Some of you may or may not know that before I came on staff at LPM, I was on staff at the church I had grown up at and worked as the Girl’s Ministry Director in our student ministry department. Having worked mainly with middle school and high school girls, our family life pastor asked me if I would consider coming along on the Father Daughter Retreat to share a few of the teaching times, talk to the dads about girls, and spend some time getting to hang out with the girls themselves. I didn’t hesitate to say yes because it sounded like a fun and different opportunity. Because of my yes, I found myself camping out in the wilderness with a bunch of daddies and daughters on spring weekend. Though my ministry mainly focused on the young women in the student ministry, the majority of the girls that attended this retreat were in elementary school. To say I loved meeting some new five-year-old friends is an understatement. When I was student teaching, Kindergarten happened to be my favorite placement. As you well know, they truly say the most hilarious things! Most elementary girls haven’t learned the gift of a mouth filter.
One evening I was given the interesting opportunity to steal the dads and talk just to them about all things girls. What girls need, different developmental stages and especially what these girls need from their dads. After the initial intimidation (because hello, I’m not a dad nor do I have children), I have to say, it was a blast. All of them were on the edge of their seats, pens out taking notes and asking a lot of questions. I felt as though I was preaching to the choir since they were the ones who brought their girls to a daddy-daughter weekend, but I ended up loving it. To this day, I can honestly say this was one of my favorite teaching opportunities.
The last morning of the retreat they invited my dad to the retreat as well so that he could be a part of a Q&A between us and the dads and daughters. They were given the freedom to ask us anything they wanted. Can you say nerve wracking?
I’m not sure what question prompted this, but my dad ended up telling the story of the day I was born. A little side note in case I’ve never mentioned it before, but I was five weeks early and very tiny. The night I was born my mom, thinking she was in labor, went to the hospital only to be sent home. The doctors were convinced she wasn’t in labor and still had some time. My parents were not home long enough to fall asleep before my mom’s water broke and back to the hospital they went.
To make a long story short, once they got my mom settled in her room, the doctors and nurses left to attend to their other patients when all of the sudden my mom exclaimed that I was coming and I was coming now. In sheer panic mode not knowing what to do, my dad called for the doctor, but realized at that moment that I was indeed coming very quickly. He only knew one thing, someone was supposed to catch me and I was not supposed to fall on the floor.
In one single push I was out and after all was said and done, my dad caught and delivered me just as the professionals were arriving.
Of course, I recall none of this, but have heard the story countless times.
This may seem insignificant to you, but I think it is very special, especially in light of Easter Sunday quickly approaching.
My earthly father delivered me into this world, and my heavenly Father delivered me, from me, at the young age of five. I didn’t know then all that Christ would mean to me now, but I did know then that I wanted to spend eternity with Him.
If I desire anything, I desire to make much of Christ. To intentionally live in a way that brings most glory and honor to Him. Do I do this perfectly? Heck no. Does my desire wane from day to day? Absolutely. I didn’t really grasp that until my senior year of high school, but since then, I have known Jesus as my Deliverer from all of my ugly shortcomings and I am ever so grateful. He loves me too much to leave me the way I am, and I can promise you He feels the same way about you.
Though we should daily celebrate our living Savior, in a few short Sundays we will celebrate a risen Savior corporately. He is risen indeed and is very alive and active. I’m proof of His mighty deliverance and sanctification. Christ was delivered over to death so that we might be delivered from death.
People who don’t know Him as a Deliverer will sit beside us on that day and wonder why we marvel at something we cannot even see, but love and worship anyway, simply because we KNOW Him.
They need to see that He has delivered us from eternal separation with Himself.
They need to see that His deliverance has given us a different perspective on suffering.
They need to see that by delivering us, He alone sustains us.
They need to hear that the same God who brought Israel out of bondage after YEARS and YEARS of wandering is still powerful enough to deliver them out of bondage, too.
They need to hear that it is the enemy who oppresses and that it is Jesus who delivers.
They need to hear our testimony of deliverance from that stronghold that held us captive for 30 years now doesn’t have a hold on us.
They need to hear that this Deliverer loves us independent of what we do, but simply because of who we are.
They need to hear that the Deliverer is intimately acquainted with each and every one of us. Mind blowing, really.
I’m not saying we pretend like it is all fun and games and easy. Quite the opposite, actually, becoming more like Christ is the hardest thing ever. It requires a lot of dying to self, something that doesn’t come naturally to me, to you, to any of us. But knowing Christ as your Deliverer is knowing what true peace is. What true love is. What true grace is. What true mercy is. Knowing that He won’t remove all your trials, but He’ll walk with you through them.
This Deliverer? He’s the only One who offers a love that cannot be earned, but rather, is freely given to anyone that will accept it.
I can promise you this, just like my dad knew someone was supposed to catch me and not let me fall, Christ will catch you. He will not let you fall to the floor. Cry out to Him. He’s got you.
“He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.” Romans 4:25
“He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us.” 2 Corinthians 1:10
“The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” Psalm 18:2