My mom rarely cried. At least not in front of me. But when her tears did happen, a jolt of fear would race through my heart. Because if Mom cried, that meant something really, really bad must have happened.
But not this time.
This time was different. A little more than five years ago, my mom was feeling weak, but we didn’t know how sick she was. If we did, she wouldn’t have been driving. And I wouldn’t have been distracting her by singing my latest song.
I’m glad I didn’t know.
When I finished the song, that told the story of a dad dancing with his daughter, my mom’s tears glistened in her eyes and it was hard for her to talk. But she managed to say one sentence.
“That song is important.”
I’d never heard anything like that from my mom. We were both writers and storytellers. When critiquing each other’s work, we both chose honesty over flattery. Usually her comments were, “That’s good, but what about this…” Critiques never included tears. And they certainly never included words like important.
But I think I know why this moment was different. I think my song triggered a memory of an earlier conversation some months prior.
The words were few between us, but our talk landed firmly in my heart. I had told her why I loved my pastor. Pastor Jack Hayford was like a father to me, teaching me about God and how God wanted to be my father too.
After a moment she said that was the same reason why she loved Pastor Charles Stanley. Then her voice became quiet.
“Neither of us really had fathers, did we?”
It was true. While we both had dads, they were mostly absent from our lives when we were growing up. We needed them then, to help shape us into being the women God created us to be. And now, we were acknowledging, that even at our ages, we still needed a father’s touch in our lives.
Though I grew up in church, I walked away from the things of God for many years. My return didn’t happen until my 30’s, when I discovered I could know God intimately, feeling and experiencing his love for me. But in the beginning I was a little awkward with his affection.
If I were to paint a picture of me with God at this time, it would be of a five year old girl in a party frock, dancing with her daddy.
She doesn’t miss a beat or a step of the dance, because she’s standing right on his toes. She thinks she won’t fall, because of how tightly she clings to his strong legs.
She hasn’t yet learned that no matter what, he’s not going to let her fall. But he wants to hold her too. So He removes her grasp from his legs, and puts her little hands in his big strong hands.
Today, the picture of the dance with my father has changed. Oh, I still get afraid sometimes and want to cling, or sometimes even pull away from God. But his love and faithfulness bring me back into his arms, so we can finish our dance.
In this picture, our dance looks like the Father-Daughter dance at a wedding. I’m taller now and I don’t miss a step, because my head lies on his heart, listening to the beat of his love for me. I don’t fall; his hands secure mine in his strong, but gentle, grip.
While we dance, he whispers in my ear. I nod to all his words of wisdom and love. He speaks to me of my future and the good plans he’s made for me. In this most intimate of conversations, I know that the one who holds me is the one who knows me best. And because he knows everything about me, both the good and not so good, the beautiful and not so beautiful, I can trust him without holding back.
All traces of fear fall away and I am carried once again by the rhythm of his love.
Below is the song I sang to my mom. It tells the story of why dads are so important to their daughters.
My mom’s desire, her prayer for me on that day, was that I would publish it. But I never have! I’m still not quite sure how to go about that. However, I can do what I know how to do.
I share it with you here.
ROLL THE CREDITS!
SONGWRITERS: I wrote, “I Will Hold Your Hand,” with a friend of mine, Michael Palmer.
SINGER: And that’s me doing the singing! 😀
CAST: THE BRIDE
Kimberly Bauer, the beautiful bride in the father-daughter dance gave me permission to use her photos, and share the look of incredible love we see on her dad’s face.
CAST: THE DAD
Keith Scheyving, you are amazing!
The wedding photographer is Ricardo Barrera, who is based in Orange County.
CAST: THE FIVE YEAR OLD GIRL AND HER DADDY
She’s my niece Ariana with her daddy Anthony. I get so much joy watching the two of them together.
MY OWN DAD
And finally, while I didn’t have my dad around as much as I needed when I was growing up, he’s been loving on me, his grownup daughter, SO MUCH. It is precious to me and I am blessed Buford Porter!
DO YOU WANT A COPY OF THE LYRICS?
All you have to do is one of two tasks: either share my blog post OR subscribe to my blog my email. Then write a note to me in my comments section and I will send you a PDF copy of the lyrics.
And finally, THANK YOU! For reading this!!!
Carla Porter writes, sings, designs architectural interiors and loves God, all in Los Angeles, California.
© 2016, Carla Porter and Whisper of Grace, all rights reserved.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, including images, music and writings, without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Carla Porter and Whisper of Grace with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.