“Yes, Daddy.”

The words came rushing out, mixed with impatience and frustration. Caleb had been eagerly watching “Bob the Builder,” but now it was time to get ready for church. Just one problem: the show wasn’t over, and we had to end it early. As I reached to turn off the show, the whining escalated, the tears flowed, and then …

“Yes, Daddy.”

(Photo by Derek Bridges' at Creative Commons)

(Photo by Derek Bridges’ at Creative Commons)

It almost sounded desperate. It wasn’t sweet and joyful. It wasn’t easily offered. Everything within him wanted to continue to cry and complain. But instead, filled with emotion and difficulty, came,

“Yes, Daddy.”

It was the first time I had heard that response in that moment. Sometimes it is easy for Caleb to respond with “Yes, Daddy.” “Would you like some ice cream?” “Yes, Daddy.” “Want to go to the park?” “Yes Daddy.” “Would you like to wrestle?” “Yes, Daddy.”

But this was different. This was “Yes, Daddy” when he didn’t want the outcome. This was “Yes, Daddy” when he didn’t like the results. This was “Yes, Daddy” in the midst of pain and disappointment (trifling though it may be to our grown-up eyes). And in this “Yes, Daddy,” I saw growth.

Of course, he didn’t get to this “Yes, Daddy” without some nudging. It took guidance, instruction, even discipline to help him learn to respond this way. I suppose I’m the same way …

Sometimes it’s easy for me to say, “Yes, Daddy.” When God asks, “Would you like to be honored?” or “Can I lift your worries?” or “Would you like a gift?” I eagerly respond with, “Yes, Daddy!”

But I’m learning—ever so slowly—to say, “Yes, Daddy” at the other times, too. When I feel lonely or discouraged or worthless … “Yes, Daddy.” When I feel His hand of discipline and exposure … “Yes, Daddy.” When the weight of language learning or chemical sensitivities or parenting or fatigue settle in so heavy and dark that I can taste it … “Yes, Daddy.”

I’m not ‘there’ yet. And like Caleb, often my “Yes, Daddy” is heavily tinged with anger and doubt and distrust and bitterness and … . But I hope that He is still pleased to hear me say, “Yes, Daddy.” I trust you. I’ll listen. I follow you. I know you love me. This really hurts, but I know you care. 

“Yes, Daddy.”

Hopefully I mean it a little more each time I say it.

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