I grew up knowing of my Father, but I did not physically live with him in our home. My Mum says we met when I was around 5 years old. I have vague memories of the setting but not the man himself. When I was 18 years old, I made a request to meet him, but it didn’t pan out.
Over the years the desire to meet died down. Until recently when our 2nd born son wanted to know why I don’t have a Babu like his Dad does. I was at a loss for words and just told him, “I don’t have one.”
It presents a challenge to believe in God the Father when you didn’t grow up with a Father (or strong Father Figure). Our earthly Fathers are representations of God our Father in Heaven. I came across a conversation on #DaddyIssues by Eric Thimba and Grace Msalame. What remained with me was that we can ask God to reveal himself to us as a Father. We just need to ask, so I did.
I started to truly process the concept of God the Father when I heard Good Good Father by Chris Tomlin. Such a strong revelation, that sent shivers down my spine. I remember meditating on it for a few months.
One of my commitments during lock-down has been to do Bible devotion every morning. Yesterday, I came across 1 John 2:28-29 & 1 John 3: 1-10 titled “Children of God”. These thoughts came to me:
“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!”1 John 3: 1
A great Father-Daughter relationship has strong repercussions on how that girl turns out in life. It involves a pure love that is sweet to be a witness to. It’s that #GirlDad kind of love. The one that really got us in our feelings when Kobe & Gigi Bryant’s passing earlier 2020.
It’s that unconditional love that’s enough for a daughter to know; no matter how badly she messes up, her father will be there. Not to ridicule and demean but to forgive & support. Being a child of God means that unconditional and forgiving love is there for us. Always.
“The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.”1 John 3: 1
Growing up, when I’d be in the presence of family elders or visitors, they’d always ask my name. Traditionally, it wasn’t well and good to just say your given name. But you were expected to say your surname as well. I would have to link to my Mother, then to her Father, to get a footing in my lineage.
Indeed, if someone does not know your Father it’s unlikely they’ll know where to place you, therefore not know you. You’re walking the earth without a strong identity and that affects your perception about yourself. Being a child of God means we know whose and therefore who we are.
“No one who is born of God will continue to sin because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God.”1 John 3: 6 & 9
I remember growing up, we were always told in different ways what our families stood or didn’t stand for. “In our family, we don’t lie, we share, we…”. I speak the same to our sons. Speaking more on the values we want them to have. All the while I look out for Character traits that will be troublesome in the future. I can’t decide who they’ll be, but I can teach good mental and moral qualities I’d like them to possess. Being a child of God means our core value is set. We derive our character of working towards righteousness.
“And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.”1 John 2: 18
I have struggled with low self-esteem & confidence for most of my life. Most times I keep requiring to find assurance from different quarters regarding what I am doing. I only realized this a few years ago, but I have since learned to not look for that in people. However, sometimes it still lingers on and I have to catch myself. I always imagine that if I had a good, present Father I would be more confident. However, we are assuted that being a child of God should give us confidence. We should never be ashamed about God being our Father, and us being his children.
“Dear Friends, now we are Children of God, and what we will have not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall know all things and be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”1 John 3:2
I watch my boys all the time. They look up to their Dad, wanting to be like him, dress like him, cut their hair like him. They want to know what he knows and they are always trying to pit their knowledge against his. It’s lovely to watch. I imagine one day they’ll know as much or more than their Dad. For now, they rely on him as their concrete source of information about life. Being a child of God means that we might not know everything about our lives; but God does and that should be enough for us to trust that he desires good things for us.
“This is how we know who the children of God are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.”1 John 3: 10
African funerals tend to be trying times for the family. Immediate family members start to look over their shoulders to see if any other family/children will emerge claiming inheritance rights. In many families, children who grew up not knowing of another family existed. Some find out by mistake as children and it breeds resentment and anger. Yet, I know of half-siblings who were introduced in a good way early in life. They now get along, love & support each other. Being a child of God assures us that we can identify our Brothers/Sisters easily without strife. Our only command is to love them.
I hope this reassures you of what it means to be a Child of God. For us, being a child of God means that we are loved. It means we have an identity, in Him. Being a child of God means we have strong characters. We are designed to be confident. It means we have a Father who knows & understands us. We are part of a family. I pray these lessons to come to manifest in you as they have started to in me. The journey to building a relationship with God our Father never ends. It only becomes sweeter.
I wrote & posted this piece – God The Father – on Instagram on the 15th of May 2020. A fortnight later, my Father-in-Law went to be with the Lord. It’s been a bag of mixed feelings for me in the last few months. After not having a Father in my life, I was blessed with one 11 years ago, when I got married. Sadly, it only dawned on me that I finally had an active father in my life in 2017. A whole 8 years later!
Since then, I purposed to make up for the lost time. I tried my best to be a present daughter. In a way, working towards being that, brought me closer to God the Father. I can testify that indeed our earthly Fathers are reflections of God above. My heart is at peace that they are together now, both looking down on all of us.