Back when I was a child, my father would lift me high and dance with my mother and me. He'd spin me around until I fell asleep, then up the stairs he would carry me. I knew for sure I was loved. I'd like to say those words are mine, inspired by childhood memories, but they're not. Luther Vandross wrote and sang them.
A father's love is almost mythical to me, though I grew up with two dads. One was absent, the other harsh. For whatever reasons, neither one fulfilled the emotional role of a father. I don't remember feeling loved by either of them. So, I cultivated a thick skin of low expectations and apathy in an attempt to protect the daddy-daughter part of my soul that longed for affection. The calluses meant to defend tender spots worked. I managed through life well enough. However, the healthy tenderness required for intimacy remained hidden within a calloused heart.
Some of that hardness is sloughed off during a worship service at church. Raising my hands as I sing, I'm suddenly dancing with my Father - my arms lifted to God like a young daughter reaching up to dance with Daddy. As I sway, I envision a little girl's black patent shoes on her Daddy's feet. I feel as if I am standing on God's feet as He enjoys my presence. There it is - a thin place in this daughter's heart. As I dance with my Heavenly Father, my Daddy God (Romans 8:15), I know for sure I am loved.