A Dialogue With Dad

Scene: It’s the “Quarter of a Century” celebration for my father’s 25 anniversary in Heaven. As a gift, God grants my father an hour for morning coffee with his daughter, me. Everything is calm and peaceful. There is an air of gentleness and “early misty morning coffee” quietness.

“Morning dad,” I start.

“Morning,” he replies.

“How does it feel to be 25 again?” I smile as the words flow out.

“Great! Better than ever,” he smiles back.

We both pause and chuckle.

“I don’t really know how to to talk to you,” my eyes water slightly.

“I’m sorry for that,” he sincerely apologizes. “Just talk however you can, I’m listening.”

“I know that I miss you.”

“I know,” he speaks reassuringly, “Believe me, I miss you too.”

“Thank you for accepting that letter,” I say sheepishly. “I know it was harsh at times.” I wince slightly at the thought.

“You said what you had to say,” he speaks calmly, peacefully.

“I’m better now.”

“I can see.”

“It helped to work through it, to let it all out,” I smile reminiscing the mess of emotions that was me just a few months back.

A moment of silence interrupts our conversation, steady clock ticking in the background.

“I, I…” he starts out, voice cracking, “I’m sorry I left you guys. Please believe me when I say I wanted to stay. Please believe Sarah.”

“I do dad. I do now. I won’t say I’m better off…”

“Good,” he cuts me off from finishing my thought, “Because we would have been a good team.”

I choke back a mini sob as a couple tears roll down my cheek, “You think?” I smile through the mess.

“I know,” he adamantly confirms.

“So we’re good then?”

“We’re good,” he smiles, and winks in the comforting way that loving fathers can.

I smile back, “I’m not going to awkwardly wink at you… I think it’d ruin the moment.”

Laughter ensues. We smile and gaze into each other’s eyes, in a moment of mutual understanding. His eyes twinkle and gleam.

“I feel like I should tell you more about the letter.”

“Let it go for now,” he asks, “We only have a little longer. You can always write me again,” he mentions, poking fun, yet completely serious.

“Okay dad, I will,” I agree.

“I like hearing you call me that.”

“I like being able to call you that without breaking down in tears.”

“I like that too. You’ll get there darling.”

“So…” I start out conversationally, “How are you celebrating today? Twenty-five years in Heaven. I’m sure time passes differently, but please indulge me!”

“Indulge, well okay,” he plays along with my childlike imagination and heart. “Well,” he smiles with admiration and amusement for his (our) family, “Paula’s throwing a big party, and while she’s preparing and decorating, dad and I are going to golf 18. You can’t imagine how great the course is here! Beauty beyond belief! And without anger, well Sarah, you could play,” he jokes. Clearly he’d seen clips of my cursing spells and golf course tantrums.

“Ha, very funny,” I say not as amused.

“But really,” he continues, “Dad and I go out every morning, or so to speak. You owe me at least one game.”

“But,” I plead, “I took that golf course in college for you and grandpa. That B lowered my GPA. Isn’t that enough?” I add some whine and sass for the sheer pleasure of it.

“Oh,” he soaks in his amusement, “Missed those teenage years, or was it early twenties for you?” he pokes more fun.

“Ha ha,” I concede, “One game. It’s a date.” We shake on it. His hand is larger than mine, but the perfect temperature of not-too-hot and not-too-cold. It reassures, comforts and confirms all in one shake.

“Your Gma’s making her chicken wings,” he continues.

“And popcorn balls?” I ask.

“No, we had those for All Saints’ Day.”

“What were those other things I loved?…” now drawn into the delicious memories of Gma’s best dishes.

“Potato dumplings,” he confidently mentioned, “She mentioned that to me once. She makes them up here from time-to-time, and they are DI-VINE,” he emphasizes “divine” kissing his fingers, then spreading them out in a French (or is it Italian?) perfection way.

“Be careful in that snow,” he changes the topic.

“I will,” I answer honestly. “Is it time for you to leave?”


“This has been nice,” I mention gently.

“It has been,” he agrees. “Keep chasing your dreams, Sarah, wherever they may take you.”

“Even Colorado?” I smile at the possibility.

“Even Colorado,” he smiles too.

“I love you, you know,” he is gently adamant in the words he speaks.

“I know,” I softly respond.

“Do you?” he firmly questions.

“I do. I love you too dad.”

Moment of silence.

“Dad?” I ask.

“Yes daughter?”

“Does your golf game improve in Heaven?” I smile at the shallowness of my final question.

“No darling, it doesn’t,” he laughs.

