A Picture of Love

crossandheartEach of us was raised in a less than perfect environment, and that environment has left its imprint on our lives.  My parents divorced when I was 2 ½ years old.  Let me explain that growing up I grew up Arkansas with my mom during the school year and in Texas with my dad on breaks and holidays.  The homes were extremely different.  I mean extremely different. In Arkansas we only prayed at Thanksgiving and the occasional bedtime prayer, “If I should die before I wake … I pray my soul the Lord to take.”  In Texas, it was a totally different story.  If the doors of the church were open, we were there.  I had to wear skirts and dresses in Texas and was not allowed to wear makeup.  If there was a church camp scheduled while I was in Texas, my dad made sure I was able to attend.  My thoughts of God were either He was far or distance (reachable at Thanksgiving or in the event you thought it was your time) or He was everywhere all the time and had lots of rules (dresses and no makeup).

Even with all of that, I knew my dad loved God with all his heart and wanted everyone to know and enjoy the same love he encountered.  We would go on the weekends and just tell random people about Jesus.  Anyone who would listen, dad was willing to spend as much time as necessary to let them know how much Jesus loved them and the length of His actions that He went to prove it.

I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but through me.  {John 14:6}

What I didn’t understand is why my dad didn’t pursue me and my little brother like he did strangers.  Once we were a little older, sometimes my brother and I would say we didn’t want to go to Texas.  We were never forced to go. If we didn’t want to go, my mother made sure we didn’t have to.  Little did I know how much it hurt my dad that we decided not to come.

I now understand what a reflection of God’s love that was.  You see God is never going to force you to come visit Him.  He (God) is always going to be available and reachable but He will never force you to have a relationship with Him.  My dad was sharing the love for me and my brother the best he knew how.  He didn’t want to force us to come and see him.  He wanted us to want to come see him.  I didn’t get it then, but I get it now.

I recently was spending some time with God and He was just revealing to me the mirror image that my father was from God’s perspective.  I had NEVER seen it in that light before.  It broke my heart yet healed my heart at the same time!  A few of you know that recently my dad passed away.  It was difficult for me because he was so young.  I don’t really understand why it was his time to go, but none the less it was his time.  When he was in ICU, they had him in his bed faced down because he could breathe better that way.  They had a little thing that his face laid in almost like a hole on a massage table and he was on a vent.  It was difficult to see him like that and I had never prayed for my dad the way I prayed over him that week.  So while I was spending my time with God the other day he showed me that picture of my dad lying face down in ICU that day.  What I had not noticed before was the way my dad’s arms were positioned as he lay face down … his arms were spread wide open each arm stretched as Jesus’s was on the cross.  What I realized is how much I loved my dad and how hard it was to watch him pass.  And then it clicked.  Just as Jesus laid down his life me, so did my dad.  He spent his life living out what he believed.  And what he believed in was praying for his family, wanting the very best for his family.  He was not willing to compromise for anything less than the very best he had.  Sure he made tons of mistakes, but ultimately he lived his life so his children and the generations to come would be a step closer to God.  This is the perfect picture of love from a dad.  Although he was only on this earth for a short time, He loved God with all his heart, with all his soul and with all his strength.  Thus, being a picture of love.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. {Mark 12:30}

My thoughts of my dad not pursing me were mistaken for his love of patience and love.  Thankfully, I was able to see this in my late twenties and am grateful for the years we spent together before he passed.

Could you be wrong—wrong about people, about the judgments you’ve made throughout life?  What is the judgment you have made?  To start the healing process, admit the judgment that you have made (truth be told, He already knows any way), then ask Him to show you the truth.  And finally bring it out into the light.  Tell someone else.  Don’t stir up trouble, but do tell a friend or someone of accountability.  Just saying it out loud brings it out of darkness and into the light to start breaking down the strongholds that have been built around this judgment that God wants to bring healing to.

Life is too short to carry around judgments. Start the process of healing and reconciliation!

Written by April Franks

2 thoughts on “A Picture of Love

  1. Pingback: A picture of love | franks family

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