As I’ve said before, the word God had for me this year was, intimacy. Choosing to take the year and learn what it looks like to walk closer to God and learning to keep margin in my life so that this intimacy can be intentionally cultivated. So God’s been bringing back to something significant in the past weeks. The idea of being Fathered or Sonship. My buddy, Chris, brought this up recently in going back through some teachings we’ve both been under about reorienting to God as Father. I’ve brought a version of this teaching to the Boot Camps I’ve been blessed to lead over the last year.
Tonight, I’m sitting in a hotel room, and after I finished dinner, I decided to punch up a session taught by Morgan Snyder of Ransomed Heart. I’ve heard this teaching before live and online and as I’ve mentioned, it is a part of what I teach now. But something clicked this evening as I began to listen to Morgan again. A couple of questions. What places in my heart have I still not allowed God to Father in me? Where have I been Fathered and not even realized in?
I’ve overlooked this before, but part of the session, Morgan talks about the different people that God has used to Father him in recent years. I started reflecting. At the Anvil Boot Camp, I share some of Sonship and how God is trying to reorient us back to Him as Father. That this has always been his intention. But have I really stopped to think about the varying ways that God has Fathered me?
When I think on this question, I see the answer immediately. No I have not and I have not fully appreciated this. God will choose to Father us in some many ways and through so many different people. After my dad died in 2009, I spent the next few years in a wandering daze. I fell under bad kings and listened to bad advice. I also tried to figure out life on my own, without God and without anyone else. I lived in isolation. John Eldredge says something very profound in Wild at Heart. “The world is rigged in a way that it does not work apart from God.” I didn’t know this yet.
I’ve shared before a dream I had of my dad, about 6 months after his death, while my oldest son was in the hospital. He met me in my office building, actually almost exactly 8 years ago this week, and through his arms around me and said he was going to help get rid of the devil in me. Very vivid dream. Made me recall William Wallace in Braveheart when he sees his father after he is killed, tell him that his heart is free and not be be afraid to live by it. I always looked to this dream as the start of something, although it took a few more years.
The first fathering began through a man named Tim. This man is now my friend and pastor. Actually, almost like a big brother. He helped, although I didn’t realize it, though small conversations around baseball, to steer me in a new direction. The next most unlikely fathering, actually came through a lady that I worked with. Her name was KC and God put an urge in heart heart to give a book. This book was Wild at Heart. It sat on my desk for nearly 18 months before I read it, but I know God used that moment to continue Fathering me, and leading me back to Him. Because of that moment, a ripple effect has taken place that continues to today. My friend Steve reflected on it and shared this after we finished our 3rd Boot Camp this past weekend. “All of the miracles coming out, simply due to someone caring enough about a friend, and giving that friend a book to read.” It’s rather amazing to seek how Abba works.
Over the years since then, radical transformation began. God placed other men in my life to help guide me. Tim and I grew a closer friendship, other brothers have been used including Butch, Steve, and others, and thenguys like John Eldredge, Morgan Snyder, and a gentleman named Mark Woods became men that were also used to Father me from a distance. It’s kind of wild to think about, when we choose to allow God to Father us in whatever way he deems is needed, the change and transformation that happens over time will be tremendous. God has even Fathered me through a knife that I had lost, when a new one arrived in the mail 6 months later.
As I reflect on this idea of being Fathered by God in radical a new ways, I realize that this is all a part of this growth in intimacy with Him. Resting on that and resting in my identity as a son through Jesus Christ bring with it deeper and deeper meaning. So think about this today, in your own life. Have you felt unfathered in some areas, skewing your idea and view of God as Father? If so, where? Then think about what ways and through who God has already been trying to Father you and have been receptive of it.
It’s something we must choose. The Fathering does not come forced. God wants us to choose Him, but we must begin to change our perspective. Will you choose to be Fathered?
Growing up without a father at all, I looked in all the wrong places to be validated. Once my salvation experience happened discernment came much easier and I only chose men that were REAL. By real I mean transparent and unafraid to speak the truth into my life. I have some buddies that I call friends, but my real friends can be counted on one hand.
I know who they are, I know their walk and I’m unafraid to let them know if I’m disappointed in their actions or decisions and I expect the same in return. God has used Godly men to Father me until I could get to the place that I could trust Him wholeheartedly to Father me. He chose me, I didn’t choose Him and He “ conformed me to the likeness of His Son” by the indwelling of His Holy Spirit. Today, I know, trust and acknowledge Whose I am, passing this level of faith and Fatherhood on to those men who have a craving for what they do not know or understand; this is discipleship.