A few weeks ago we sang a song at church that was new to me. Maybe you’ve heard it? It’s called “Good, Good Father” by Chris Tomlin. As I sang the lyrics, “You’re a good, good Father, it’s who you are…and I’m loved by you, it’s who I am,” a floodgate of memories filled my mind and my heart.
It was just months before my fourth birthday, and my mom had already tucked me into bed. But I didn’t want to sleep just yet. Earlier that day I had heard about Jesus and that He could live in my heart, and I wanted to pray and ask Him to stay forever. But I wanted my dad to pray with me.
My dad was lying in a bed across the hall, suffering from late-stage bowel cancer and not recovering. It was difficult for him to move around at this point, as my mom was trying hard to explain to me. But I was adamant. “But you’re too young to fully understand what this decision means,” my mom also tried to explain to me. But I was adamant. She caved and went to get my father. Together we prayed, and I gave my heart to Jesus. My mom took a picture of my older brother and me after we had both given our hearts to Jesus. We were each holding a new Bible, sitting side by side in a big, comfy chair, with huge grins of delight on our faces. Although I was too young to fully remember the experience, the picture says it all…my heart was filled with joy!
February 8th, 1989, just a month after my fourth birthday, my father went to be with Jesus after months of fighting cancer. My older brother was five, and my younger brother was almost 2. My mother was left with three young children, no life insurance to offer her support, but a faith that is, to this day, unshakeable. I know now that it was God who prompted me to adamantly ask my parents to pray with me that night. My father was with me when I made the most important decision of my life.
After my father passed away, we moved around five times in four years as my mom tried to establish an accounting business working from home so that she could support her young family and be there for us. Through it all, my mom never blamed God or complained about her circumstances. Her mantra, quoted often to us as kids, is, “God is a husband to the widows and a father to the fatherless. (Psalm 10:14; Psalm 68:5; Psalm 146:9). She taught us to work hard and work together as a team. She raised us to love and trust God as our Father, and in doing so gave me the most precious gift-a Father of my own, who will never leave or forsake me.
In 2010, when I was in my mid-twenties and married for a couple of years already, the lyrics of a song – my own life song – came to my mind and I scrambled to write the words down. I am by no means an amazing musician or songwriter, my work has never been published, but I love to write songs, and music has been a huge part of my life since I was old enough to talk. Of all the songs I have ever written, this song, “Abba Father”, is most dear to my heart. The title is inspired by the words in Romans 8:15, “For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”
I want to share some of the lyrics with you, publicly, for the first time, because I feel strongly that one of you reading this right now really needs to hear them. If you have recently lost a loved one, or if you grew up without a father, or without a good and loving father, I hope you find courage and peace in these words. I hope you will feel the loving arms of God wrap snug around you, as I have so many times in my moments of greatest need.
Abba Father (A Father’s Love)
Copyright, Esther Lysakovsky, 2010
I still remember the day, it doesn’t seem so long ago,
That You whispered in his ear, “it’s time to come home.”
I didn’t understand, all that was happening before my eyes,
I just knew nothing would be the same again.
Then You took me in Your arms,
And You whispered in my ear, “Don’t be afraid, I’ll always be here to hold you.”
Abba Father, you hold me closer than anyone could,
You call me daughter, you call me apple of Your eye.
Abba Father, you wipe the tears from my eyes,
And give me hope…a reason to smile! Abba Father…
The verses that follow go through the emotions of feeling lonely and bullied as a child; struggling with self-image issues, guilt, and being broken-hearted as a teenager; but knowing that God is always holding me and wiping the tears away.
Then one day, I met my prince, Max. It was our wedding day and I felt every bit the glowing, beautiful bride. But in my heart, I was wishing my father was there to walk me down the aisle. Isn’t that every little girl’s dream? At that moment I felt God once again wrap His arms around me as I walked toward the man I love. He is, and always will be, my loving Father. He has never left my side, and I know He never will.
My prayer for you, friends, is that no matter what difficulty you faced till now, no matter what loss or suffering or heartache, that you would know, without a doubt, that God loves you incredibly. He is a good, good Father, and you are loved by Him (1 John 4:19).
Yours on this journey,
Esther is living her very own wild and wonderful fairytale as a happy wife, SAHM of two rambunctious little boys, blogger, and creative. What keeps her sane? Calligraphy, baking, music, coffee, and Jesus…always Jesus! You can learn more about Esther’s journey at Esther’s Reflections and on Facebook and Instagram.