Nearly every day my son shares with me things from school which burdens a mother’s heart. The other day I was incredibly distraught over a specific incident, so wishing my dad was here. He would be the one I talked to about this. He had been there before – having raised five children, three of whom were boys – and I know would have given godly advice.
But he’s not here anymore. The overwhelming sadness escaped and rolled down my face.
I longed for the fatherly advice. Should I ask my oldest brother who is an experienced father of three boys? Should I ask my brother-in-law who also has three older boys?
But they weren’t my dad.
My tears trailed off as I thought about why I wanted to ask him. Why was my dad’s advice what I was seeking above all the rest? Maybe because he demonstrated God’s love through his actions and guidance and I was drawn to it. But where would his wisdom have come from?
My dad wasn’t a prophet on a pedestal, nor did he have all the answers; he was just a lowly sinner who trusted God with all his heart. A Jesus-follower who, day after day, spent hours studying and meditating the Bible. He was a great man because of God. And his wisdom and knowledge came from his close relationship with his Father.
Then I realized how foolish I was. I longed for the guidance from my father who was now in heaven rather than going to the all-wise and all-knowing God of the heavens. This realization hit me hard. I had always been like this. I put so much thought into what my dad would do in a certain situation or what my dad would think, but I needed to figure out what I should do based on God’s Word (which is where my dad’s knowledge came from in the first place). I should have been praying and asking God to reveal it to me instead of depending on my dad to guide me.
The thing is…I have the same opportunity for wisdom and knowledge as my dad did. I have God’s Word at my fingertips and the same power – the Holy Spirit – lives inside me. I just need to ask Him.
Immediately, I felt guidance for my son. God showed me the biblical perspective and gave wisdom for the situation.
I truly believe one of the reasons God took my dad home was so I could fly. I was still a happy little bird in my dad’s spiritual nest. And on that day, nineteen months ago, when I said goodbye, God said, “Fly, little bird!”
Even as an adult, he was my spiritual pillar. I leaned on my dad, just as a little bird is dependent on its parents while in the nest. Unintentionally I still relied on him to steer my thinking. And he must have recognized it too when he brought it up in a conversation at the hospital. Suspecting his death would come sooner than we wanted, he told my youngest brother and me that maybe God was allowing his sudden terminal illness so that we learned to lean on God instead of him.
After his death I felt the spiritual rug had been ripped out from under me. I fell flat on my face, as if I were a little bird suddenly kicked out of the nest. Walking around on the ground unsure how to fly, I felt spiritually lost and alone. No little bird just takes off in full-flight right after leaving the nest and even the first few tries at flying tend to be rough and unsuccessful. I feel like this has been me the past nineteen months.
But with persistence the little bird eventually takes flight. There is sadness and pain in this realization, but there is also a small bit of peace; knowing there was purpose in his death.
Perhaps it was to give me spiritual flight.
For the first time, in the incident with my son, I felt like God gave me the wings to fly on my own. I know I must trust Him for myself instead of leaning on my dad. And perhaps now He’s calling me to build my own spiritual nest, ensuring the proper spiritual beginning for my own little birds.