The first Father



When Richelle was 2 years old she was out for the day with her dad running errands. The bank, post office and dry cleaners had conveniently been drive thru, which allowed Richelle to color on her portable art set with crayons. The last objective before home was to stop at the nearby Farm Crest for a fill up, a gallon of milk and a block of cheddar cheese. When they pulled up to the pump, Randy got out while Richelle continued with her colorful creativity on a white paper canvas. After Randy topped off the tank, replaced the cap and closed the little flap, he opened the sliding van door and asked Richelle to put her colors up so they could go in and get the rest of what they came for. She frowned and crossed her skinny arms and gave a firm �Hmm!� She said, �I want to color, you go in.�
Randy didn�t want to argue so he closed to the door, started the ignition and parked in front of the large glass windows, figuring he would be inside for only a moment. �You wait here while daddy gets some milk.�
�Ok daddy, I want some M&M�s please,� Richelle kindly requested knowing she had gotten her way.
Randy pocketed his keys and entered the store. He headed straight to the back and grabbed a gallon jug of whole milk and then two doors over picked up some cheese. They were out of cheddar so he debated on whether he should by a block of Colby or the single slices. Slices won so he headed to the middle isle and wandered through the field of sweet temptations finally he spotted the familiar brown bag of circular snacks that were requested by his blue-eyed little girl. As he picked up a couple of bags, (OK the second one he could eat on the way home,) he glanced over the rack to see that Richelle was sitting in the front seat. He thought he better hurry before she gets too bored and tries to leave the vehicle. Quickly he shuffled to the cashier who was new and confused. Several minutes passed as the small order rang up, and then Randy fumbled in his jacket and then jeans searching for the change needed to complete the sale. Finally he exited the doors finding Richelle seated in the far back with her head down.
Nothing could have prepared Randy for the hideous sight that followed. Richelle�s creative artwork (all in black crayon,) started on all the seat cousins and ended on the fabric covered roof with everything decorated in between. All he could do was scream. Several good-natured folks in the parking lot rushed over to assist only upon seeing the munchkins masterpiece, softly backed away to mind their own business. Somewhere between shocked and raged Randy buckled Richelle�s car seat and started the long drive home. In an attempt to vent he took Richelle�s favorite stuffed bear named Baby (whom she has had since infancy) and tossed it out the window. She squealed so he turned the masterfully redecorated car around and retrieved the plush toy.
When they arrived home Richelle entered the housed looking as though she returned from a funeral and softly walked up to her room and quietly closed the door behind her. I opened the garage door and found Randy putting all of Richelle�s art set into the trash. Defending my baby I shouted, �What are you doing? Do you know what those cost? Richelle loves those colors.�
Randy simply said, �Take a look at what your daughter did to our new van.�
With an unsuspected gaze I immediately felt a sickness in my stomach�s floor followed with an out-of-character laugh. I said, �I�m thankful that she is still alive.�
Randy added, �Take a look above the driver�s seat and you�ll know what actually saved her life.�
I walked around to the other side of the car, opened the door and set myself in the seat to see the view Randy had when he first entered the vehicle. On the dash were some squiggly lines, on the arm rest were several poorly drawn circles and then when I looked up I noticed something extraordinary for a little person who couldn�t even draw a stick figure or any alphabet letters yet. Above my head was a perfectly drawn cross that beamed past my eyes, through my heart and touched my soul. I guess we were once forgiven too.

�For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.��Matthew 6:14 It�s a good thing that God was the first father so we can have an idea on how to parent. It is also a good thing he is our Heavenly Father, whose spirit can prompt us to forgive like he has. Is there anyone who needs your forgiveness?


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