One evening some decades ago, I was sitting with a beloved mentor in her living room. We were taking over how I felt about God. Who did I think He was? How did I feel He thought of me? She made me face something that began a journey of knowing God better and truthfully. You see, when I answered those questions without fear of judgement, in a safe place, with a safe person, I could say what was a fear deep in my soul...I was terrified of Him...He couldn't be trusted...He could love and bless me one moment and crush me the next. I feared Him alright, but it was not the awe-inspiring kind of fear; it was a horrible gnawing fear of being punished but not knowing what in the world I was being punished for. I walked through life with a dark cloud over my head, continually ducking for cover and trying my hardest to stay safe, unnoticed, and perhaps good enough to "stay out of trouble."
After this gut-wrenching confession I had dared not reveal to anyone, this sweet woman looked at me and asked, "Cherri, was your dad an alcoholic?" I was shocked. I grew up NOT talking about our family's problems. You didn't say anything to anybody. How could she possibly know? But Dee was one of those dear, wise and wonderful Christian women who kept in touch with the Holy Spirit within her. She began to speak truth to me about the Father, and though the change of heart did not happen instantaneously, my heart did change and continues to as I learn more and more about who God truly is.
What I found is I had, without even trying to, transposed my experiences with my own earthly father onto my Heavenly One. My dad was a great dad when he wasn't drinking, so I had no problem with believing God could be good, kind and affectionate. However, this same father, who I loved dearly, could turn into something completely different when he drank. No physical abuse, but plenty of verbal, and it never made any sense to me. This
cartoon is actually a pretty good depiction of what happened in our
family. When dad drank, he saw everything...even his kids though the
distorted view of the bottle. I grew up unconsciously dividing my father into "good dad" and "bad dad." This carried over into my relationship with my Father God. I loved and trusted Jesus and the Holy Spirit, but God, in my mind, could be a mean one at times and you never knew when it was coming. Scary.
One of the attributes of God I have recently been sinking my thoughts into is His ability to be "over" time. It is a wonder to me to ponder the truth that God is every bit as present in my past as he is with me right now as He is in my future. Think on that a bit! Last year at a Living Proof Conference, Beth Moore, said something I cannot forget...that because God is omnipresent in our past, present and future, we can ask Him to pour healing out on those things that hurt us in the past and have had repercussions in the present, so they don't have power over our future or subsequent generations! WOW! This is a weighty thought!
My prayer for myself and for you, dear friends, is that we would be delightfully surprised by God as He reveals who He is to us daily. Augustine said, "God is best known in not knowing Him." I had to think on that one for a bit, but I think I get it! This life we live, no matter how many days we have, can never possibly get to the place where we can say, "I know God completely and perfectly." He wouldn't be infinite, unfathomable...He wouldn't be God. There is ALWAYS more to learn about this great and loving Creator! What an adventure!
How about you? How do you see God? How do you feel about Him? How has He delighted you? Which of the "I am" statements about God on pages 39-41 in Without Rival means the most to you right now?
I hope this week has been and will continue to be a blessed one for you!
**You will find a bit of my dad's story in the blog post, "What if What We Think is True is Not True at All" here: https://togetherweareonewisewoman.blogspot.com/2015/07/