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Abba :: God the Father

Sermon Series


Abba :: God the Father

Oct 19, 2022

Abba :: God the Father

Oct 19, 2022

Life often looks different than we dreamed.

If you grew up in the 90s, you might have been led to believe your life would consist of a college degree, a “ring by spring,” a perfect job, and living out your life alongside your spouse in your four-bedroom home while your 2.5 children slept soundly each night (I’m still not sure what happened to the other half of that child…).

Maybe instead you find yourself buried in student debt and constantly trying to find your purpose, all while balancing much-needed therapy, an awful dating pool, living with six other adults, and unintentionally avoiding the rising cost of bringing aforementioned 2.5 children into the world. If that’s you, congrats! You’re a geriatric millennial. Your body has started to ache from just living and you have a favorite spatula. Welcome to the club.

Ok, sass aside, as I prepared for this blogpost on God, the Father, I thought it would lead to me writing something poetic and profound. I’ve been reflecting on the intimate relationship I have with our Father, my Abba – the God who intimately breathed life into Adam and has cared for us the same ever since. A Father who, through all of my shortcomings, has welcomed His prodigal daughter back into His arms every single time. I may not deliver something awe-inspiring today (for that, please see Jireh: The God Who Provides, written by my own mother), but my prayer is that this would reach the one who is lost, feeling broken and unloved, with nowhere to turn; the one who has been disappointed time and time again by what the world has tried to fix in them. This is for you. At 36, I’ve been you… I still am you, but I promise, life gets sweeter.

I grew up in a household that fiercely loved God and each other, with parents who got behind my brother and me, and taught us to “dream big” like the best 90s parents did. I am a total daddy’s girl. My dad is my pal and one of my favorite adventure buddies, one of the few people with whom I can open up to about the harder side of life without any judgment. However, my favorite thing about him is that he has consistently told me “no” when it matters. I know it sounds crazy, but it took me about 30 years to understand what a gift that is:

“Dad, can we skip church this weekend? I want to sleep in.”
“No, you’ll be happy to be with your friends and learn a little about Jesus, too.”

“Dad, I turn 16 tomorrow. I can expect a new car in the driveway, right?”
“No, but we’ll pass down our 10-year-old car for you to drive until you can afford your own.”

“Dad, college has been harder than I thought. I know we agreed you would cover four years, but how about one more?”
“No, we had a deal. I’m sorry it’s been hard, but I know you’ll figure it out. I trust you.”

Every time he told me no, he did so out of love and with the intention of teaching me to thrive in a very broken world. I am a better human because of him and I trust him with my life. So how is it that I constantly find myself fighting to trust my Abba? If I can trust my earthly father to take care of me, how can I second-guess my heavenly one, even for a second?

Pastor Craig Groeschel once said, “What you fear the most is where you trust God the least.” For me, it’s always been the idea of living out my life as single. It’s a gut-wrenching fear that has been the driving force of the past 11 years. I have been on a journey that the naive and innocent lil Kristin from the 90s never dreamed she’d be on, but… I’m ok.

I have always craved to love and be loved in return – I even have two tattoos referencing the subject (that was a ‘no’ my dad did not win). Maybe it’s that my family did such a good job of showing it to each other, so it’s been ingrained in me, or maybe it was stitched into me by my Abba when He saw it would be good for both His kingdom and me.Growing up, I thought I would follow in my parents’ footsteps and be married by 22, kids by 30, and just living the dream. Maybe now you can understand my dismay when at 36, I find myself facing the challenges mentioned earlier (minus the debt and six roommates). When 22 came and went, I was so worried that I was behind in how life was supposed to be going that I did whatever I could to get it back on track.

Like Sarai in Genesis, I took matters into my own hands to help God’s promises along, and just like her, I was left hurt and angry, both at myself and God. At 25, after an almost-engagement and another relationship that came to a close, I found myself broken and at the end of my rope, feeling discarded and unwanted. One night I was at a church service and realized I had to stop chasing a goal and start leaning into what God desired for me. I made the boldest prayer I’ve ever prayed, “God, surprise me.” That prayer should come with a warning label: not for the faint of heart. Even though I had taken the right step, I was once again hoping that things would get better over night – but it was an 11-year journey that followed.

I spent the first three years living a mountain-top existence – loving God and rediscovering who I was as His precious child. I had a decent job, a cool apartment, and a great church community, but still I craved a husband. As time went on and I continued to hear “no” from Him, I spent the next three years falling into old habits and trying to help Him along. After all, He had real problems to solve. Why shouldn’t I help Him with my trivial ones?

All this did was lead me to spend the next three years angry at God and wondering if He had dropped me off and left me behind. My job became a thorn in my side, my church was no longer feeding me, and I had moved back in with my parents on a whim. As my hurt and anger continued to rage on, I became blind to how God had been working in the background since the day I asked Him to surprise me, but I’m now confident it started before then.

My hurt ended up driving me to a place of complete surrender. People love to tell you that things tend to fall into place when you let go, but what they fail to explain is that the letting go tends to come out of a place of pure desperation. This is a place where you collapse as your strength runs out, only to have the Father kneel down, scoop you up and whisper, “I’ve got you. You can trust me.” In that moment, the darkness starts to recede and the goodness of God shines His light deep into the brokenness. 

Today, after three years of peeling away the lies and the pain, I can see, truly see, the way every ‘no’ opened the door for a more abundant ‘yes.’ I have spent these last few years in awe of the life God has pulled me into. The one I had planned was good, but like so many other things where God is concerned, there was something so much better ahead of me.

Every loving and intentional ‘no’ has led me to a career that I only ever dreamed about, with a mentor who pours into me, a home I never thought I would own, a church where I feel welcomed and connected, and a solid group of friends that will definitely be lifelong. God was working in the background on things that He knew were deep longings I had, but had been overshadowed by trying to reach a singular goal.

Little love-sick Kristin would be surprised to see her life today, but I think she would quickly see that she is thriving more than she ever thought she could. Here’s the thing though: I have to choose daily to trust God in this area of my life, and I still struggle with this on some days. It is hard and tiring at times, but there is still so much joy to be found in a journey that only a Father who loves us unconditionally could cultivate. 

The greatest things I’ve learned over the past 11 years are this: we are recklessly loved by an Abba who knows us intimately and is focused on all the details – not just the ones that can bring us momentary happiness. He’s a Father who draws us near and lifts us up when the world has broken us. Who chooses to chase after us each and every day.

To the one who is hurting, broken, defeated – your Abba is standing before you with open arms. You just have to choose to step into them.

By Kristin Goodwin 

Kristin Goodwin

Kristin is an event planner and loves working in that chaotic world. Her interests include: pranking her coworkers, traveling as much as possible, and ditching anyone for a good book.

Kristin Goodwin

Kristin is an event planner and loves working in that chaotic world. Her interests include: pranking her coworkers, traveling as much as possible, and ditching anyone for a good book.

Missed The Message?

Pastor Woody covered our sixth name of God in this sermon series, Abba, or Father. He shared some of the false narratives that keep us from knowing and experiencing Him, and instead, taught us how to intimately call on the One who knows us best. Don’t miss this message!