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My little daughter just went through a growth spurt. She put on weight, he has started saying her first words, she suddenly has several more (adorable) facial expressions.

So now, when this all is so evident, our family and friends are all commenting on how much she has grown. It’s true, she has grown, but I noticed how differently I see her growth compared to others.

I’ve seen her growing every day. Every hour sometimes. I’ve seen every tiny change. I’ve marveled at how she is becoming just that little bit more aware, how her smile is changing ever so slightly, how she is able to roll just a little bit quicker (she’s fast now! From one end of the room to the other, POW!).

I realise that this is part of being a parent. I’m aware of my daughter all the time. She’s always on my mind. I’m always watching. And so I see the natural and beautiful progression of her life, that she is not actually growing in ‘spurts’, she is growing continually, all the time. It’s just that for most they aren’t paying the same kind of attention to her that I am, so they only notice when her changes are easy for the eyes to see.

It got me thinking about spiritual growth in relation to my heavenly Dad.

I think he’s the same way. Everyone in the world may think I’m not growing, or they notice with they see what seems like a big progression in my personal and spiritual life. But, just like my daughter, I don’t really have ‘spurts’ of growth, it’s just that is what is easy to spot. But for God, my heavenly Father, I believe he sees the natural, continual growth in my life. He’s not wondering ‘when’ I’ll grow, he sees it happening continually. It may seem small, but to God is the perfect amount of growth needed.

Just like I don’t ever think of ‘pressuring’ my daughter to grow quicker, neither does God to me. Just as I have this inner assurance that she’ll naturally grow into the wonderful woman I already know she’ll one day be, so too does God have this confidence in my life.

Both those who know nothing about you, as well as those who know you pretty well will probably only ever notice the ‘big’ growth moments in your life. That’s OK, we do the same to them too. But remember, when it comes to your heavenly Father, he’s not waiting to see the ‘big moments’ of spiritual growth. He is watching and participating in every single moment of your spiritual life, and he sees in every moment, you’re growing, for growing is just a natural part of our spiritual life, just like growing from a baby to a toddler to a child to an adult is natural. There’s no need for doubt of pressure. To God, is all about the pleasure of being with you every moment as you grow.

I realise I should never even think about growth in my life, for it can’t help but happen. I should do what I want my daughter to do too. Rest and enjoy the beautiful relationship between being a child who has a Daddy who loves completely, and unconditionally.

I was watching my baby daughter play recently, and I noticed that all the toys were multi-coloured. In fact, everything we buy her is multi-coloured. There is a good reason for this, and that is that babys are fascinated by colour, they really enjoy looking at things that are colourful. It’s not just the toy that makes playing fun, it’s the joy of seeing all the colours that are part of the toy.

As I was thinking about all this, I was also preparing dinner for my wife and myself. It was a salad. As I looked into the salad bowl I was suddenly struck by how colourful it was. Red tomatoes, brown mushrooms, yellow corn, green leaves, black olives, white onion… and then it struck me…

My heavenly Father is offering me, his child, the same thing I offer my baby daughter. He’s offering me the chance to enjoy colour. God wants my life to be colourful, and he has even created all of creation to make it possible not only for me, but for every single person on earth.

But, you know, we don’t think of ourselves as children. Oh no, we’re the adults. We’ve got better things to do. More important things. More urgent things… which led me to my next thought.

Maybe when Jesus said unless you become like a little child you’ll never enter the Kingdom of God he was not talking about some future salvation, he was talking about being able to enter into God’s joy, into God’s reality of love, into all that is God – into God’s rest. Into the reality of God’s Fatherly embrace.

Maybe becoming like a child is not to earn some place in heaven, but to enjoy our place on earth. God is not waiting for us in heaven. God is with us. This is the wonderful reality of the gospel. God is with us. Right here. Right now. And God is not a tyrant or a task master. God is our Father, and a wonderful Father at that.

