the heart of the father




Looking for the Heart of the Father, Finding Abba in the Whisper.


Four simple letters that filter through my mouth as I sit quietly waiting in the chair. It is a heart cry, this whisper that proceeds, nearly inaudible, from my lips. But it is deep and soulful. It is distinctly purpose filled.

My children and I have been reading through Scot McKnight’s book,  The Jesus Creed, as a devotional in the evening when we are resting and deprogramming from the day. Some days we miss this journey to the prayer room together.  That is where we start and always where we end, praying together.  I can feel the chill of missing this time, with my kids, with the Father, when we forget. I consider the beauty that God has produced in my life with this traipsing to His heart.  Taking my children along on the journey of discovery is really the best lesson I can teach.

We‘ve been talking about the Abba that Jesus cried out to, the One who claims our soul. This Abba who loves with such a deep recklessness that He would run to meet us, prodigal and self-righteous alike. The Heavenly Parent we have, whose arms are always open, who encourages close communion. I wish I was like more like Him as I parent.

Longing to hear the familiar voice always pulls on my heart in a way of remembering.As a homeschooling mother, my days can sometimes flow together and I forget the privilege of this parenting journey. I forget till I remember, that is.   My grandmother used to tell me that, and I never quite understood its meaning, till now.

Do-overs, Prayers and Running to the Father.

Now, I do hear her words with a different timbre, one of longing to hear them again and of sometimes hoping for do-overs.

But my kids, they tell me it is ok.  They tell me that they don’t remember the times when I messed up. They tell me that they love me and they squeeze, even these nearly grown images of my husband and myself walking tall, proud, and purposed through their days.

They tell me a lot without words.

  • They tell me HE heard me when I spoke gentle promises over them in the wee hours of the evening, soaking their pillows with tearful prayers of hope and pleading. I see it in the way He answers prayers for their hearts to find His mercy and grace.
  • They tell me they felt my gaze as they pause to pick up without being told or to offer their assistance without expecting anything in return, even though I wasn’t there to direct them. I hear it when people tell me of their acts of kindness towards others.
  • They tell me they saw my humanity when they, too, react  and repent, quickly finding the prayer bench when the weight of the world pushed a little too close. I sense it when they come near but don’t quite have the words. Those silent pleadings only a momma, or an Abba, really can understand.

And I think of the way we run to the Father and how dear this term, Abba, really is and I am drawn to the prayer of the Son. This lesson He has taught and the way that He showed us how to approach our Heavenly Father; earnestly abounding with expectation and hope.  Matthew 6:9 tells us to start our approach with a greeting, not just an entreaty.

Our Father…. Breath prayers of promise… Abba.


Me and Dad circa 1975. He was always a hero to me even when I didn’t act like I thought so.


Walking with Emily; Reading of her Atlas wandering.

Emily was talking about relationship last week on her blog, sharing about the impact of one of our most significant connections in life, the one with our Dad. It bothered me that my view of God could be clouded by my own imperfect relationship with my earthly father, but there were times it did. I didn’t fully see the layer of acceptance from either my Heavenly Father, or my earthly father,  quite the right way and that was all me, not them.

It is now, as a parent, that I can look back and I can see the moments of sacrifice, of burden, and yes, pride.It was rarely communicated, but I know, now, that it was there.

It was little things, things like the small gifts I would get just because it was what he could give, freely. Or the joy he felt on Christmas when he got to splurge a little, because giving gifts is actually his love language.

It wasn’t till I was older, that I appreciated my father the way I should have.

And it was as an adult that I met Abba personally.

Even now, I don’t fully grasp the complexity of this God  who comes near to my heart, but I long to be near Him.

 And I am grateful for the gift of remembering. The glimpse of the hoping that is bound in the heart of a parent towards their child. This sometimes painful love that threatens to explode hearts, but is fully worth the endeavor. I learned that from my dad but I finally found it in the heart of the Father.

And I think of the blessings that God has brought in father figures who have taught me His love.

  • A grandfather whose legacy of faith spoke powerful prayer over my life transcending time’s boundaries.
  •  A Pastor who took time to pour truth into my heart the power of a life transformed by mercy’s pen.
  • Uncles who loved deeply, willing to bless just because they could.
  • And finally, the realization, never too late, of a father who longed to give me more than he ever could but never really knew the words to say so.

In my arrival to the helm of parenting, I met both my earthly Father and my Heavenly Father in tandem.

You see, it was this parenting journey that led me running to the Heavenly Father.  It was embracing this sacred road of rearing my babies that I learned to fully love and appreciate my earthly father.  Sometimes it was more me,  I was difficult, hard to talk to, and uneasy to please, but I know deep down, my dad, he did his best.

And yes, my relationship with my father affected the approach I took to my Heavenly Father, but I got there. And it made me love them both more.  This Abba, of my heart, the one who made me new, it was He  who healed all that was broken and opened my eyes to the deep soul  love that forged a path to finding grace and redemption with my earthly father because He filled the need that only He could fill.  I am so grateful.

There was a challenge to write a letter to the Father this week… and really, all I could do was just whisper, Abba and I found myself fully entrenched in the Heart of the Father. No more words were needed.


Praying you will dive deep in the love that His heart holds for you today and that healing will bring both peace and hope in its wake.












Emily’s writing about Home this week on her blog as we begin reading the next section in the Atlas Girl Book Study . It is a powerful journey she’s taking us on.  You should join us.


atlas girl book club graphic


REFLECTION QUESTIONS Week 2 of the Atlas Girl Book Club:

  1. How has your own relationship with your Dad impacted you? Did/Do you know your father? Was he a friend, or was it difficult to get close to him? How has that changed over the years?


It wasn’t always an easy relationship, but human beings are hard to live with and I know I didn’t always make life a bowl of cherries for my dad.  He did his best.  When I grew up and could appreciate his best, rather than deflect it to something else, grace came in and there was deeper respect and appreciation for one another.


  1. Talk about your walk with your heavenly father; how do you think it has been affected by how you view your earthly dad? In what ways do you associate the two, and how has that changed since you were a child?


Walking with Jesus, daily pursuing grace and His goodness,  it has opened my eyes to the heart of the Father and what a heart He has. It has helped me to love my own dad deeper, have a bit more compassion, and to see that we all need to have someone look up to us. I could see the joy when I asked him to help me with things as a grown woman, and it reminded me of the little things he always delighted in doing for us when we were kids.

  1. When you picture God, what words come to mind? What circumstances might help improve your intimacy with God and allow you to see Him more as a “Papa” or “Abba”? Would it help if your earthly father said sorry?


Oh, my heart flows when I think of the Father. I am so thankful for the beauty of calling Him Abba, the intimate connection it provides.  There was a time when I longed to be right, and even to hope for some validation of feelings that were nestled in the heart of an emotional teenager, but the closer I got to knowing the Father, I realized that those ‘sorrys’ were spoken many times over and really, it was my turn to apologize for so many ways that I provoked my parents.  It is humbling now, how many times I have to apologize to my own kids for reacting rather than responding.


  1. Galatians talks about how our spirit cries out for Abba Father; we carry this longing inside us to connect with our true Papa. Would you be willing to ask God to plant the roots of forgiveness in your heart so that you might begin to understand what it truly means to be God’s daughter?


Absolutely! That is such a profound prayer of freedom to pursue.