Thursday, November 22, 2012

And Today, I Give Thanks for My Dad

My dad is still in rehab, just over a hundred days sober I think.

He is still there and for that I give thanks. Grace must be swallowing him up hard and there is overflowing gratitude in that too. 

When I think about Thanksgiving, I hear my story, the one God has been writing from day one. The one that really began right here on this day, and now six years has passed. 

Time flies and God is faithful, that much I know. 

Dad birthed us all and by that we share the same blood. God knew in my conception even, that someday the blood passed down from my dad would flow through the very lips that would speak of this Savior, this Messiah who was and who is and who is coming. These would be the same lips that would speak hope into my blackened heart. Dad gave the lives that spoke me into eternal life and it all started with a hug on this Thanksgiving day six years back. 

And that, this relationship with my three siblings and in-laws, that makes me thankful for the man that gave us shared blood and similar faces, for the one that links us tight into some grand melody that is playing. And today, I hear it loud jumping across these walls as I write in the quiet. And oh I am swimming in Thanksgiving.

Dad, lately I miss you. I miss the moments I watch these girls have with their daddy and I miss playing spades together. I had to go out this morning and buy my own Thanksgiving ads because you're not here. Today I realized that is one thing you never forgot. I see glimpses now, glimpses of sweetness that only the Lord could give. After walking through this tough year, I am so very thankful for the glimpses. Oh, dad. I am thankful for the moments that brought dimples into my cheeks. I am thankful you're alive.

I saw this movie the other day and the words are still etching in. This man, he lost it all--his wife, his son, his career, his friends, his integrity, his reputation. He was sentenced to time in prison for flying a plane while drunk, though lives were spared though him, even in his drunken stupor. He is behind bars a year or so and his words are wiser becuase of it.

Because sometimes we have to lose it all to contemplate life and death--and sometimes it just makes us want to live. Makes us want to live free because anything less is death anyhow. Yeah that's it I guess--a life lived in pursuit of death is not a life worth living. And so we search for something more.

So what if you lost it all and you found yourself surrounded by bars and scary looking men and even still you made the following remark.

I am in jail locked behind these bars and I deserve it, but I have never been more free in my life.

It sounds a lot like Paul. In chains for Christ and counting it all joy for it results in steadfastness and remember he used to kill Christians. He lived a life in pursuit of death and soon realized it was not a life worth living. Sin in the garden resulted in death for all and yet even still for this murder God made a way. He made a way for us too. Yes dad, for you and for me.

So let's know freedom in the safety of where God has us, know it so good and choose life.

In this movie, the closing scene, his son (whom he'd hurt deeply) came to prison to visit him and he wanted to interview his dad for a class. The prompt of the interview is Someone You Really Want to Know. "Who are you?" I want to know you, he tells his dad. Redemption.

Dad, I want to know you. I want to forgive you, I mean I do, most days I have to choose it. I want to know you a hundred days sober and a hundred months sober. And in God's grace maybe that will happen someday. But more then anything, I hope that you will ask yourself--"Who am I?" Who am I when I'm not drunk, who am I when I have a purpose so much bigger then myself, who am I when all the rest of it falls away and I am sitting behind bars with no one and nothing?

Who am I that my sin hasn't yet resulted in death? Who I am that God chose me and set my apart? Who am I that in His abundant grace, He gave His Son that I might be free? It's true. 

Not who was I but who am I because of my past and because of the grace that far exceeds it? You know it's not vain, the past that is. God is using it.

And so tonight I think of you. I hope and pray that as you are "locked behind bars" in a half way house this Thanksgiving, that as sobriety reaches over a hundred days at this point, I pray you are being set free by Christ, that you are learning who you are in Him because apart from that it's all fleeting and failing.

Today, I am thankful for you, dad. I'm thankful for the suffering and pain of this year because I know Christ more today then I did a year ago. I am more of a mess and I need Him more too. 

And I look forward to the day when I can sit across from you and find out who you are, redeemed and bought and new.

What are you thankful for today, friends? 

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