“It’s admirable for a man to take his son fishing, but there’s a special place in heaven for the father who takes his daughter shopping.” ~John Sinor
When my parents divorced a few years ago, I felt like my family structure disintegrated and I didn’t have anywhere I belonged. Of course I still love both of my parents and my siblings, but I just felt alone, like I didn’t have that “built-in” support system anymore. I have been tempted to have some hard feelings, but to combat those and to move on with my new family structure, my coping mechanism has been to give each member of my family the luxury of being imperfect and treat them as my continually progressing brothers and sisters.
But some days I need more than a brother or a sister. During an especially difficult trial, I wanted to reach out to my dad. But he was struggling with his own life and I didn’t feel I should add my problems onto his. But I needed a father figure – someone I could turn to for advice during this difficult time. I started making a list of all the men I knew who maybe could add me as a temporary daughter until I figured things out. I took my list to the temple to see which one was the best.
I pondered for a while, not feeling that any of the men I listed were better than the other. I wasn’t sure God was going to answer me; maybe I was being unrighteous to make plans to invade someone else’s family. I hoped I wasn’t making a mistake. I really needed a father figure right now!
At one point, I had a passing interaction with a temple worker and we shook hands. His hands were big and kind of rough and I remember thinking they looked like “dad” hands. As our hands met, I was filled with love, not from this man, but from Heavenly Father and my mind filled with a silent, but strong, message from Him: I am your Father figure.
My heart soared. I was not as alone as I thought. There was someone rooting for me and my burdens weren’t burdens for Him.
It’s hard to remember who we are – and Whose we are – as we navigate through the trials on this earth. But I Am a Child of God isn’t just a cute song, it’s a true fact. And He loves us. And He will help us, and give us advice, and take us shopping…
It might make this story a tad longer, but I have to share what happened the other day. I had less than an hour to go to the store and buy an outfit before I got some pictures taken for my website. The photographer told me pastels look best in pictures and I owned nothing in pastel.
I needed to hurry and I knew I had success sometimes at Downeast, sometimes at Old Navy, and sometimes at Ross, but I couldn’t go to all three stores for sure. Not even two. I had to get it right the first time or I would be wearing something un-pastel for these pictures. So I prayed.
And God took me shopping.
I felt I should go to Old Navy. It came as a distant thought and, it was as good a guess as any, so I went there – and found the perfect pastel items for pennies!
I prayed my thanks all the way home. I was so grateful. I asked Heavenly Father what commandment I could have possibly kept that would have resulted in this blessing. I immediately remembered the day before…
I had been invited to speak at an event close to my dad’s house. I felt I should invite him to go with me and I didn’t want to. I love my dad, but I was afraid his life’s struggles would weigh too heavily on my heart and I wouldn’t be able to speak very well. But the feeling persisted and so I invited him to come – and, with many prayers for strength and help, it went great.
As I drove home with my new purchases from Old Navy I heard a voice say, Because you will be guided when you don’t want to, I will guide you when you want to.
We all lead lives full of trial and hardship and we can be tempted to feel alone. But no matter our current circumstances, we all have a “built-in” support system with a Father who loves us in spite of our imperfections and is ready with whatever comfort or love we need at the moment. He’s just as quick to give advice as He is to take us shopping – what’s important to us is important to Him because WE are important to Him.
Keep on Rollin’