Someday You’ll Understand




Suggested reading: Hebrews 12:5-11

Honor your father and your mother. – Exodus 20:12 (NIV)

            I came across Dad’s letter while rummaging through the bookcase for some now-forgotten item. The slightly yellowed envelope bore a State College postmark. I smiled softly. I didn’t even know I’d saved it.

            Settling on the game room carpet as snowflakes whirled in the winter wind outside, I reverently unfolded the letter, typewritten on motel stationery.

            “My dear Michele,” it began. “Perhaps by now you are over the mad spell at me for scolding you the other night…”

            My mind drifted back to a mid-summer night when I was 15. The warm summer sky sparkled with a thousand pin-lights as my friends and I walked through town. It was just the kind of night that holds magic for a teenage girl on the brink of growing up. Heady with all the freedom and fun, I’d neglected to call my parents to tell them I’d be late. By the time I climbed the front porch steps, it was past midnight. Dad waited at the door.

            “This is the first time you ever stayed out late without calling and letting me know your whereabouts,” the letter continued. “I was actually sick with worry after walking up to the bazaar and not finding you there. By that time I was imagining everything.”

            I couldn’t remember Dad ever being so angry with me before. After an angry scene, I stormed up to my bedroom, grounded for two weeks. The next day Dad seemed to have gotten over his anger, but I treated him with icy silence. By the time he left for work Monday morning, I still hadn’t spoken to him. Since Dad worked out of town through the week, I knew I wouldn’t see him until Friday. The letter came Wednesday.

            As I read Dad’s words that long-ago day, my stubborn resistance melted away as a father’s love triumphed over teenage pride. One moment of panic, I realized, doesn’t cancel out years of steadfast love. Four years later Dad died.

            “It is so hard for a parent to be cross with a child, but sometimes it is necessary for your own good,” he wrote. “Perhaps when you have children of your own, you will understand how we feel.”

            I thought of my own three children. They’d all had me frantic with worry and fear at times as I imagined the worst. 

            “Yes, Dad,” I whispered softly, holding his letter close to my heart. “I understand.”

            Thank You, Father, for parents who loved me enough to discipline me when I needed it. Help me to be a parent worthy of being respected, valued and honored. Amen.


My Father’s Lap



In the shadow of thy wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by. – Psalm 57:1 (RSV)

When I was growing up, there was only one place where I could escape my mother’s wrath—my father’s lap. I was an impulsive child, and my mother wasn’t blessed with patience, so when our wills clashed, sparks flew.

Mom was the firestorm; Dad the quiet stream. I loved them both, but it was to Dad I turned when I needed a listening ear or when I just needed cuddled. Curled up in his lap, resting my head on his shoulder, feeling his arms around me, was the safest place in the world.

Fast forward forty years. I am now a mother, still a bit impulsive, fiery when I get going. My husband is like my father—a soothing balm to my blistering heat. One of my children has impulsively done something that could cast a dark shadow over the future. I am so furious, I shake. I feel heat radiating from my face.

“How could you do this?” I shout. “When we get home, you will tell your father what you’ve done.”

But the scene doesn’t turn out as I expect. There, curled up in my husband’s lap, is our errant, remorseful child.

Fast forward eight more years. I am now a grandmother. As my family has multiplied, so have my love and concern. I pray for my children and grandchildren every day, but still I worry. I am at the age where I realize how fragile life really is and how dangerous a place the world is. I have much more to lose now.

As I sit in the family room, my head rests on the wing of the love seat where I’m curled up. Eyes closed, I imagine myself sitting in my heavenly Father’s lap, resting my head on His shoulder, feeling His arms around me.

I speak no words, but peace, like a placid stream, gently seeps into my soul. I am in the safest place in the world.

Abba, Father, thank You for Your unconditional love. Amen.

Read and reflect on Psalm 57

From God, Me & a Cup of Tea for the Seasons: 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God, Copyright © 2018 by Michele Huey