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.


Wait ‘Til Your Father Gets Home

If you, O LORD, keep a record of sins, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness.  Psalm 130:3–4 NIV

“Wait ’til your father gets home” was not a threat I was able to use on my children. Their father, you see, was—and still is—a softy. I was the bad guy who doled out punishment and discipline.

But there was one time I was sure this easygoing husband of mine would crack and lose his temper with an errant, strong-willed, rebellious child.

One evening when my daughter was in high school, I’d taken her to the mall to do some school shopping. She’d just about finished when my aching feet drove me to the car to wait while she picked up some makeup. I waited. And waited. And waited. The mall was closing down and still no daughter. Where was she?

I returned to the store to find out. Well, she’d picked up some makeup, all right—and tried to get out of the store without paying.

I was beyond furious. How could she do something like this? How could she do this to me? I mean, after all, I was a Sunday school teacher and Bible club teacher, choir director, Christian writer. Wasn’t I supposed to have perfect Christian children? What would people say? What would they think of me? I’ll never forgive her for this! I vowed silently as I drove home, shaking with rage.

“When we get home,” I hissed, “you will tell your father what you’ve done.”

I sent her in ahead of me so I could try to calm down and give her time to tell him without me there. But when I walked in, the scene that greeted me was not what I’d had in mind. There, curled up in her father’s lap, was our remorseful child.

I was stunned. How could he open his arms to her after what she’d done? How could he forgive her just like that? At that moment I don’t know who I was madder at—her or him.

That was more than twenty years ago. Since then, our daughter has grown up to be quite the woman. While fulfilling her roles as wife and mother, she earned her teaching degree as a full-time student with close to a 4.0 GPA. Her college recognized her with its “Heart of Gold” award for her work with a support group for parents of autistic children. She’s now an awesome high school math teacher who asks to work with students who struggle with learning math because she, too, found math difficult when she was in high school.

It took me years before I recognized what I really saw that night when I walked in the house: a perfect picture of God’s unconditional love for us.

Thank You, Abba Father, that we can curl up in Your lap any time we need forgiveness. Amen.

Read and reflect on Luke 15:11–32.

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea for the Seasons © 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved. Used with permission.