In 2012, my relationship with the Lord began to flourish for the first time, but not without many stumbling blocks to come. I quickly learned that one of the most difficult realities I would have to face in my relationship with Christ was understanding that, when I accepted Christ as my Savior, I accepted Him as my Heavenly Father too. I struggled with comprehending this aspect of my intimate relationship with Him for so long, that altering the disconnect between He and I was nearly impossible. So I thought.
I grew up in a home with my mother, father, and little sister. Although my family was always financially stable and well known in our small town, others knew nothing of what took place behind the walls of the yellow, brick home. The earliest memory I have of the chaos in my home takes place when I was between two and three – I know this because my mother was pregnant with my younger sister. I was too young to understand why at the time, but I can still recall the images of my father beating my mother when she was pregnant.
As I grew older, I began to see and understand more of the abuse in the house I had grown up in. Though his job allowed us to be financially stable and we never did without, my father had no emotional connection and was not the affectionate father I desperately craved. My father’s morning “lectures” before he left for work every day began to make more sense. He would label my mother and I with hurtful names and verbally express every flaw that we could have had. We would just sit there and listen. That was our only option.
It was during these lectures that my father started to bring attention to the fact that I would “be a knock out if I would lose 20 pounds.” This was the start to the struggle of how I viewed myself. When the tears no longer came and the morning lectures became custom to us, my father became physically abusive again. I remember taking up for my mother one day, and begging my father to stop pushing her around. As a result, my father pushed me down a flight of stairs outside the room – my body breaking several rails on the banister. A few scars still linger.
In 2012, I started attending a nearby church, and quickly became involved in their college ministry. It was there that I saw how fellow Christian peers grew close to Christ outside of simply attending church. I witnessed my new friends not only read the Bible, but dig into biblical applications and actively pursue them. The college ministry was led by a godly couple who brought many of us into their own home to break bread, read the Word, and to disciple us. I met with Christi and two other females once a week for a few months before she and her husband moved to pursue a new path Christ had laid before them. During our time together, Christi continuously referred to Christ as our father. Nearly every time that we opened our Bibles in Panera or her home, the reference was made. I had a problem with this. Not the fact that she said it, but I couldn’t accept it for myself. Not then anyways.
I felt the Holy Spirit closer than I had ever before and wanted to grow as close to Christ as I could. I began noticing others mentioning God as being our father in passing, in conversations with friends and other church members, and in more lessons and sermons. I grew more perplexed in the reality I refused to take personally. I had such a convoluted example and view of a father growing up, that I allowed it to flood into the ways I needed to view Christ. It was a solid barrier that kept me from growing any closer to Him. I felt a battle between my pride and my mind ran rapid when the thought of God as my Heavenly Father was brought up.
As the references continued to catch my attention more, I started to see the connection more in scripture.
“Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son,
then an heir through God.” ~ Galatians 4:7
“In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus
Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace,
with which he has blessed us with in the Beloved.” ~ Ephesians 1:4-7
Ephesians has always been my favorite book of the Bible, but the entire book came to life on a whole new level as I started to take hold of the idea of Christ being my heavenly Father. Almost instantly, I felt closer to Him. Not where I would grow to be, but closer nonetheless. I started to taste the sweetness as my walls started to deteriorate. I felt reassurance. I felt peace.
Over the course of a few years, I began to take full grasp of the connection. It wasn’t something that I accepted quickly after a convicting sermon or after a debatable conversation with a friend. It was something I had to find for myself. I had to find peace. I had to have reassurance. My walls weren’t coming down without a fight between Christ and my pride. I had assured myself that I needed Him as a Savior, not a Father. I really needed both. For so long, I was too prideful to acknowledge my place with Christ. Our relationship wasn’t in my hands, but in His. I was a daughter to a King, not a dictator over the placing of the King.
It is now five years later, and I still slightly wrestle with this reality. I have accepted the fact that Christ is my heavenly Father, but still have to keep myself in check in not comparing Him to that of an earthly father. Sometimes, I put limits on Him in moments of doubt. When I find myself questioning His intentions for my life and my role as a daughter of the King, I recall His promise in Jeremiah.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare
and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” ~ Jeremiah 29:11
Christ is enough. He is sufficient. For this, I am thankful.