This past weekend I shared a family ritual that takes place nearly every night in our household . . .

My 14 year old daughter, Tabitha, kisses me good night and says, “I love you dad.”

I respond by saying, “I love you more.”

“I love you more than my heart can hold,” she replies.

“That’s an awful lot . . . but I love you more,” I conclude.

I recounted this story to illustrate God’s love for us as his children.  I’m just a dad fumbling about, doing his best to love his children.  Imagine God, 100 times better, 1000 times wiser, a million times more loving . . . and you begin to get a faint glimmer of how much God the Father cares for you.

I told this story and after one of our weekend gatherings a middle aged woman walked up to me with her young daughter in hand.  She thanked me for sharing the story of my love for my daughter and how we tell one another goodnight.  And then she teared up.  She explained that when she was 8 years old she went into the living room to kiss her daddy good night.  And he said to her, “Aren’t you a little old to be kissing me goodnight?”  From that day forward the affection between them ended.

This wounded woman explained that she has tried to let this memory fade.  To allow this to hurt find its rightful healing.  But the wound is deep.  The pain of losing affection from her father still leaves her empty.

So dads, NEVER stop showing appropriate affection.  NEVER stop telling your children you love them.  YOU are a reflection of how our Heavenly Father loves your children.