Lessons From a Date With My Daughter
Devotional by Sponz

In my house we have an incentive system.  Every time one of the kids does an extra chore (like helping unload the dishwasher or cleaning the living room) they get a quarter.  They can save the quarters up for short term things like lollipops or extra screen time–for just 3 quarters–or they can save a bunch up for something much more special.

A new high-priced item that we added recently was a special date to a fancy restaurant with their dad (me).  Our 5 year old Ember began immediately saving up for this date as soon as we introduced it, and before long she had saved all 20 quarters necessary for this special night.  Out came the sparkly shoes, the frilly dress and the special necklace borrowed from mommy.  I even wore a vest and a tie.

sponz and ember

We entered the restaurant arm in arm, I pulled out her chair for her, and she even got to order a kiddy cocktail.  As we sat and ate I told her how beautiful she was, the reasons that I love her, and why I am proud of her.  What an honor to share a special meal with my sweet and compassionate little rascal.

But then a switch flipped in my mind.

I started thinking about all the pressures and challenges girls (in particular) face in our culture:  How so many little girls grow up without a loving father in their lives.  How society breathes out lies…saying they are not pretty enough, not skinny enough, not good enough.  How prone girls are to eating disorders and self harm as a way to cope.   I thought about all the people I’ve known who come to believe that the world would be better off without them around.  And then I looked back into the smiling face of my little girl.

And it broke my heart–to know that she will have hard times that I can’t save her from.

But this is no mystery to God.  Psalm 139:1 says “O Lord, you have searched me and you know me”.

God knows the trouble you’re in and the doubts you have.  He can see the path ahead of you, with both goods and bads.  He knows your hurts and he desires to comfort them.

Verses 8-10 goes on to say “if I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.  If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast”. 

Translation:  whether you go up, down, east or west, you can’t find a place apart from God.  The question will be whether you will let Him in or not.  If you’ve put your faith in Christ, the truth is that you WERE RUNNING away from God when He found you and saved you—even while you didn’t deserve it.  He loved you enough to send His own Son down to the earth, fully knowing that Jesus would be beaten, mocked, and killed…but also knowing that he would have to turn His back on His own child.

Because I know how much I love my kiddos, I can’t even fathom how hard that was for God.  I know there will be dark nights and deep waters that my daughters will have to go through–as there were for me as I grew up—but I also know that God will meet us in our darkness and in our pain.

Keep reading to the end of Psalm 139.  I hope and pray that it encourages you.

The last thing I’ll say is this:  I know that there are a whole lot of kids out there who are growing up (or have grown up) without loving and supportive parents.  Kids who are hurting or lonely or feeling like life is hopeless and not worth living.  If that’s you—I wish I could tell you face-to-face that you are important, and that God has made you on purpose for specific things…that you MATTER TO SOMEONE.   Don’t forget that.

In Christ,