Daddy’s Shadow

This is another of Anna Parkins wonderful blog posts, used with her permission and found HERE

I’ve stepped into a new place, laced with both familiar and unknown.

Familiar is the wind sweeping and slashing around me, blowing bits of past and future in unpredictable swirls, messing up my hair and pulling at any loose clothing. Familiar is the resolve of muscles held tight in their place, and familiar is the sword raised above my head. Familiar is the stake I drive into the ground before me, the refusal to turn from the truth I know and taste, despite the storm.

The unknown stands before me now, that wind still stirring and messing, pushing at my frame. The unknown is a softening inside me- not the kind of softness that allows for doubt, but the kind that gives way to unclenched muscles and a crumpled form on the ground. It’s the kind of softness that feels vulnerable and… unknown. The truth is still in my eyes, but my posture has changed. Most of my being wants to rise up and raise that sword, stepping back into the stance of contending that I know so well. But this is my year of rest. And in the final stages of it, before the calendar flips to new growth, I must learn to rest when there is not calm, when the battle is not finished, when it still hurts, and that relentless wind is still rushing. I must learn to slump into the covering of my Father and of others He has anointed for me.

I know a beautiful little girl- you may know her too. Her face is vibrant, alive, and beautiful. Her little blue eyes shine and her grin takes over her face and breathes light. Part of her is strong and quiet, part of her watches and waits, and she is not afraid to reach out in compassion.

This beautiful little being loves desperately to be held close, and it feels so good. She buries her cheeks into my shoulder, and leaves those blue eyes open to watch from the safety of my embrace. Sometimes she likes my arms around her head and shoulders, again with her eyes wide open to watch. She feels safe when she’s held tight.

A few days ago we took her somewhere she had never been. She walked along cheerfully, holding her Daddy’s hand. Beauty radiated from her when she encountered someone we had come to see, and that grin released light. But she held onto her Daddy’s leg with both arms, stepping into her Daddy’s shadow. She felt safe to let her eyes peek out and connect, and to release her smile, from the safety of her Daddy’s shadow.

That is the place this new softening calls me into.

Her gentle, strong Daddy looks down with sparkle in His eyes and He is pleased. He is happy to be her shadow, and to feel her hold on.

I call on you, my God, for you will answer me;
    turn your ear to me and hear my prayer. 

 Show me the wonders of your great love,
    you who save by your right hand
    those who take refuge in you from their foes. 

 Keep me as the apple of your eye;
    hide me in the shadow of your wings

Psalm 17:6-8