search instagram arrow-down

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 899 other followers

Instagram

Sometimes, we journey to the dark so we can be moved by the Light. We trace the furthest boundary lines behind our eyes. We get deep next to demons, weighed down from evil within and without. And when warmth first touches cheek or shoulder or the back of our knees, the weight may not lift but there is relief. . . . And it is the same magic— to feel Light's warmth after a cold night or a long stretch of summer, it is the same glory— to be reading the lectionary in a Home Depot parking lot with sleeping car seats or having a morning cup of coffee on the front stoop with my co-laborers. . . . Somehow, God has anchored the pale blue ombre sky above me like an endless umbrella. He covers and cloaks with Light and sometimes I have to go deep in dark to feel it's warmth. . . . Morning Call:  Lamentations 1:12 Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Look and see if  there is any sorrow like my sorrow which was brought upon  me, whom the Lord hath afflicted. . . . Opening Prayer:  Loving Father, as we journey with your Son in this week of remembrance and hope, help us to experience and receive you and your love for the world more clearly. Transform us by the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit. In the name of your Son, our Lord, we pray. Amen. #holyweek #notredame #outofthedarkness #intothelight
Naked morning comfort and I'm just basking in the humble light of it. They wear all their affections like clothes and this one makes me melt because they aren't so attached to their wholeness. They are ready to be broken to make peace with one another -- more ready than me, so I take notes. . . . The making of our Peace broke Him, completely. His humble persistence was full of glory because He was God, not because it looked good. Making peace means breaking pride, breaking selfish gain, breaking the sin inside that so easily entangles us, and breaking the power of the sin outside that so deceives us. . . . #newblog #momswhowrite #writersofinstagram #motherhood #siblings #siblingsasfriends #braveryofsmalllife #Godseconomy #kitchen #atlanta #family #teamkolts #teampixel #teampixelnofilter #nofilter #morningglow #morning #liveauthentic #kids #georgia #southernsummer
"Look, Mom! Edelweisses!!!!" And she passed the peace to me with flower weed stems and smooshed petals. The brisk tickle of Spring wind swept my elbows as I reached out to receive. . . . And it got made again, Peace. Established with delicate weed offerings and vulnerable outstretched hands, peace mended for a moment the breaks of the morning. The Great Deceiver's attempts to put us at odds— to wound one other with war words thrown in defense and pride— got smooshed underfoot in the backyard. . . . And I thought of Jesus making literal Peace, because the world doesn't allow it to come and be kept. Peace must be forged with active rebellion against the forces within and without that would rather war. We are a peace breaking people made in the image of One who carries Peace in his character, One who made Peace for us forever with God so that we can make peace today exactly where we are. . . . "For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility." Ephesians 2:14 . . . And the little child shall lead us.
I studied Job's friends pretending comfort, while withholding kindness and refusing to revive a weary spirit. I taught about the people in Jerusalem spreading their coats out like a royal carpet for the King of glory to ride in on a borrowed mule. I learned about the invisible God we try to force fit our image but our invisible spirit is made in His. I chased my littles in circles in the newly cut backyard and followed Foster's gaze to find birds high on budding branches. I heard Zella yell to our neighbor two houses down to move her apple trees far away because our juniper tree has a bad disease that could infect it. I wrestled through pride and failure and defending ideas. I made a very late afternoon cup of coffee and cooked with my baby strapped on my back. I snuggled my girl and gave her choices while praying she would choose right. On the first day of Spring. . . . We rode to Bible study, the kids and me, in an Uber because I ran the battery down on the van. I caught the sun glory streaming in to hit all our faces in the backseat as Zella chatted with the driver about music, imaginary children, and her preference to not wear socks and shoes. Our Wednesdays have so much Bible in them — sometimes nothing connects and I arrive at the end with mush brain and then sleep in my day clothes. But yesterday, I fell into bed so thankful that there are constellations in all these bits of Light. He is holding all things together and sometimes He connects dots and reveals a special glimpse of the glory of it all. #writersofinstagram #momswhowrite
My brows converge over my nose and my face squints against the dark. I pray, "O, God. O, God." I lay flat on my bed between two littles and take a deep breath that reaches my shoulders and sides and ankles "O, God." . . . It feels like Spring shouldn't come, that it is so *wrong* here that Lent should last forever. That, though our hope for Spring is strong, it is mostly about escape and not about salvation. We have made ourselves at home in winter, comfortable with the frosted ground under our hibernation. Our evil isn't seasonal. It isn't an epoch, a phase, a time period. It is in us— bones, marrow and evil. And we don't even want out. A Stockholm syndrome sickness that's eating us up from the inside but we refuse rescue. . . . The mercy of the Lord comes anyway, budding trees and blooms for the just and unjust. He woos us— relentlessly— out of our captivity with kindness. He calls us to repent of our soul's winter so we can finally see and taste His Spring. He calls us out of shadow and into marvelous light where our winter is exposed and we can squint to see our salvation. And we can know even a little bit more the extent of His glory and the depth of His grace. . . . Spring is coming and we are Easter people, but today there is lament. #light #shadow
Why is it that when we talk about the beginning of the United States it's always "when we founded this great nation" but when we talk about slavery it skips to the Civil War and it's always, "they were fighting to keep slavery in the south." The same humans who founded this nation bought humans and made them slaves in it. And today, for that, I mourn. . . . Every human made in the image of God is the same amount of invaluable. The same amount of mysterious wonder is knit up in our bones, from those first moments curled up in the womb. Lord, have mercy on us for acting like it is not so. . . . . . #americanlent #lentenrose #whiteprivilege #slavery #lent #lament #foundingfathers #letstalkaboutit #repentanceproject #didyouknow #spring #teamkolts #liturgy #reflection #monday #teampixel #atlanta #blackandwhite #slavetrade

things I write about

Follow Us

older stuff

Community

fathers be good to your daughters… and sons too

This is one of those “been-a-long-time-coming” posts.

