But was I ever wrong. Funny thing...God can use even just a few words from His Word and challenge me throughout my day. He has already done this multiple times through this study, even with my negative attitude. This morning was one of those mornings that I pulled a lot from the words laid on those pages.
Here is the text:
"As soon as Jesus was baptized, He went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased." Matthew 3:16-17
One of the questions asked was about receiving a father's blessing and what kind of mark that leaves on a person whether they have received it or not. Since Jake and I work in youth ministry, we see daily the difference a loving father makes in the life of his child. We've seen both the blessings and, really, the curses, if you will, that come from a father and his abundance or lack of love and support. A child with a father's love tends to be full of respect for his/herself and has confidence to face the world. A child without a father's love tends to face this world constantly looking for something to fill that void. Obviously there are exceptions to this, but this tends to be the norm.
It's also been researched that the filter we view God through is the same filter we view our fathers through. So, if your father was loving? God is loving. If your father was abusive? God is messed up and full of wrath as well. It's such an interesting parallel and one I'm not really diving into today, but it just brings a little more light to what I'm thinking through this afternoon.
Beth pointed out that on this particular day, as Jesus began His ministry, God opened up heaven...a place Christ hadn't seen for a long time...about 30 years to be exact! She also pointed out that Jesus probably wasn't audibly hearing the Father's voice every day since God called him to sympathize with us here on earth so this was an incredibly special moment for him. She writes,
"So the audible voice of His Father sounding forth at His baptism must have just fallen on Jesus with the dearest of familiarity. This was the love of His life. I want to think that through the night, He replayed that voice and blessing in His own mind a thousand times. "He loves Me. Life is hard here, but He's proud of Me. I have the blessing. I have the blessing."
These are of course not words found in Scripture but I love her idea of what Jesus may have thought after not being with His Father for so long.
Don't we all need that? A boost to know we're doing okay? And where do we turn to get that boost?
I know in my own life, it's to two people...my husband and my dad. Sure, I have friends, my sister and sisters-in-law, even my mom to tell me that I'm doing a great job. But for some reason, it's from these two men in my life that I receive the greatest blessing when they let me know that they're behind me and they have my back.
It made me think what kind of parents Jake and I are and whether or not we're offering this kind of love and acceptance to our kids.
So this morning, my journaling was this:
"God, thank You for the kind of Father You are. I love that when Christ began His ministry, You made sure to open Heaven to let Him know how You loved Him and approved of Him. So many kids today don't have that from their parents. Please remind Jake and I to be that for our kids - to be their #1 supporters and encouragers, especially when rough roads lie ahead. Help us to encourage the kids in the ways You've made them and not for our own gain. (That's such a biggie, isn't it?!?) Thank You for setting such an example of love for Your Son - and that it's something practical that we can do for our kids too. You are so awesome and I'm so blessed You're my Father too!"
I want my kids, throughout each of their days, to be able to say, "They love me. Life is hard here, but they're proud of me. I have the blessing. I have the blessing." And, ultimately, my prayer is that they will be able to repeat this same thought about their Father in heaven because of the love and approval we've extended to them.
I think this is probably one of the greatest blessings I can give to the little blessings God has given me.