A Special Date with My Daughter

I enjoyed a special dinner with my daughter last weekend. Elizabeth turns 18 later this month. Because I will be out of town on her birthday we celebrated early. Eighteen! My little girl has grown up. But we also celebrated the freedom Father has brought to her and to our relationship through a difficult year. The move to the southside was really tough for her. While there were many difficult discussions over the past year I was surprised when some deeply felt anger was directed - not toward the move - but toward me. Liz shared that I had paid closer attention to the lives of her two older brothers than to her. She felt I had loved them better. I didn't see it at first. So I was defensive and was quick to explain (to her, to Verna and to myself) why she was wrong. I tried to convince myself she was just angry at me for the move. She was overreacting. She would get over it in time. Verna wisely encouraged me to listen carefully to her heart. Maybe there was something I needed to hear (Verna's tactful way of saying "Don't be so hardheaded, she's right"). It took me a few weeks to get there but I dropped my defensiveness, sat down with my daughter one evening and listened. It was hard to absorb how deeply I had hurt 'my little girl'. With tears I asked for her forgiveness. In the weeks that followed I visited some familiar places of guilt. But the guilt slowly gave way to sadness. The truth had broken through. I actually felt relieved and lighter. What began to surface was a profound gratitude and respect for my daughter. She had spoken the truth. I listened. While the process was painful something really good began to happen in our relationship. The truth was setting us both free.

Experiencing the freedom of grace always begins with the truth. It asks us to stop pretending to ourself, to others and to God about what is really taking place inside of us. Drop our defensiveness. Remove our masks. And listen to the voice of the Father ..."You don't have to live in bondage any longer" ..."I want to set you free"..."Face the truth about yourself "..."It's time"..."There's nothing to be afraid of"..."You're my beloved daughter or son" .  Anyone who thinks grace is somehow soft with the truth has never experienced the real deal. It takes courage to move toward Grace. When we finally stop and listen something really good begins to happen. We've taken a step toward freedom.

Fighting for your hearts...and your freedom,

Gary Franklin

Special thanks to my daughter who gave me permission to share this story. "Thanks sweetheart I love and admire you. Thanks for leading us to a better place. Dad!"