You know, he’s created the world to be enjoyed, but we’ve got to rewind a little. We’ve got to slow down a whole lot. We’ve got to act like my little baby daughter, and enjoy the simple beauty of things that are colourful.

Slow down. Look around. Be like a child, you’ll really start seeing God’s everyday gifts to you when you do. I guarantee you’ll be amazed at just how colourful life truly is.

Something amazing happened when I became a father. I realised my daughter not only is my baby, but she will always be my baby. (My mother now laughs and says: ‘see, now you understand why I still think you’re my baby!’) It’s a wonderful thing, to know my baby will always be my baby, even when she grows up to be a wonderful woman.

It got me thinking about my other ‘babies’ in my life. These are the things a care deeply for, and nurture them like a baby, trying to bring them to life. Currently one of my babies was born yesterday. I’m talking about my debut novel, ‘God’s Grammar’. It has been about 3 years in the making, with a pretty huge spiritual and emotional journey in-between. And now it is born! My baby is in the world . . . but, I already know, it won’t be my baby for long. Now that it’s born and out there, I’ll soon start to focus on my next book, and that project will become my baby. Just like when we start looking for a new house, new car, new job, new whatever.

Things can be our baby for a limited time, but our children are a gift from heaven, for they really do remain our babies forever.

It got me thinking about God. How he has had so many projects (creating the universe, for example) that I’m sure he was very passionate about, but when he created mankind, he did so in his image. He did so because perhaps he didn’t just want another project to be his baby, he wanted to create children that could be his babies forever.

I’ve come to realise there is a huge difference between projects we are passionate about and consider our ‘babies’ and our children who really are our ‘babies’. This realisation is also really important to understand in regards to our relationship with God.

Never forget the truth. You’re not a project to God, you’re his child. You’re his baby. And no matter how big you get, to your heavenly Father, you’ll always be his baby.

I was playing with my baby daughter yesterday. It is always a wonderful thing to see her happy, and to interact with her as her daddy. It got me thinking about when I couldn’t interact with her. I’m talking about before she was born.

When she was still in my wife’s womb, my heart was so full of love for her, and I longed to hold her every day, but I had to wait. She wasn’t born yet — but she was so close!

This made me think about our spiritual birth, and how God’s sees this whole process. I believe it’s really similar to how I felt before my daughter was born. Although he may not be able to interact like he can with someone who has been born(-again), he is still their Father, thinking in ways of love, and a radical, universe-sized love at that.

“One God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” – Ephesians 4:6

The anticipation. That is what I remembered throughout the pregnancy. Everyday, waiting, dreaming, praying. Everyday, waiting to hold my child in my arms. I was her daddy for the very beginning, but what joy when the moment came she was born!

My new-born daughter slept on my chest the first night. My God, what a moment!

Do you remember the first day you were born(-again)? And God drew you near, as if he had placed you at rest on his chest so you could hear his heart beating? What a moment for every child. What a moment for our heavenly Father!

I was playing with my baby daughter yesterday. As we played, I wondered if she knew I was her father yet. This thought actually moved me to another: What is a father?

I concluded that a father, from a simple biological perspective, is a creator. I actually created my child, she is my DNA, my image, for she was made completely through me (of course, I include my wife in the ‘me’, we are one after all)

This made me realise why I have this outrageous love for my daughter, a profoundly deeper love than anything I’ve ever felt. Because, my daughter is my creation. I am her creator.

Now, I’m an artist, so I do create lots of things. But these things are an expression of my thoughts and ideas. And as my thoughts move onto new things, so does my attention to those previous creations. But my daughter is different, because she is a living creation!

What an artwork she is too, a masterpiece! My greatest work ever! My claim to artistic greatness! A perfect, unique, and ever-growing masterpiece!

Yes, as you can tell, I’m a proud creator.

My other works of art range from amateurish to fairly good. A few are up there on a professional level. But none of them – I mean NONE – could even be compared to my greatest creation. My child. WOW – she takes my breath away. She’s brings me to tears of joy. She is always in my thoughts. She is my everything.

