Saturday, November 17, 2007

A Letter from my Father

During the three years that I was in prison, one of the things that I came to appreciate more than anything else was mail. It wasn't often that I received a letter, but when I did, it helped to make the day a little bit more special. It helped me to know that there was someone out there...someone thinking about me and wondering how I was. It reminded me that someone cared.

Prison wasn't the first time after my arrest that someone sent me words of encouragement and love. On a cold, blustery spring day in April of 2004, as I was on my knees in the living room of our condo, the Spirit prompted me to pick up a pen and a tablet.

My Precious Child

I am so pleased with you! I love how you have thrown off your cloak of arrogance and self pretentiousness and have come to seek Me as a child. When you sought me last night, unafraid to be asked to be loved, I wept for you.

As I knelt there on my knees, I knew that my hand was writing and that the voice of God was passing through my fingers, but the words before me were a blur...probably from the tears that streamed down my face. How many years had I longed to hear words like that! How many years had I longed to know that my father, any father, would speak such words of love...would cry for me.

You have grown so much in two months, Mark, and I am pleased. You have been willing, and have actually sought, to seek the truth about yourself. You have not given into denial about the stark truths and reality of your sin and your choices. While you have sat there in disbelief at times, you have accepted My truth.

As a child, I never had any real conversations with my dad. He was a quiet man, at least on a personal level. He was a screamer when he was angry...and I heard enough of those outbursts during my childhood. I wish so much that I would have had a relationship with my dad that would have facilitated a conversation like the one that my true Father was having with me that morning.

Mark, you are finally starting to see and hear clearly My truth and the truth of your life. You are being obedient to My call and My voice. You have relaxed and begun to trust and have faith, instead of looking for Me so hard, you can't see Me. Continue to seek as the child you were last night...the child who wanted His Father, so you were willing to go and find Him.

How could I have ever trusted my dad the way that I was learning to trust my Father? I don't remember ever having a reason to truly trust him. The verbal abuse. The physical abuse. To be in the same room with him was to be tense and on edge. He wasn't a man that I ever felt I could just go talk to...to ask questions about the things in my life I was confused about. To show any kind of a weakness in front of him. In my heart, I only believed that a show of weakness would result in being hurt...even more.

Continue to be willing to peel back the hardness that had covered your heart...the shyness, the embarrassment, the unwillingness to risk for what you love. Continue in your search for truth, your search for Me. I will always be here to be found by you.

Why couldn't my own dad have seen the struggles that I was having as a child? Why couldn't he have taken the time to sit down...and truly get to know me? It was no secret that I was so shy. Anyone could see it. Didn't it seem odd to him that I was the quiet one of the family? Would it have been too much to take the time during our deer hunts to just ask how my life was going? It never happened. I know I can't blame him completely...he only parented as he knew how. But it left a void in me, one that wouldn't be filled until I was in my 40's.

Continue to use these days and weeks you have before you to grow stronger spiritually, to rebuild your foundation and your life in My truth and My Word. As long as you continue to walk in My light and not turn aside to look at the darkness, you will find the life of peace and joy and love that you desire. You will live in a freedom you have never experienced.

As my knees began to throb and my legs felt life pin cushions as the circulation was cut off as I spent that time in prayer before Him, His words spoke power into my life. My Father was giving me instructions for life that I would need to survive what lay before me. Never in my life had words like these been spoken to me. Not as I went off to grade school, or into junior high. As I went off to college, there was nothing to prepare me. Even as I entered into a marriage covenant, dad never let me know what to expect or what to be ready for. But now, as I was getting ready to experience perhaps the most difficult test of my life, my Father was there. His words and love getting me ready.

Don't become satisfied with how far you've come, the journey is just beginning. Your journey on the path I have mapped out for you. Stay strong in the truth and in the Word. Continue to seek Me with our heart, and I will ALWAYS be here for you! Thank you for your words of love and compassion last night. You have much to be hopeful for. I love you, Son!

Could it be true that the words that flowed through me that morning were from my Father in Heaven? There is no doubt! Those kinds of words of love had never been expressed to me before. No one truly knew the pain that I felt in my heart, the fear gripped my heart and my mind. I didn't know what lay before me, or ever how to prepare for it. But on that April day, my Father knew! He was there watching over me and giving me a strength and peace that no man should feel, knowing that he is going to prison. The preparation for wilderness was beginning.

1 comment:

Deb said...

This is the most powerful writing you've done so far. I'm so moved by your expression of what we didn't get from our dad and the contrast with the love you felt from The Father.

The power of His love for you and your ability to finally let it in is palpable here.

I'm so honored to be reading your words and to be building this new relationship with you.

I love you.