As far as families go, I don’t think the one God decided I should be born into was necessarily the best choice on His part. I also don’t think He was worried about getting my approval the day He set the world into motion. So no, I don’t really approve but this is true of many of the things He’s decided to make part of my story.
“‘Safe?’ said Mr. Beaver. ‘Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.’” Mr. C. S. Lewis wrote this in a little treasure he called The Chronicles of Narnia. “Unsafe” is a word that quite accurately describes the father I was chosen to be raised by. Not that I was handpicked by my actual dad of course; I’m his biological child. But I believe wholeheartedly that God knows and deliberately chooses a family for each of us and I have spent much of my 26 years questioning why them and why this guy as my dad. Everything about him was unsafe …his job as a firefighter, his aggressive driving tendencies, his reckless lifestyle choices even the words he chose to speak to his wife and kids precariously teetered on the edge of abusive. He was unfiltered, unpredictable, and unforgiving.
Please don’t get me wrong, I do love my dad. And not just because he’s “blood” and I have to. I love him because I know that despite some major downfalls, he did his best to raise me the way he thought would make me a good, respectable, self-sufficient person. I love him because I do have some very sweet memories of laughing and feeing loved and taken care of. I love him because I will always hold out hope that someday he might love me back.
“Heavenly Father” is a term that has always made me cringe a little. I accepted Christ as the savior of my life sometime in my teens (exactly which time remains questionable). I certainly needed a savior. I needed a secret-keeper, a friend, a role model, a guide, a lap to climb up into and a shoulder to cry on. What I most definitely did not need was another father. I had plenty to deal with concerning the one I already had. I really didn’t want any more ridiculous rules or “do as I say, not as I do” type of expectations. It took me many years, lots of crushing experiences, and slowly learning about the character of God to realize that instead of hoping that my God wouldn’t be anything like my father, I had to hope that one day my father might be something like my God. As far as I know, he’s not there yet. But I can truly say that’s well with my soul because “In love he predestined us to be adopted as his [daughters] through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will…” (Ephesians 1:4-5). No matter how old I get, I think I’ll always have a piece of a little girl in me who just wants her daddy. The thing is, I have one. Not so much here on this earth, but definitely a heavenly One.
I’ve been adopted. I feel that. I know I don’t have to be defined by my heritage of alcoholics or as the daughter of a drug addict. I am in fact, the daughter of a King. I am the apple of my daddy’s eye. And it’s still not safe. God doesn’t owe me anything, not even an explanation when He weaves tragedy into my story. I can pray daily for health and comfort and convenience but He’s proven He gets to decide when to say “yes” to that and when to say “no”. But He’s always good. I believe that with ever fiber of my being and that is exactly the kind of Father I want raising me from here on out.
Samantha Cassara lives in Rochester, NY with her husband and 6 month old twin son and daughter.