Then I laugh.

We share a smile.

The next moment he’s gone. Off to golf eighteen with Clayton in the land free of stress, anger and pain.

A peace-filled golf game, I amuse at the thought, imagine that?

. . .








Mama God

think I was onto something the other night. How can anyone be expected to understand God the Father as loving, when many of us have lost our fathers, or they walked out, or simply weren’t present in our lives? In moments of adulthood fear, searching for safety, I’ve realized, growing up, that it was never a father I went to for comfort, but my loving mother. Last night, I felt less fearful than I have been, and more safe as I imagine God’s presence as my mother.

Before this thought, “God protecting me” was simply words, truthful words, but none of them ever stuck. The same goes for God loving me. I’ve been praying for weeks, months, maybe even years for the truth of God’s love to sink into the depths of my being. I think it would create a more desperate desire to share Jesus’s love with others, if I truly knew it myself. I’ve known it on paper for nearly my entire life, but I have yet to understand or fathom it in my own life.

This God the Father thing, doesn’t come naturally to me. Jesus I get, but God was more of a creator, or spacey commander of the Old Testament. Fathers in general didn’t come naturally to me. Growing up without a dad (passed away from Leukemia when I was three), I was generally uncomfortable around even my friend’s dads. There’s no class for us fatherless of how to act or what to talk about, or really anything. So we learn from TV shows and observance of our friend’s families. I did, at least. I do have an older brother, and his presence probably could have been helpful, but when we reached an age when anything would’ve mattered, he decided he was too cool for his weird and annoying little sister. Though in all honesty, brothers are meant to be brothers to their sisters, not fathers. So I’ll cut him some slack. 

I personally don’t know of this fatherly love or protection, but what I did know was I had one heck of a mother bear. My mother would fight for me, whatever the cost, even to this day. I knew I could run to her when bad dreams shattered my sleep. I know her love for me is beyond that of anyone else. Which means, if I can picture God, as someone who is as present, loves me and fights for me as much as my mother does, then it will be a good start to begin to grasp these truths.

Think about it. Is your father a good image for grasping the love of a Heavenly Father? If so – awesome! You are blessed. If not, who is the one person who loves you better than anyone else? Imagine them always at your side – protecting and always loving you. God’s abilities are so beyond man’s, but I’m finding this is a good place to start.

Comfort in the Silence

I wish I had the guts to “Risk it all” while I was at cleftRock. Secluded in the woods of Rockcastle county, at least a thirty minute drive from the nearest Starbucks or Walmart, I lived in a cabin free of modern distractions for six months. I had support-raised for six months prior, and volunteered part time to get to this point. Serving as the Hospitality Manager and caterer, I found myself cleaning cabins, doing laundry, organizing cleaning products, and in the best of times, greeting guests and cooking for groups. cleftRock was (I think it still is…) a retreat center that offered 3 day/2 night free yearly retreats to pastors/missionaries and their families. A place of Sabbath rest.

Before finding myself in the woods, alone, I thought of all the wonders that this life would be. Like my own dream little dude ranch, minus the horses, I would hear the stories of the best warriors around. I would learn to be a better pray-er and truly trust in the Lord’s providence. Plus I would have a whole cabin, to myself, in the woods. How romantic. Not. I also dreamt of the possibility of God bringing me, ahem us, a ruggedly handsome, Jesus-loving maintenance man. We of course would fall in love and continue to use our gifts in this ministry of member care. Let’s just say life didn’t work out as I had planned it.

My cabin had no wifi, and it was far away from direct socialization. Though there was the couple than ran it, who lived through the woods, and delightful as they were, I didn’t get to experience their socialization as much as I hoped. They were in their mid-thirties, married, and content with their quiet life in the woods. I, however, was a late-twenties puppy who yearned for attention and love. The guests were indeed really amazing people doing really amazing things for the Lord, but most of our interactions included me welcoming them and then, on good days, praying for them and their time of rest. Which many of my prayers felt so lowly, much like, “What can I offer you?… I am but a maid, and you, you are changing the world…” Many times I would try to get the organization head to pray for them, because I felt simply unworthy. But I did get better, thanks be to God. Even in the best of times, greetings would include, hellos, maybe a quick story, prayers and then see them never again, because, you know, they were on retreat.

