A quiet man by nature, he was in my child’s eyes a rock of security.
Firm with discipline, yet generous in love.
I was the eldest of four strong-willed kids and I was tough to raise—bossy, opinionated, sassy, and frequently in trouble.
Once I shot a neighborhood boy with a friend’s “bb gun” simply because I didn’t like him!
I was furious with my Mom when she came home from the hospital with a second brother and would not speak to her for days because I didn’t like the first brother who had usurped my position as “only child” at age four. A few years later Mom redeemed herself by giving me a sister.
I’m not quite sure how Mom and Dad survived those tumultuous early years of my childhood.
However, there is a vivid memory of my Dad that surpasses all others and it is one that still impacts my life today.
On many occasions I remember Dad sitting in his old easy chair, setting aside his carefully folded newspaper as he pulled me into his arms. Perhaps I was in tears from a recent punishment, or happy because I was invited to a play date, or beset by childhood fears.
Yet in his lap I felt safe.
And once again Daddy would say,
“Susan, I love you so much.”
“Why Daddy?” I responded.
“Just because you are mine,” he replied.
It wasn’t because I’d been good or bad. Most likely I’d been bad.
It was simply because I belonged to him.
That was enough.
This one statement, often repeated, gave me security and acceptance. Love from my earthly Father has enabled me to understand more clearly how my heavenly Father feels about me.
Daddy’s love for me wasn’t perfect. My heavenly Father’s love for me is perfect.
Daddy didn’t even know all the naughty things I got away with. My heavenly Father knows everything. Yet His response is still,
“I love you just because you belong to me.”
You may not have grown up with a Dad like mine. But the good news is that you can be the first of a generation of healthy families. Pull that young child into your lap. Whisper in his ear,
“I love you son. Do you know why?”
“It’s just because you are mine. You belong to me.”
Our world screams that performance earns love. Jesus says belonging to me ensures love and acceptance.
When guilt, failure, self-condemnation, and feelings of being unlovable creep into your head—rest in the truth that your heavenly Father is saying to you,
“I love you.”
Our little voice answers, “How could you?”
And He responds, “Just because you are mine. Period.”
In His lap you are safe.
He will tend his flock like a shepherd;
he will gather the lambs in his arms;
he will carry them in his bosom,
and gently lead those that are with young. ~ Isaiah 40:11
Susan Alexander Yates is a mom to five children (including a set of twins) and grandmother to 21 (including a set of quadruplets!). Susan and her husband John have been married 51 years. Susan has written 16 books and speaks on the subjects of marriage, parenting, faith, and women’s issues. Susan’s favorite time of the year is June when all her kids and grandkids are together for a week of “cousins and family camp” in the foothills of the Shenandoah Mountains of Virginia.