Holding tight to my pink hall pass, I made my way to the nurses office. My bangs were long, reaching past my eyelashes, and just touching the top of my nose, where a path of freckles reached from one cheek to the other. I walked about as quickly as a distracted ten year old can walk, trying not to get sidetracked as I dawdled my way through the outdoor halls. I had a stomachache…again. Between you and me, I had these “stomachaches” a lot. I really didn’t like school one little bit. It seems that at right about ten years of age, we begin to realize that contrary to what our parents told us while we were growing up, we weren’t the best looking, or the fastest runner, or the smartest student. I changed from my happy go lucky self, and started to become rather shy and insecure, which made it difficult to make friends.
I have always been a Daddy’s girl. I would go anywhere with him, the gas station, the hardware store, it didn’t matter, as long as he was there. It just so happened that the church my Dad pastored at the time, Calvary Chapel Desert Hot Springs, was right around the corner from Desert Hot Springs Elementary School. This was convenient, as our house was about a 20 minute drive from school making it difficult for my mom to come. Every time I would have one of my stomachaches, my Dad would get the phone call, and soon after, he would arrive in the school office. I remember him telling the office staff we’d be back in a little while.
We would step out into the hot desert sun, and take the quick ten minute walk to the 7-11 convenience store down the street. As we walked we would talk, not about anything all that profound, but I so thoroughly enjoyed walking and talking with my Dad as I held his hand. Once we arrived at the Seven-eleven, my Dad would grab a 7-up for me, and we would walk right back to school, talking as we went. Of course by the time we got back to the school office, my stomachache had miraculously disappeared. I hugged and kissed my Daddy goodbye and skipped off to class, 7-up in hand feeling pretty special that my Daddy loved me enough to come spend time with me.
As I look back, I think about all that my Dad had to take care of as pastor of a church, back when he was the worship leader, bookkeeper, janitor and the pastor as well. I wonder if it was a little inconvenient for him to have to stop everything he was busy with. But he made the time to just walk and talk with his little girl. I am so thankful that he did, these are some of my fondest memories. The fact that he took time out to spend twenty minutes to just hang out with me, to let me know how much he truly did love me, that I was worth his time. After spending time with him, all was well with the world! I was content and felt ready to face any hardship that a ten year old had to face.
Friends, we have a Heavenly Father just waiting to spend time with us. How often we neglect the opportunity to come to God, who knows our pain, and the longing of our hearts. As loving and attentive and amazing as my Dad was, he didn’t know what was really going on inside my heart. But, the Bible says that God created us, and He knew us before we were even born. (Psalm 139:16) He knows what is giving you that proverbial “stomachache”. Little ten year old Shannon didn’t really have a stomachache, she had a heartache. She was sad, and lonely, and she just needed her Daddy. Nothing else would do, nothing else would fill that emptiness, and that longing for love. The 7-up didnt’ have magical powers. It wasn’t the cure for my tummy troubles, my Daddy was. What a beautiful example my Dad gave me so many years ago. He taught me that a loving Father makes time for his children, that he drops everything making sure he is always available. I knew that I was the most important thing to him at that moment.
You are precious to your Heavenly Father, He has time for you. It doesn’t matter how many times you come to him and complain of any kind of ailment, He is ready to listen and heal. Will you bring Him your brokenness? Will you call on Him in your weakness and tell Him that you just need HIM. When we come to Him, He gives us His complete, undivided attention. What a perfect, loving Father He is!
My Dad and I. He still takes me out on little dates, he’s the best!