Monday, February 21, 2011

Date Night

Ready to leave with Dad on their first "date"

We typically think of date night in terms of spousal enjoyment, a movie or dinner and conversation. However, my paradigm shifted dramatically a couple of weeks ago as I saw my own daughters head out for date night with their daddy.

As they arrived home chatty and filled with love and encouragement, it reminded me of the significance of the parent/child relationship. I recalled a specific experience of my own teen-dom with my dear dad. I had dated a really nice guy for a long time. He was active in his youth group and church, captain of the basketball team, a very good boy. For a time, we loved one another, but as courtships often do, this one ran out of steam and we parted ways during my junior year of high school. I thought for sure I might just die. My parents, strong and steady remained a firm foundation upon which they daily reminded me of my faith and of God's plan to do no harm. My date nights quickly turned into dates with my dad. We'd watch movies or he'd take my mom and I out to eat. One such night we watched a movie with a captivating theme song and even more intriguing love story. Imagine my surprise when that same song played at our school concert a few weeks later. Still stinging from heartbreak, my tender heart just could not listen and before i was set to take the stage, I ran into the hallway to ensure I would not cry in front of my friends. When I got outside the door, there he was, my dad.
He said softly, "I knew we'd never make it through that song!"

He knew me well enough to know my reaction. He knew his open arms would help heal my heart. He knew my pain and responded as a father would. He encouraged me, lifted me up and offered the unconditional love God would want for all of us.

The Lord is attentive. He knows us. James 4:8 assures us, "Draw near to God and He will draw near to thee." Relationships, any and all relationships, require our steadfast devotion. Our relationship with our Heavenly Father requires our attention. Our relationships with our children require our attention. Therefore, I was enthralled with the brilliance of a fast food establishment that has validated, valued and endorsed the parent/child relationship. They have instituted specific nights for "Daddy/Daughter Date Nights", "Mother/Son Date Nights and "Family" Date Nights. With questions printed on their placemats, my daughters and husband engaged in conversation; real conversation. They were attentive to one another... uninterrupted. There was no rush to get to the next place, there was no worry about keeping the conversation going, they had plenty to share. This experience made richer their connection with their daddy and his connection to them. My older daughter noted some of the encouragements my husband offered to her and how important this is. She said, "Date night helped my confidence!" It is truly a treasure to have her encouragement come from her Heavenly Father AND her earthly father.
"Therefore encourage one another and edify one another, just as you are doing."
1 Thessalonians 5:11

So imagine, what happens when we have Date Night with God. Hopefully, we all have our daily time we spend in His Word, but imagine if we drew nearer, had a date with HIM. Would our relationship with Him change? Would our lives be radically different if we allowed His encouragement to pierce our insecurities and lack of communication with Him?

"May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word." 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17


No comments: