I was very upset. Our ministry had been attacked again. I was frustrated by how people speak with authority on subjects where they are not fully educated. They were speaking in ignorance and they were wrong about us. But mostly, I was sad. I was sad because of the impact on our Kingdom work. God put a calling on our lives to bring people closer to him through emotional healing; a calling that shows his love through healing, a calling that has saved numerous lives, marriages, and families. I know that God works all things to the good and I know that they persecuted him and they will persecute us… but I was sad and angry.

My 18-year old son, seeing how upset I was, said, “Mom, you need a hug!” On the verge of tears, I said, “No I don’t. I need to punch someone.” My son, who now towers over me and is much stronger than I am, stood in front of me with open arms and refused to move until I let him hug me. He wrapped his arms around me and pulled me into his chest. He didn’t let go until I completely relaxed in his embrace. In a surrendered, playful tone, I exclaimed, “Aw man, this is actually helping.” Very satisfied with himself he let go, and with a huge smile on his face he said, “See… you needed a hug.” He was right of course. That hug gave me time to calm down and get some perspective. I know that nothing of great purpose is ever accomplished without some level of criticism. Jesus said, “‘a servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.” I was thankful for the fresh perspective, but this really wasn’t the lesson God was teaching me in that moment. I just didn’t realize it until about a week later.

It happened during my date night with Jesus at Praise in Motion. During the song “Sinking Deep,” the leader asked us to picture Jesus in front of us. As I imagined Jesus in front of me he had his arms open, inviting me in. I pictured myself falling into his embrace and he wrapped his arms around me. My head resting on his chest, I felt the love of my Heavenly Father. It was a love so deep and true, I’ve never felt anything quite like it. During this time I was struck by the thought that I don’t remember ever being held that way by an earthly father. But somehow it did feel vaguely familiar, like I’ve been in his arms before. Then instantly God showed me my son, my 18-year old, standing before me with his arms open wide. He comforted me that same way. Could it be that God used my own son to give me an earthly example of His fatherly love? My once little boy, that I so desperately wanted to love well enough that he would know God’s love, was now showing ME, God’s love. Not just God’s love, His Fatherly love. Astounding! It was multifaceted; so much to take in and incomprehensible… I was overwhelmed!

I’ve always been able to picture Jesus’ love. I feel like God has given me a great example of Jesus in my husband; his unconditional and sacrificial love represents the love of Jesus. However, for years I grieved the lack of fatherly intimacy and I’ve wondered if my lack of a framework for that would ever let me completely accept God as a loving father. He gave me a framework in the most unexpected and profound way… through my own son.

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