Miles and Months Between Hugs and Home

I had always told myself that I was not one for long a long distance relationship. Initially, in my mind I had always thought of the concept within the mentality of romance. Never would I have thought I would be
confronted with the idea in relationship to my family.

This past August, I moved from the small Florida town I grew up in, to a cute northern town in Mid-Wisconsin to attend Bible College. Moving went well, the trip was great, and I was ready for adventure and a new chapter in my life. As the semester started, I was still in need of a job, and because of that I had plenty of free time in the afternoons to call my parents and give them an update of how my week had gone and what I had been learning through my homework. Soon, though, days began to fly by and busyness began to settle in. I got lost in classes, work, taking care of finances and being a grown up in a separate state from my parents.

As calls back home became more and more infrequent to almost non-existent, the few times I did talk to my family usually ended in irritation and frustration. Things between my mom and I had always been great, but in the relationship between my dad and I there was consistently room for improvement. Things had healed a lot before I left home, but they were beginning to escalate again and it was really beginning to frustrate me. The short phone calls I made to my dad during those few weeks left me boiling inside and wanting to cry each time I hung up the phone.

As the days continued to go by, I realized the dissension was wearing on my metal and spiritual peace and I needed to do something about it. Sitting down in the student lounge at school, I opened my Bible and prayed something similar to this, “God, please help me in this frustration! My dad makes me so mad! Help me know how to deal with him!”

Almost instantly as I began to read His Word, He faithfully showed me how to mend the situation, but not in the way I expected. It was one of those proverbial, “be careful what you pray for scenarios” because he
wasn’t showing me ways that my dad could improve the relationship, but things I had done to hinder and hurt my dad. I began to realize that due to bitterness and an unwillingness to forgive, I had not offered my dad the encouragement and empowerment that I had been learning was so important in relationships.

I also realized that this could help bring the healing we needed. A relationship that should have only been long-distance because of miles and states in between us had become long-distance because of hurt and bitterness we had let fester in both of our hearts. I knew I needed to call my dad right then. In tears I asked him to forgive me for the times I had been disrespectful and dishonoring to him. With relief in his voice, he offered his forgiveness and a huge weight lifted off my heart. We began to rebuild the relationship that for so long had been left hurting. Things would not be easy, and it would take some time, but I knew that healing, if paired with grace, was soon in coming.

The same thought applies to our relationship with our Heavenly Father. As a Christian, through faith in Christ, we are seen as His beloved children. He no longer sees us in our sinfulness or sees the ways we had hurt Him, but rather sees us as He sees His son: Holy, blameless, righteous, and dearly loved. We no longer have to fear drawing close to Him because of our sinfulness. The one thing that had caused a breach in our relationship with Him was abolished by what Christ did on the cross. God, our Heavenly Father desires so strongly to have so much more than a long-distance relationship with us. He desires an intimate relationship in which we crawl up on His lap and call Him “Abba”, which is essentially the Greek word for “Daddy.” He wants us to tell Him all of our dreams, secrets, and hurts. He wants to mend our bruised hearts and skinned knees. We need only to come to Him. We never have to fear how God sees us, no matter what we do, what we say or how we succeed or fail. His view of us never changes. So let us come boldly to the throne of Grace, living as saints, the dearly beloved children of the King of Kings.

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