I fully admit that I cried like a little girl last night. Like, literally. I felt like a 6-year-old who was homesick at summer camp. I miss my family! But I think that's a good thing. It's far better than the alternative. I could have a horrible home situation and never want to spend any time at all with my parents or siblings. Instead, I've been blessed by the most wonderful, loving relationships with them. Hallelujah!
Of course, it hasn't always been this way. My family has been through the ringer, just like I think every family has. Another great God part of my faith journey has been the restoration He's applied in so many of my familial relationships. (Yes, I totally just used the word "familial." At least, I THINK it's a word.)
One of the most glaringly obvious redemption stories is the one that involves me and my Papa Bear. Wow. You talk about a complete 180!
When I first met PPB (btw, PPB = Papa Bear), I was 10 years old. My folks got divorced when I was 5 or 6 (or 7...I can't rememebr), and my momsy eventually started dating again. One evening, as my sister and I were playing catch with our babysitter out in the backyard, Momsy came home with a new beau in tow.
This is what I like to call "Serial Killer Day." hahahaha! The day I met my PPB. :) We totally laugh about it now, of course, but at the time it wasn't funny at all (to me). Anyway, I call it that because it describes my first impression of PPB. I don't have ANY idea why, but he just looked like the kind of guy who would be on the wanted posters at the post office. He had dark, straight hair, a full beard, and he was wearing some kooky Hawaiian shirt. He just looked like he was trouble! "This guy is totally a serial killer," I thought. "I'm going to die in my bed one night if my mom starts dating him."
My babysitter had been playing catcher as we'd tossed around the softball, and PPB soon took her place and caught a few for me and my sis. I think I was probably trying to bean him in the head, but he seemed pretty good with the mitt. haha! :) Sorry, PPB. Though, I'm sure he never felt the fear seeing as how he was facing down a 10-year-old girl.
Anyway, eventually my momsy tied the knot with PPB. And, boy, did we have it out over the next few years. We were like oil and water! We'd argue and fight over just about everything. He was frustrated by the way I disrespected my mom and tried to manipulate her. And I was, of course, frustrated by his discipline. I'm sure I threw out the classic, "You're not my father!" line to him a few times. Poor guy. PPB, I'm so sorry for the way I treated you back then. Thanks so much for your grace.
But here's where the God of the Universe reveals Himself. What we didn't know was that when I was a senior in high school, PPB would surrender his life to Christ. (He went to a Bible study on Revelation and had the devil scared out of him. haha! Obviously there's more to it than that, but that's pretty much the crux of it.) What we further didn't know was that I would do the same just a few months later after I left for college.
After that, the most wonderful transformation began to take place. I talked with PPB about it this past week, and neither of us had a defining moment of revelation in which we consciously decided to treat the other differently. It was just the gradual work of the Holy Spirit, who totally changed our hearts and knit them together in the most wonderful, special daddy/daughter relationship. Now, 13 years later, we are as close as a dad and daughter can possibly be. We share almost everything with each other, and he's truly one of my best friends. From our passions for coffee, pickles and Dilbert to our love for Christ and our family, we never run out of backyard swing conversation topics. And, if we do, we just start quoting "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" and make each other laugh. ("He don't eat no meat???") Though, now that I've got a Mighty Man of God in my life (Hi, Mighty Man!), the conversations have taken an even more special turn. PPB knows that his time as my spiritual leader will eventually come to an end, and he is serious about handing off the reigns in a Godly fashion. And he's also very intent on making sure that his BG (BG = Baby Girl) is prepared well for the transition whenever that comes.
Today, I share all that for several reasons.
1: I just wanted to because I love my PPB.
2: Because I got to quote MBFGW. :) haha! Any excuse to do that, and I'll take it!
But 3: Because it shows the redemptive power of God when you turn over your life to His Son.
Without the changing power of Christ, there is no WAY that PPB and I would be this close. Absolutely not! In fact, I doubt that we'd even be on speaking terms. But through His grace and absolutely amazing love for us, God took what was a huge obstacle and turned it into the most beautiful blessing. It was through no power of our own, that's for sure. It was simply the work of the Lord, who truly desires to give good gifts to His children (Matthew 7:11).
Undoubtedly, He wants to do the same for you. The question just remains whether or not you will let Him.
Love and hugs to you all! :)