I remember calling my dad’s cell phone randomly while working in Texas several years ago and just saying, “Thanks, dad. I know this may not make sense, but I just need to say thank you for doing what you do and being who you are.”

I was spending all my days with college age students at work and some nights with the junior high youth group girls. Over and over and over again I heard about broken homes, a spirit of distrust, and a very real longing from these girls to know their fathers and be known by them.

I’m a fixer by Nichols nature, but as I listened to these stories one thing was certain: this was out of my league.

In every case, every 12-year-old and every almost-20-something, I searched for words and came up speechless. Now, several years later, the stories are piling up like postcards from similar destinations: despair, loneliness, anger, betrayal, pain, and sometimes hope. Those are the ones I like best – the hope ones. The others are ones that make my heart hurt. Those destinations are hard to explain, but they seem to keep arriving at my doorstep.

Tonight, during our Bible study on God’s design for women, my heart broke again for all the girls in my life who have a hard time picturing God as a loving Father. If a father is someone who is silent and distant… or two-faced and secretive… or always offering empty promises, then it is hard to picture God’s role as our Father much differently.

Oh, this hurts! In the French film Amélie, the little girl’s father is a doctor and her mother is a headmistress. They are each particular about different things, but neither very particular about showing affection to their one daughter. One scene read almost exactly like one of my sad story postcards. Amélie, who looks about 5, sits like a statue while her father takes her heartbeat. Her face is emotionless, but the narrator informs us that she, like every girl, wants nothing more than to be hugged by her dad. Since he keeps his distance, she longs and treasures this yearly checkup – where he always finds her heart rate abnormally fast (due to her excitement in being near him).

Almost daily, I am reminded that I have no answers. Nothing I can say today from my mind or heart will hold up tomorrow and will certainly not pass through the many worlds separating me from the home lives of the girls who are so precious to me. I know of only one thing that is true always and it’s the unchanging Word of the Lord. I know without that infallible Word, all of my words will fall flat.

As long as I’m on the subject… there are a few things I wish Dads knew. John Mayer’s song, “Daughters,” scratches the surface of the longing a daughter feels to be loved by her dad, but (not surprisingly) it isn’t strong enough.

Fathers, be good to your daughters
daughters will love like you do

It was simple enough to capture the attention of a whole crowd of daughters who wished for what this nebulously suggests, but I wish this song spelled out specifics.

Fathers:

  1. Be transparent about your first and greatest Love. For many daughters, your faith is a secret. You might go to church or you might have a Bible, but your ideas and convictions are as hidden and elusive as treasure on a child’s treasure map. It’s okay to be somewhere in the growing stages of your faith – in fact, it’s refreshing for us daughters to know you haven’t “arrived” yet. When your daughter can see you admit you need God, her heart and tenderness toward you will grow, but more importantly you will have pointed her gaze to the Father that never fails.
  2. Love your wife. One of the greatest ways you can love your daughter is to love and serve your wife. When they see you honoring, protecting, partnering, laughing, enjoying, and living in a way that reflects God’s design, they will be confident as you lead the family AND you will give them an excellent example of a husband. (This is especially important in those years where you cannot relate to your daughter. When nothing makes sense, love your wife well and I promise your daughter will see it!)
  3. Choose to be around. Your daughter will feel special that you’ve decided the best place for you to be in that moment is with them.
  4. Get personal. Some of my favorite memories with my dad are simple ones that we shared while we did chores together on the farm or as we drove out to a football game or prepared our animals for county fair. Every discussion doesn’t have to be deep, but if you open up first then you’ll gain your daughter’s trust and she’ll likely reciprocate (even if it’s not right away).
  5. Encourage, praise, love the God-honoring things your daughter does and push her in those things to be excellent. I’ll never forget my dad’s insistence that I study that little spelling book in preparation for the elementary spelling bees. My dad still types on the computer with his pointer fingers and English wasn’t his strongest high school subject, but when he found out I could put letters together in the right order, he was going to make sure I did it excellently. Those little things (though I assure you I didn’t love them at the time) made his love for me so obvious.
  6. Be gentle. Your daughter will appreciate well-placed words and respectable silences.
  7. Be good to your sons, too. Your daughters are smart. They will see the way you are leading and guiding your sons. Right now they are probably making mental notes in their heart about whether their dream man will act like the father and brothers in their lives. Many hold desperately on to the hope that it can be different. If they have to rely on Hollywood, they will be hoping for something unhealthy and unrealistic. But she’s got a front row seat for what a man should look like, so show her!

I don’t know where all this came from, but it is so my heart to encourage men to be men as God created them. I just read this blogpost the other day and it’s a slightly different tangent, but with the same bottom line – that men would be true men.

let LOVE fly like crazy

4 comments on “fathers be good to your daughters… and sons too

  1. Cindy Nichols says:

    So, so good. All those ‘postcards’ are actually insight into how God’s plan really does work best and how He can offer hope in the midst of despair.

  2. jjgenesis says:

    Preach it. Painfully beautiful.

Leave a Reply
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.