Perhaps I've mentioned this before, but one of my very favorite songs to sing with my three little ones is a song by Frances England called "Daddy-O" that goes like this, "D-A-D-D-Y, Oh, how I love you.  Oh, how I love you.  D-A-D-D-Y, Oh, how I love you.  Oh, how I love you, Daddy-O."

Tomorrow, March 31, 2011, marks the 15-year anniversary of my daddy's death.  Or, more appropriately put his passing into eternal life.  I can still remember as clear as a bell that beautiful, sunny day in 1996.  

For some inexplicable reason, after I heard the news that my ailing father had passed away, I turned to look up at the clear, blue sky, and I could almost picture him crossing a finish line like a runner at the end of his race.  Hands held high in victory. Upturned face, drenched in sweat, basking in the glory and the majesty of God.  Worn and weary feet, sprinting forth with newfound vigor, as the end of the finish line fanfare came into view.  I pictured my running father’s newly perfected body ripping through the ribbon as he cried tears of joy-filled relief.  He was finished.

His pain was gone.  His sadness was gone.  All of his failures, disappointments and fears, in an instant…gone.  I remember whispering underneath my breath, “You’re free, Daddy.  You’re free.” Indeed he was.  

The Bible states in John chapter 8:34-36
"Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever.  So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed."

My father was a slave to sin.  We are all enslaved to sin because we sin.  Is anyone perfect?  No.  Was my dad perfect?  Ummm..NO. Yet, because of his faith in Jesus Christ, the Son, to take the punishment for his sin and replace it with His righteousness, my father was set free.  Forever.

What a bittersweet moment that was for me 15 years ago.  To this day, I miss my daddy.  And, if you're from the South, you know even us 30-somethings still address our fathers as "Daddy" until the day we die.  It's a term of endearment.  A term used mostly by little people (i.e. toddlers & pre-schoolers).  It's a word that encompasses a certain fondness, a bit of helplessness, perhaps weakness/dependence on the part of the child.  Moreso, there is a certain air of submission, respect and, above all, a sense of belonging that goes along with the term "Daddy."  The word "Abba" in the Bible is like this.

"For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” ~Romans 8:15

Wow.  When we belong to God, through Christ, we are adopted into His family, and we can address the God of the universe as "Daddy!"  Amazing. Humbling. Comforting.

From time to time, I tell my children, as they are in their beds, "Mommy loves you and Daddy loves you, but God loves you most of all."  You and I both know that we won't always be around as parents.  Sometimes our jobs take us to places far away.  Other times, our children may grow up and make life choices that take them far away from us.  
In my situation, my mother and father both died while I was still in my early twenties.  Although they can no longer be here to comfort me and tell me that they love me, there is One to whom I can turn and cry, "Abba! Father!"  And, He listens, and He is there.  He is always there.  My Daddy.  My perfect, heavenly D-A-D-D-Y.