When I was about 10 or 11 years old we spent the summers hanging out in the creek behind our house. The creek wasn't very deep, a few deeper holes here and there and for the most part, quite calm. Now we were allowed to play in the section that had the slow moving water but just over a ridge of rocks the water became shallower and swifter moving. The rule was we were not allowed to go over the ridge. At the preteen age of 11 I liked to press that boundary, floating just to the ridge and then stopping myself before going over it. Then it happened I pressed my luck and lost. I was swept over the ridge and into the swift water. I caught myself on a rock and held on for dear life. I can still feel the fear. As I clung to the slimy rock I was screaming for help. I looked at the bank of the creek and all my friends were standing there watching me. Didn't they see that I was about to be swept into the Lehigh River? Didn't they know I was going to drown. Finally, one of my brothers ran for my parents. I could hear my mom calling, "Missy! Stand up!" She never did understand me. I couldn't stand up the rocks were slimy and the water was so fast. I could feel it pressing on my shoulders trying to rip me from my rock. I knew if I let go that was the end.
Then my Daddy showed up with a rope. He waded into the water and stood in the safe side, the calm side of the rocks. "Missy, catch the rope." "I can't let go Daddy" "I'll pull you up, catch the rope." My dad tossed the rope...I missed it and he tossed it again. This time I managed to grab the rope and I could feel his strength through the rope."Now stand up Missy." Clinging to rope now wrapped around my hands, I stood up. The water was just above my ankles. My dad did not tease me, did not shake his head is disappointment, he just pulled me to him and hugged me.
A few short years later, I lost my Daddy due to a car accident. I was so very angry for a long time. Angry with God for taking my father, my hero. I decided that God didn't care for me so I wouldn't care for him. I rebelled, I pushed the boundaries. I didn't join a gang or start traffic-ing drugs, but I sinned knowingly, openly. I had a void in my life and tried to fill it with whatever felt good at the time. I heard God telling me to stop, almost begging me to stop. You know when people say God always gives you an "out" when you are tempted to do wrong...it's true. I heard him, I saw the "outs", I ignored him. I had a child outside of marriage and then again another child with another man(now my husband)I can't remember what it was that stopped me in my tracks, what triggered a reaction, but suddenly I was very sad. I knew I was living wrong. I knew I had disrespected my Heavenly Father. I could feel the water rushing over me again. I could feel that rock in my arms, the fear that if I let go, all was lost. And then I felt Him there, on the safe side, the calm side and He said "Melissa, catch the rope." "Father, I can't. I don't deserve the rope." "I'll pull you up, catch the rope." Jesus was there. He did not scold me, he held me and told me he loved me and would always be there for me. I began to see the water was only at my ankles, I could make changes in my life, I gained perspective, grew my confidence back.
I still sin. I still press the boundaries. But I know my Heavenly Father loves me no matter what and He will always be there with the rope...
So Happy Father's day to my Earthly Daddy, now in heaven, who gave me a glimpse of God. And Happy Father's day to my Heavenly Father who has shown me His unending love for me.