“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.”
1 John 3:1
I’ve already shared a few stories about my dad here in the blog, so it’s probably easy to tell that I’m a big fan. 🙂 I know that I am very lucky to have the father that I have on this earth. He is wise, loving, kind, patient, strong, protective and a strong follower of Jesus. My dad has modeled so many important things to me and has helped shape me into the woman I am today. A lot of my best stories involve him. I love him dearly.
This made it particularly hard and painful as my dad started showing some strange symptoms a few years back. Besides a pretty progressive amount of forgetfulness that was not characteristic of a man in his early 60s, there were other things – confusion, anxiety, mood changes and declining comprehension. We began round after round of testing, second and third opinions, traveling for expert doctors and finally landed at a specialty clinic north of where we live. Just a few days after his testing there in December 2015, the doctors called a family meeting and sat us around a large oak table where they broke the news that my father had early onset Alzheimers Disease at a moderate stage.
Everything became a blur punctuated by a few phrases… “terminal disease”, “will never improve”, “average diagnosis to death…8 years.” I had seen signs of my dad slipping away prior, but this made it official. My dad was fading and we would have to watch him fade away before losing him completely. To say my heart was crushed is an understatement. I never imagined the possibility of losing a parent in my 30s or 40s. We were supposed to grow old together, sprout gray hairs together and laugh about “the good old days”.
My emotions have ebbed and flowed as we’ve navigated the last 3 years since his diagnosis and the slow loss that accompanies time. I have really good, strong and positive days, and I have very dark, sad and lonely days. Mourning the gradual loss of someone who is standing right in front of you is indescribably painful and exhausting. As I explained the emotional roller coaster to my best friend, I found myself choking out what my heart had been struggling with…”Sometime soon, I won’t have a dad anymore. Who is going to take care of me? Sometimes you just need a dad! I can’t do this life without my daddy.”
It was a few weeks later that I first heard the song “No Longer Slaves” from Bethel Music and cried my eyes out. These particular verses were gut-wrenching and beautiful to me:
From my mother’s womb
You have chosen me
Love has called my name.
I’ve been born again to my family
Your blood flows through my veins.
I’m not longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God.
I am surrounded
By the arms of the Father.
I am surrounded
By songs of deliverance.
We’ve been liberated
From our bondage.
We’re the songs and the daughters.
Let us sing our freedom.
It was a real WHOA GOD kind of moment for me. Though I will have to endure the pain and loss of my early father, I will never be without a Father. The God of the universe was my father first. I AM A CHILD OF GOD. I belong to him. I always will. And what greater love is there than the love of our heavenly father.
I have found great comfort in the knowledge that I was, am and forever will be loved by our Father God. No matter what comes, I am his child and will be covered by his grace and compassion. On tough days, I meditate on 1 John 3:1 and the promise contained therein. The promise that our Father loves us so very much that we are called his children. And I honestly feel his arms wrap around me and surround the pain, and provide me with peace and love.
When I opened the August Faith Art box I was blown away when the very first thing I saw was the child of God medallion sticker. Friends, our God really meets us where we are at and where we have a need, and I needed to be reminded of this powerful truth.
This was an emotional entry for me and honestly, creatively, I struggled. I was inspired by the beautiful entry that Lindsey did last month and so I framed out the verses for the entry in a similar fashion. I then got out some different shades of red and pink gelatos (Iced Currant, Red Cherry, Metallic Melon, and Guava with some accents of Metallic Icing) and made some circular shapes reminiscent of the rosettes in the stamp set. I used a light wash of water to make a watercolor effect and blend the shades together. After they dried I stamped in the rosettes on top using black VersaFine ink using some paper masks to layer them and then sprinkled in some leaves from this and previous kits.
I then framed the verses with a few strips of light blue paper that matched this month’s colors and fastened on this sweet lace border using a bit of clear embellishment glue. I used a dimensional dot to place the child of God medallion and make it pop up so I could layer the blossom stickers underneath.
I finished with a few of the enamel shapes from last month’s kit and a bit of journaling at the top right of the page.
I really wanted to include the lyrics from the No Longer Slaves song to make it really personal so I cut the reflection questions from the devotional card, printed off the lyrics and fastened them to the card, framing it in a bit more of the lace border. Then, I used the wordfetti from the kit to add the title, “My name is child of God”. I love this little extra card! I’m using the sweet floral print bow to secure it into my bible.
And I love that it includes the great reflection questions on the back. I love having a reminder of what I’ve been studying right there on my page.
My prayer for you is that you would know the love of our heavenly Father. Love that is deep, pure, unconditional and grace-giving. No matter what your earthly father is like, or whether you know or have a relationship with your dad, you are still a precious, loved child of God and there is nothing better than His love for you. His love covers all pain, fear, shame and doubt. You will forever be his.
Be blessed, friends!