I was also quite disappointed by the way the catering worked out. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the opportunity to cook for those groups: deciding who would like what, planning menus, shopping in civilization and hearing them ooo and awe over what I had prepared for them. Unfortunately, I missed out on what I had experienced as a Group’s Host at CAP. CAP was more about community and cleftRock more about retreating. At CAP, I would eat with the groups that I cooked for. Here at cR, I was just their chef and for the most part, I found myself eating alone in the kitchen, hearing their joy and laughter just through the double set of double doors.

To say the least, I struggled. It would have been a great opportunity to surrender everything and see what the Lord would do, but I was so distraught by my lack of socialization that I couldn’t fathom letting go of any of my comforts. I needed people. I needed more than the once-a-week fellowship with my coworkers and the hour and a half worship at church. I wanted Netflix to pass the time as I desired TV friends to help me feel not so alone.

The idea of being there had sounded so enticing, and I truly (still to this day) felt God calling me there. The romantic idea of my own cabin in the woods, sounded delightful! Serving, with my gift of hospitality, pastors/missionaries and their families by providing a welcoming atmosphere of peace and cleanliness where they could rest free of worldly distractions – seemed magical! What I didn’t realize was that I too would be distraction-free. And unlike this year, I was not prepared for it.

I was so distracted by my aloneness that I couldn’t enjoy a perfect opportunity to bask in the presence of God. And it was truly a peaceful place.

One bonus was our Italy team. They were planning on planting a retreat center in Italy, and they came to observe, work with us and plan about once per season. They added a refreshing amount of life to the retreat center. Mother of three boys and wife to her beloved, I connected with (I’ll call her) Grace. I found that I could breathe again when I was with them. We played games, laughed and Grace and I had soulful conversations. Just what my heart needed. One day, clearly noticing my discontent, she told me that her prayer for me would be that I would be able to be completely content and fulfilled with Christ alone. It was hard to hear in the moment, as part of me – a “lifer” in the church – thought I already had that. Another part of me, knowing that wasn’t all true, struggled because I thought I had a need for community, deep God-honoring community, that needed to be fulfilled first.

It may have taken a year and a half, but I think I’m finding that place. I don’t feel at a loss for the things I’ve given up this year. I feel blessed with the time I have to read my Bible, pray, write, read and truly seek Him. I don’t feel like I’m lacking community, even though I choose to spend some Saturdays alone at home soaking up His substance – for He provides me with everything I need. I am so thankful for this opportunity to seek Christ, and even though I may not have been ready at cR, I know I am ready now. So thank you Grace (you know who you are) for your advice and your prayers, they helped me get to this beautiful, not-always-easy-but-wonderful place where I am today.


Christ-followers come from near and far

Happy to serve, hungry for more.

Reaching out with their hands and their hearts

Inspired by Christ loving the poor.

Standing together, learning to grow

Touching through prayer, healing a soul.

Igniting the generations to serve.

Another day, another year to be made whole.

Not knowing where it’ll take you – God’s call to console.

. . .

A land far away with hearts closely gathered

Pocketbook poor, but not where it matters

People who’ve lost it all, but care more deeply

Are still willing to give and they don’t do so cheaply.

Love they hand out in return for our service

And some help along, making it worth it.

Children all smile, cute as can be.

Hungry inside, some don’t make a plea.

Incredibly crafty, quilts sewn and cans canned

A culture so rich, strings pickin’ bluegrass band

Nature at its finest, God’s breathtaking farmland.

. . .

Please take time to pray and seek.

Respite, housing, elderly, children, food, clothing, and more

Open to using your skills to serve the poor.

Just once then forever we all stay.

Even those who depart, are still here in some way

Connect with us and fill your heart with cheer

To donate or volunteer, you’re welcome to click here: http://christianapp.org/

Breathe in God’s Promises, Shine out God’s Light

I am forgiven.


God is in control.


God is the Light of all people.


And that Light through Christ,


Shines within us.


No darkness can ever overcome that.


God came to be with us, Emmanuel.


He goes before us.


Walks beside us.


Carries us.


Bears our burdens.


Goes behind us.


Protects, provides and conquers,


And shines, always, within us.



Simple necessities I thought were needed. Gone with a chime, and a tithe to new season. Changes are made and comforts released. Habits of old now seem displeased.

I awake with a start to each new day. But by the end, my energy fades to gray. Once put together, life lived at ease. Broken I feel, life’s whole now in pieces.

Gone is the usual that used to be me. Awakened a new dawn, a could-possibly be. New opportunities await at each corner. This uncomfortableness also soon to be over.

Everything fades, this much is true. To each there is a season, no sky forever blue. From comfort to discomfort to comfort again. Change is a constant, a never-ending mend.


via Daily Prompt: Gone