Posted by: Kara Luker | November 28, 2022

Our relationship-loving Dad

A day before school let out for Thanksgiving break, Chase got really sick with a high fever, an aching body, a nasty cough and endless congestion. I felt very fortunate to be able to rearrange my plans and take care of him. Even his eyes hurt and propping him up in front of the TV wasn’t an option, so I pulled him onto my lap, held him close and prayed quietly over him. 

In between the silent spaces of rest and the tear-filled ones when he was expressing his suffering, he apologized – repeatedly – for being sick. He felt guilty, he said, that he was taking up so much of my time and energy. “I love taking care of you, buddy,” I told him. “It’s what moms do!”  “But I don’t really do anything for you and I feel like I should,” he responded during one of these conversations. He laid out all the ways I care for him and how short he falls in repaying that care in any meaningful way.

The whole thing felt sweet and earnest, yet odd at the same time; like he misunderstood our roles. I explained that it’s not a kid’s job to take care of their parents, but the other way around. “Yeah, but I want to help take care of you,” he said. “I appreciate that! But the thing I want most from you is relationship because just being with you delights me every single day and it makes my heart full when you receive my love and friendship.” When he pressed about what he could do for me, I told him “I feel loved when you willingly do what I ask because it shows that you trust me. That means so much more than some important-looking gesture!” “Huh,” he responded, clearly never having thought of helping around the house as an act of love. “And,” I continued, “I looove when you treat other people well.”

When walking away from that last conversation, my feet stopped moving as my brain was struck with the reality that Chase’s sentiment parallels my own. Having come to understand so much more profoundly how much God loves me and what he sacrificed to demonstrate that love, I have been wanting to repay him with something equally big and sacrificial; a life that reads like a grand gesture of kindness. While that desire probably touches God’s heart, just like Chase’s touched mine, I think that maybe that’s not what he’s asking for.

I think more than anything I can “do” for him, my heavenly Dad mostly wants relationship with me. He wants me to be able to receive his love and care, knowing it is a joy for him; something given freely, not something I owe him for. He wants to hear about the big and little things in my day; to laugh with me over the silly things and to hold me close when my heart breaks. He also wants to share his heart with me and impart wisdom and perspective, giving me a glimpse of what lies beyond my childlike and often self-focused vantage point. If I grasp nothing else in this life, I think this alone would make him pretty darn happy.

But what if I want to do something for him? I think that’s also a lot like what I told Chase; that rather than grand gestures, which are often self-serving anyway, God is blessed beyond measure when I willingly do what he asks because it means that I’ve heard him and trust him. And I think he’s also super blessed and proud when I treat others well because it demonstrates an understanding of how well I’ve been treated. 

This is a huge relief for me. Because, despite my best intentions, I’m not remotely capable of living the life I’d like to live in response to his kindness. I’m tired just thinking about it. But I do think that as I press into him each day, sharing my heart and hearing his, I have a very good chance of living a life that brings him a whole lot of joy, just like my kid brings me.


Responses

  1. What a cool life lesson!

    • Love all the ways God speaks!!

  2. Beautiful Kara! ❤️

    • Thank you! 💗💗


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