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Daddy's Little Girl


About 3 weeks ago, I visited a local church. I was a few minutes late, so I discreetly made my way to a seat in the back. I sat next to a young family. As the wife was deep into praise and worship, the husband sat between she and I, holding their sleeping toddler. There was nothing seemingly out of the ordinary, however as I began to get swept away by the music, every time I reopened my eyes, I kept seeing this man and his daughter in my peripheral vision. At some point it began to feel like a distraction, but I didn’t understand why.


As the service transitioned into the sermon, I had the scriptures out and was prepared to take notes, but I could not stop staring at them. I felt awkward and frustrated about not focusing on the sermon until God said, “They are the sermon!” Whew… that was a relief. Having been given permission to pay direct attention and what I observed was beautiful.


This little girl had on her frilly dress, with her curly locks matted on one side of her face up against her daddy’s shoulder. She was in such a deep sleep, he was up and down, singing, talking, etc. and she didn’t notice a thing. Like I said, this isn’t unusual to see. I used to hold my kids in church all the time when they were little, but what God revealed to me in this moment was a level of safety and intimacy between and father and daughter that I have always struggled to comprehend.


Because of the difficulties that I had in my relationship with my father as a child, I had not been able to experience God as a protector and comforter. That may seem absurd to many, but even to this day, I have yet to feel safe and secure in relationships with men. Neither my father nor my ex-husband provided that for me, so unfortunately God has remained in that box as well. Until THIS day…


At the deepest level, I witnessed a child that had no sense of danger or anxiety about her surroundings. She could have slept through a hurricane the way she was snuggled in the firm grip of her daddy’s arms. He would adjust from time to time, as her head slid out of position, but he gently wiped the sweat from her hair, kissed her on the head and patiently gave her a moment to get resituated.


“Lord, is it really that simple?” I thought. “Yes, it is”, He responded. “That is how I want you to rest in the protection of my arms. No matter what you are facing, I am holding you close to my chest, soothing you with the rhythm of my heartbeat.” “Yes, Daddy!” I responded, but I still didn’t understand why I wasn’t ready to share it in a post.


Weeks passed as neglecting to complete this post nagged at me. I blamed my fatigue, still adjusting to my new work schedule. On Wednesday night I wrote the sweet, fluffy part but I put it down unable to finish and I fell asleep. The next morning, I woke up, spotting the laptop on the floor next to my bed perplexed about my writer’s block. As Jaxon and I started down the driveway for our morning walk, I finally asked out loud, “Lord, what is it that is keeping me from getting this done?”


I didn’t make it to the end of the block before the memory came back into my mind of the last time I sat on my father’s lap. I had just graduated from college, and had just started dating a man, a bit older than me. That’s a whole other story, but I recall a family picnic and I brought him with me to meet everyone. It was a typical large family summer gathering with lots of drinking, music, BBQ, etc. We arrived and the first person we saw was my father. He greets me with a big hug, I introduced him to my friend and after pleasantries and introductions to everyone else in our immediate area, my father pulled me down to sit on his lap to chat as we hadn’t seen each other for several months. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but when my friend and I left the cookout, he immediately accused me of having a sexually inappropriate relationship with my father. I was deeply offended and upset by his words in the moment, but 25+ years later I would remember that my father had sexually abused me as a young child. That was a deeply traumatic time for me, so I guess after making peace with that part of my life as much as I was capable of at the time, it had just come back on this walk.


I cried walking up the street, and I’m still crying now as I write this post. Who wants to ever have to say that you were sexually abused as a child, and especially by your father, who is supposed to be your protector? But that’s the truth and it still hurts! “But God, why are you bringing this up again now? He’s gone and I have already forgiven him for his demons.” He responded, “Because the spirit of perversion that tainted your ability to have a trusting relationship with your father, is the reason you can’t trust me to be your protector and your source of safety!” He continued, “You can’t see yourself being held by me like you watched that little girl and her father, because you only remember yourself in your father’s arms as something that is nasty and perverted. It’s not fair and I’m deeply sorry that you had that experience, but that is not who I AM and it’s time to let that go!”


“It is the root of all your anxiety! You anticipate your every move and everyone’s around you to maintain your safety, meanwhile you have carried guilt and shame about your conflicted feelings. You desperately wanted to feel loved enough to be “daddy’s little girl” through both the abandonment and the spirit of perversion that loomed over that side of your family.” That was all He said. The next step is up to me!

As I continue to unpack this issue, I ask for your prayers. God, I want to trust you FULLY! I’m doing the best I can. Hopefully, as I am faced with challenges moving forward tempting me to slip back into my default mode, I now have a healthy visual in my toolkit to help me resist the urge to fix everything myself and allow God to do the heavy lifting.


Matthew 11:28-30 Come to Me, all who are weary and heavily burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOUL. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.


Just as God has been faithful in many other areas of my life, He showed up for me in such a simple, yet profound way to help me through this issue too.


Until next time…

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