So, back to my daughter, does she know I’m her father? I don’t think so, for the term ‘father’ and its meaning have to be learned anyway. But what does she think of me? Does she know I’m her creator? No, I don’t think she realises that either. So then what? Who am I to my daughter?

At the moment, I’m the big friendly giant. I’m the person she knows is always there. The one who will feed her, cloth her, wash her, play with her. I’m the big friendly giant who she can tell really, really likes her. One day she’ll figure out I don’t just like her, but I love her, and that my love surpasses anything else I could ever love.

One day she’ll know I created her and that she was in my thoughts every moment from the time she was just a tiny dot in mummy’s womb.

One day she’ll realise the depths of my love for her. But for now, she’s really enjoying the big silly giant who cleans up after her and makes funny faces for her amusement.

Our Heavenly Father

I think this is really what it is like for our heavenly Father. He has created a lot of things, a whole-universe-kind-of-A-Lot, but mankind, we have been made in his image, from his DNA – his love for us is abundant, radical, and incomparable. He thinks of us as his masterpiece, his perfect work, his greatest achievement.

And what do we think of him? Well that depends, it’s somewhere between the big giant in the sky and the deeply loving Father.

Where ever we are on the journey, I believe God is fine with it. Just like I’m fine with my daughter thinking I’m the big giant who cleans up after her, because I know one day, she’ll know me so much more.

Just like our relationship with God, our heavenly Father, it’s a journey. No matter where we are on that journey, our Father’s love for us is no different. It’s always at maximum. He’s always in awe of us. One day, we’ll all mature, just like every baby matures, and we’ll see God in the fullness of who he is. Our Father who loves us more than his own life. Our Father who thinks we are his great creation, his crowning achievement. Our Daddy, who loves us completely.

I’m a writer. I like words. I like the power they have to convey a message. I like communicating with words.

Something I’ve realized since becoming a father, is when it comes to communicating with my daughter, I don’t use words. I use love.

What a wonderful thing that is, when love is our language to one another!

My mastery of the English language is not important in our relationship. If I depended on it to communicate, I don’t think she’d ever understand the message I’m trying to share. But she does understand me. Because I communicate with love, and that is a language she already can understand very well.

Sometimes I use words, of course. But these words in themselves are not important, it’s the way I say them that gives them worth. It’s the facial expression I make, it’s the love I express within them, that’s what my daughter picks up.

I think the language of love is God’s way of communicating with us too. We are, after all, his babies. He may use words from time to time, after all we do have the Bible, but the words themselves are not what’s important, it is the Spirit that is behind the words. The Bible, without understand God’s language of love, can cause as much condemnation as when I speak words to my daughter without love. Instead of finding rest in my presence, she would become insecure. She would ‘feel’ daddy doesn’t love me.

I think we need to listen directly to God’s Spirit within us. This to me is his primary way of communication. It’s direct, personal and it is spoken through heaven’s language of love. When it comes to understanding the Bible, it’s easy to forget this and just read the words as they are, without remembering the reality of God’s love. It helps us greatly when we read God’s words like our own little babies hear our words. Through the lens of unfailing love.

The Apostle Paul said it this way:

“He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant —not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” 2 Corinthians 3:6

Words, just as words, are useless in my communication to my daughter. If she doesn’t actively feel and experience the spirit of love I’m sharing them with, they are just another foreign sound. Or worse, they could make her afraid. But thank God that is not the case, for love is abundant in my heart for her. Love is the first thing that happens when I see her. Love is the first response when I think of her. It is my love, not my words, that sustain our relationship. I think it’s the same way with my heavenly Father.

I feel so blessed that I can communicate with my daughter in heaven’s language. The language of love – just like my Daddy does with me!

If I was to look at my relationship with my baby daughter from a purely rational perspective, I would have to conclude that I should expect her to be very thankful for having me in her life. After all…

I created her (the ‘I’ of course includes my wife)
I provide a safe and comfortable place for her to live
I feed her
I clean up after her
I burp her, shortly followed by smiling as she throws up her lunch on my shoulder
I get up early for her
I organise toys and entertainment for her
I change her when she… you know!

