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Alyssa Azul Ink Slingers

Loved as His Daughter

Loved as His Daughter

“A father loves you enough not to let you remain a child. Any parent will love you enough to make sure you become all that you are meant to be– not remain the same. In the same way, the Lord, as our Father, chastises us. He does not want us to remain in sin, but His endless mercy means that we always have a chance to return home and repent.”

This was my takeaway from Father Marc Cramer’s homily back in June. I never really understood God as my personal Father growing up. I was raised by a single mother, so having a constant father figure as a part of a family unit was sometimes lost on me.

God is a compassionate Father. Sometimes it’s hard to see that at first, like most of us do with our own dads. We see someone who works long and hard, is unrelenting, and carries high expectations. The last thing you want to do is disappoint him. There is a different kind of “fear” that I felt in front of my dad that I didn’t feel with my mom. I always feared 1) not following his orders correctly and 2) doing something that would harm my relationship with him.

We all yearn to be noticed and loved by our fathers, especially as daughters. With our God, I think it’s easy to feel like every little thing that we do puts our relationship with Him in jeopardy. That every mistake we make severs a strand of the imaginary rope of love that connects us to Him. As sisters we are already highly critical of everything that we do. We must be the perfectly prayerful and faithful sisters that we are called to be. Otherwise, we are undeserving of God’s love. The thing is, God wants our hearts just as much as we want His.

As a single person, this strikes me especially strong. I’m still navigating the waters of the future that He has planned for me, whether that is in marriage or in the religious order. In praying for a partner, the model I should be looking to is Him. My friends and colleagues often mention how the kind of husband they want is really someone who is like their fathers. It all makes sense! This is not to say that every father is perfectly graceful and perfectly loving, but there is something in our hearts that wants a man who will love and protect our (possible) future daughters with that same steadfast and tireless disposition we see in many of the men in our lives.

I remember that I would see a sliver of vulnerability in my dad whenever we were getting ready for school. He would fumble trying to put a barrette in my hair. He would put it on backwards and then give up and tell me to fix it. And he had a clumsy, awkward roughness when it came to these feminine things. I appreciated that he always tried, anyway. These are the moments of my dad that I cherish, when he was soft and inviting.

With that, I encourage us to speak to God as a daughter every once in a while. Ask Him to hold you when you are broken, to challenge you to do your very best, and to lead you in making wise decisions. Most of all, allow Him to embrace you when you are repenting. Allow him to love you so that you can change and be the person you are meant to be. This is is a father that is relentless in His mercy for us.


Reflection

What is something that you learned from your dad or any father figures growing up?

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Alyssa Azul Ink Slingers

Heart of His

Heart of His

The scariest part about it is when we are alone.”

A paramedic told me exactly this last December when I experienced my worst anxiety attack. These words made an imprint on me.  My head seems to say one thing, but my heart screams another. I know I shouldn’t be alone. I know it’s healthy to reach out to someone to talk to. But, stubborn as I am, I want to learn how to be strong alone.  This was my mindset.

I’ve been reflecting lately on the kind of woman I want to be, and I fear that I am slowly becoming one that is closed, controlling, and cynical towards the world. When I am alone is when I feel most vulnerable.  As an eldest daughter with a single mom, I’ve invested years into killing my desire for love and validation. I’ve guarded my heart with the same barricades that my mother used for herself, so that vulnerability would not be an option for me. My anxiety stems from a need for control. A need to control my studies, my career, my family and other people’s perception of who I am. Most of all, a need to control my emotions.

I never fully understood why my foolproof method to controlling my life and suffocating my heart wasn’t working until I recently dove into Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge. As women today we are always pressured to “keep it together”.  I had always perceived danger or chaos if I let go and let my guard down. We don’t like to turn to our neighbors for help, because who wants to burden someone else with heartache? Surely not me! I needed to start at the beginning. First by opening up my heart to He who created this heart in me. Instead of hiding and negotiating what my worth is with God, I needed to embrace His validation. I needed to allow myself to receive His love, which is something many women, Christian or not, struggle with today.

What that book showed me was something even more valuable than what my desires were–it was that I am not alone in this. That I don’t need to fear loneliness with the millions of women, and most especially, the Lord on my side.

Since then, I’ve found that loneliness has now become solace. Regular prayer, reflection, and breathing help me cope with stress and anxiety, as well as mend my heart a little at a time. Although the doubts, worries, and insecurities still attack, I know there is a refuge in a place where I can be still and free from distractions. Free from feeling like there is something I have to do. I experience the most peaceful loneliness and unity the moment my knees meet the floor in adoration. There is no greater serenity than to be able to come before the Lord and give him my plans, fears, and worries.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30