

This painting of Britain’s Lake District by my dad is a powerful reminder that my help comes from the Mighty One who created them both.

 

Celebrate

Day five’s word prompt for blogging through Lent is CELEBRATE.

I’m celebrating my Father’s love. It makes me jump and sing and dance and twirl and shout. I am loved!

His love for me is overwhelming. It’s a Niagara Falls of a relentless outpouring of love. He pursues me to show me His love. It’s important to Him that I grasp it, that I know how precious I am.

He deals with my mess, He guides me, sometimes He disciplines me: He always loves me.

His love is outrageous. It’s never-ending. He’s committed to me.

I didn’t always see the Father this way. I used to think He was angry and didn’t like me very much, that I had to strive to please Him. How wrong I was!

John BentonOne of the ways the Father revealed to me who He is and what He’s really like was through my friend John. He and his wife Elizabeth announced a couple of years ago that they had decided to ‘adopt’ Adi and me. I laughed and went with it.

I nicknamed him ‘Father John’, partly because of his endearing habit of placing a hand on my head and with a chuckle saying, ‘Bless you my child.’

He brings us back sticks of rock from Skegness and is always ready with big squidgy hugs. Adi and I are welcome at their house (Elizabeth’s Sunday dinners are delicious). They have even installed a bed in their spare room so that I don’t need to drive home late at night when I visit.

Gradually, ‘Father John’ has given way to the more familiar ‘Daddy John’.

The Father has used our friendship with John (and Elizabeth) to show me the Father’s heart. The more I grasp the Father’s deep, unconditional, never-ending love, the more I love the God who pursues me relentlessly to reveal more of Himself. I love Him because He first loved me and showed me what love is.

Love looks like the Father’s beloved Son dying on the cross to take all my rubbish, rebellion and mess on Himself so that He could give me His rightness with God and bring me into His family.

Father God has become Daddy God, and so today I’m celebrating His awesome love for me.

 

Father of Lights

During the recent brief spell of hot weather, Adi and I headed for a department store and air-con. The lights in the store looked like wrapped Christmas gifts and reminded me that every good and perfect gift comes from the Father of Lights.

I love the Father of Lights because He is who He says He is: the creator, the saviour, the Father, the only true God. He never gets moody or changes His mind. He always sees things through, and I can trust Him absolutely. He gives me everything I need to live an abundant life. That doesn’t mean no problems. Abundant life is the life within: having peace and joy deep inside that are real and present despite circumstances.

The Father pursues me with goodness and mercy. Even when things go awry with illness or job loss or whatever, I can trust Him because everything has to pass through His hand first. Nothing is able to get to me unless He allows it so that He can grow faith and hope in me, always developing my character.

SunsetThis Father’s heart blazes with such immense love and purity that it’s no surprise He is keenly interested in mine. What are my attitudes and thoughts? Are they pure and lovely like His?

There is no darkness in the Father of Lights. For one who suffered from demonic nightmares, oppression and evil presences, this is of vital importance and a great comfort. He is Light. Just as He is Love. It is impossible for Him to do anything wrong or badly. If anyone thinks He does, they don’t know Him.

I never knew how father-like this Father is before last week. But He has pursued me over the years, culminating in Him drawing near to this much-loved daughter in a bungalow in Norfolk. He entered the room, His eyes locked on mine, a huge smile on His face. I lay in awe, almost unable to breathe at His magnificent presence. He scooped me up in His arms and tossed me in the air like a loving dad having fun with His child. I giggled delightedly as He did it again and again. And then He gave me a glimpse of His burning heart, red-hot with love for me. I don’t think I will ever be the same again.

The Father of Lights, the one from whom comes every good and perfect gift, has adopted me as His daughter. One day I will shine like the sun in His Kingdom. This isn’t airy-fairy stuff; this is real; this is truth. I love the Father because He first loved me and has shown me what is love.

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