…OK, so you get the picture…

But here’s the thing: I’ve never thought she should be thankful. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. I can’t stop thanking her. I can’t stop feeling myself so thankful.

What I’ve concluded is that my relationship with my daughter has nothing at all to do with her ‘works.’ (what she does or doesn’t do). I’m her father, she’s my child, and that is the basis of our relationship. Not works, but family.

It got me thinking about my heavenly Father. How many times have I assumed I should be thanking him for all he’s done, when he’s actually the one being thankful for having me?

God doesn’t relate with us on our works, just as I don’t relate to my daughter based on works. God relates with us based on family. We’re his children, and as crazy as it may sound, he’s the one who is thankful for having us, and perhaps it never even enters his mind to question if we are thankful or not. Perhaps he’s just too wrapped up in his unfailing love and adoration for us to worry about it.

When we allow God to be our Father, and let his love for us be all-consuming, then I can guarantee you we’ll all have no issues with our love and thankfulness to him. It’s a natural response.


So to my heavenly Father, a few final words:
For every time you provided for me, feed me, cleaned up after me, burped me, shortly followed by a heavenly smile as I threw up on you, got up early for me and organised all my lovely toys and entertainment, and for all the times you changed me when I… you know!… I’d just like to say, you’re most welcome to have me as you child. I wouldn’t exchange you for the world. I love you Daddy!

Future Ambition
Now that I’m a father, things have changed.

I no longer think about my future with me as the central part, now center stage belongs to my daughter.

In the first few months after she was born, whenever I would be out, every random female I saw caused me to think of my daughter and her future. If I saw a 70 year old, I thought about my daughter when she’s 70, imagining what kind of life she might live. When I saw a group of 16 year old girls chatting away, I thought of my daughter, and wondered what kind of friends she’ll have, what dreams and passions she’ll have. When I saw a little girl just starting to ride her first bike, I saw images of my daughter, growing up too fast.

My future used to be about me, now it’s really about her.

I want her to walk into her future full of hope, confidence and passion. I want her to experience her father’s unconditional love each day. I want to guide her as best I can to live out the dreams she has in her heart, and help cultivate her creativity the best I can. I want her to live an adventurous life. I want her to be free in her spirit, and at rest that to her daddy, she’s already perfect without ever having to do a thing.

What is so easy for me to understand now as a father to my child, is not so easy to accept as a child to my heavenly Father, but I feel I must.

God is our heavenly father, and as incredible as it is, he’s not thinking of his future, he’s thinking of ours.

He wants us to walk into our future full of hope, confidence and passion. He wants us to experience our Father’s unconditional love each day. He wants to guide us as best he can to live out the dreams he has placed in our hearts and help cultivate our creativity the best he can. He wants us to live an adventurous life. He wants us to be free in our spirit, and at rest that to our heavenly Daddy, we’re already perfect without ever having to do a thing.

When I think of my daughter, sometimes I just start crying with joy. Then I wonder how many times God has done that over me.

God’s love for us knows no bounds, and we are the object of his affection. Enjoy his love. Rest in his commitment to your future. Smile. Dad loves you.

Smile

A major part of my day these days is trying to get my daughter to smile at me. I’ll do almost anything to get one from her. Silly faces, silly sounds, silly daddy! I don’t care how silly I look, I just want one of her smiles to light up my entire world. That’s how powerful they are to me. They reach a spot within my heart I don’t think anything else does.

A smile from my daughter really changes my life, each time; and in those short moments I don’t think it’s possible for me to be any happier. And when I smile at her, how does it affect her? Well, she finds if kind of entertaining – sometimes. No big deal, just silly daddy.

