“Helping” Dad

 

When I was a little girl, my dad used to get home from work, with his truck bed full of tools and supplies from whatever job he had been working on that day, and ask me if I could help him unload it all.  And whenever I was around when he was working on a home improvement project, he would ask me to help him there, too.  I loved it.

As a child, I felt so proud to be “such a big helper” for my dad.  It’s only now, all these years later, that it is occurring to me that he never needed my “help” in the first place.  It was just an excuse for the two of us to get a chance to hang out with one another.  It was an opportunity to make memories together.  In short: he just wanted to be with me.

Sure, I learned a bunch while we were together— I now know how to hold a hammer and nail properly, how to use a tape measure and a level and an electric screwdriver and a jigsaw and a hacksaw and even a table saw.  I know the difference between a 2×4 and a 2×6, plywood and particle board, a phillips and a standard screwdriver.  But all that knowledge, as useful as it is, is just a side benefit of my times with Dad.  The real beauty of all our carpentry moments together is the relationship-building that took place.  Dad and I became pals as we worked alongside one another

And today?  He’s one of my favorite people in the world.  He’s funny and kind and thoughtful and knowledgeable and prayerful and generous with his acts of service for others.

We’ve done a lot of projects together over the past few decades.  Even now, as I’m married with three kids of my own, when Dad’s got a project going on, he calls me up and asks if I’d like to help him at all.  And when I’ve got something happening in my neck of the woods, I call him for assistance.  We’ve built backyard forts and chicken coops; we’ve remodeled kitchens and installed wood laminate; we’ve taken down popcorn ceiling and respackled and painted walls; we’ve even installed windows and built fences together.

Truth be told, he’s the one with all the knowledge.  And he’s the one doing most of the work that really matters.  But it’s fun to partner with him anyway.

A few weeks ago, as I was preparing for a speaking engagement I’d been invited to teach at, I realized that this is how God and I work together too.  He commissions me to “help” Him with something— something that is interesting and inspiring and important— but He doesn’t really “need” my help.

Sure, I work really hard and do all I can to learn as much as possible and to make it as great as I can and everything I do feels really important and necessary and indispensable… but when I stop and think about it I realize the truth: He doesn’t actually NEED me.  HE is the One that is all-knowing and has infinite wisdom and HE is undoubtedly the One doing any of the really meaningful work on people’s hearts and lives.

But I love that He invites me to join the ride anyway.

Like with this speaking gig I just finished:  It was mind-blowing to see how many women connected with the message and felt like they met God in a new and special way that morning.  Several of them expressed gratitude to me for sharing what I shared and for investing so much time in preparation for it.  But if I have learned anything over my years of walking with God it is this: it’s all about HIM.  He can certainly speak His truth to them through some other person or by some other means.  He is the God of miracles, after all.  He can do whatever He wants however He wants to do it.  But He chooses to partner with (little old) me on a regular basis.  In part, He partners with me because He wants to teach me some skills.  (Every single time I invest a bunch of time into a particular “God project” I’m pretty sure that I am the one who benefits the most from all the time and effort I put into it.)  But I think God mostly just partners with me simply because He’s looking for an excuse to spend a bunch of quality time with me.  It’s a chance for us to hang out and get to know each other on a deeper level.

Just like when I used to help my dad on his projects, I’ve learned a ton about God and His character via all we’ve gone through together.  And just like when I used to help my dad, all the time we’ve spent together has managed to create an intimacy between He and I that might not otherwise be there had we never “bonded” over a mutually-satisfying project together.  And, just like my dad, God is “my most favorite person” in the world.

It is such a delight to be able to partner with Him in my life— even if He is the One doing all the “real” work.

 

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What about you?

Can you share about a time you just knew God wanted to hang out with you?  What did you do?  What was it like?  

Please share your journey in the comment section below.

 

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