It got me thinking about my heavenly Dad, and how many times in a day is he trying to get a smile out of me? Does my smile also light up God’s whole existence, even if it’s just for that small moment? I think it does, and that is a really incredible thing. And when my heavenly Dad smiles at me, how does that affect me? Well, I find it kind of entertaining – sometimes. No big deal, just silly Daddy.

Of course we can’t see God literally smiling at us, but he is always smiling at us in the hope it will create a smile in return. Every time you see a sunset, or a flower, or the ocean. Every time we see a part of his creation, made for you, made for your pleasure, it’s God’s way of smiling at us. Sure, he knows we’ll mostly just find it interesting, a little entertaining, but if it causes us to smile, that’s enough for him. That’s when we light up his whole world.

Now, to be honest, I don’t have a great success rate with getting a smile out of my daughter. Mostly she’s busy with her squeaky giraffe toy, or simply isn’t in the mood to smile for whatever reason she might have. But, as her father, that’s also fine. I’m not disappointed. Never. I love her so much I just keep on trying, because it’s just so much fun being around her and I never know when that beautiful smile is going to shine my way. When it does, my heart sings.

I think God acts the same way with us, his kids. We often miss all of his smiles throughout the day, maybe we’re distracted by our own toys, or we have things on our mind that distract us, or a million other reasons. The thing is, I don’t think this disappoints God. I think he just keeps on smiling at us, keeps hanging around, keeps being our silly Daddy, in the hope he’s draw a smile out of us that touches a part of his heart that nothing else can.

Dads love seeing their kids smile at them. Bless God’s heart, let him draw a few smiles out of you today. He’s even prepared to be a silly Daddy if that’s what it takes!

In the Bible, Enoch is the first person mentioned who ‘walked’ with God. It says he walked with God 300 years. Enoch, however, was 365 years old before he was transported to heaven. So what happened to Enoch when he was 65 that caused him to begin walking with God? It’s pretty simple. Enoch became a father.
Father's Love

Understanding A Father’s Love

When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. Genesis 5:21 After he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Genesis 5:22

So what happened to Enoch? I think when he became a father himself, he realised a whole lot about a father’s love, and that opened his eyes to understand his heavenly Father’s love too.

Over the next few months I plan on posting some of the things I’ve realised about my relationship with God as Father through becoming a father myself, and understanding things from the perspective of a father’s love. Here is the first thing I have realised on my journey as a parent.

My daughter will never love me with the same intensity that I love her. And that’s the way it is meant to be.

When my daughter was still just the size of a peanut in my wife’s womb, I thought of her – all day, all the time. As she grew in the womb I cheered her on. I was there through the birth, and everyday since. Every time I look at her, my heart is filled with an uncontrollable love. I think of her every moment of the day. And I know this is how it will be till the day I die.

And my daughter? Well, at the moment she thinks I’m O.K.

Does she love me? Sure, in an infant kind of way (but perhaps not as much as her squeaky giraffe toy). Will she love me more as she gets older. I’m certain. Will she love me the same level as I love her. No chance. It’s just not possible. While I’m still thinking of her each day, she will get caught up in her own life, dreams and plans, and that’s exactly what I want for her.

I don’t ever want her to feel she needs to equal my parental love. It wouldn’t be fair. I know this because I can’t love my mum the same way I love my daughter. Now, you won’t meet a guy who has more love for his mother than me. She’s the best. But, with all the love I have for my mum, I think of her maybe a few times a week. But my mum thinks of me, her child, the way I think of my daughter. All the time.

My mum is always bragging about me and my siblings. Her face lights up at our mention of our names. She knows she can’t be pushy, but she delights when we visit. I’m always in my mum’s thoughts, because she’s my parent. That’s how parental love works. It’s constant. It’s always on. It’s intense.

I think Enoch realised this when he had his first child.

So what does this mean for us, as God’s children? It’s pretty simple really.

Let God be the greater lover. He’s your Father, it’s his right.

And for us, what should we do? We should embrace our role as God’s children. Just relax, play, and enjoy his love. To enjoy and feel secure in his love is the best gift we can give our heavenly Father.