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MYERS: I love you can be a powerful message
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Listen as Center Point instructor Rusty Anderson shares his experiences with the organization. He began taking classes at the center as a Gainesville High School student and said they had a big impact on his life.
At the time I write this article, Chloe is 6 months old.

She's able to do many things, but there are also many things she's not able to do. I have to admit to a little impatience regarding one thing in particular, though. I know she'll do it eventually, but I want her to do it now.

What is that thing, you ask?

Walking? No.

Sleeping through the night? That would be wonderful, but no.

Getting a job and providing some income to the family she's been sponging off of for the last six months? I mean, give me a break! Do you realize how expensive diapers and formula are? How about contributing a little to your own personal upkeep ... ?

Sorry, I digress. The answer to that question is also no.
The one thing I want her to do above all else is say, "I love you, Daddy."

Four little words. And not big words, at that. But at 6 months old, Chloe's still a long way from even beginning to speak. She's even further away from speaking clearly, and stringing words together like that.

Still, a daddy can dream, can't he? Besides, Chloe's smarter than the average bear. She already knows who I am.
When Amy asks, "Where's Daddy?" Chloe looks right at me. If she knows who I am and can identify me that easily, can saying "I love you, Daddy" really be that far off?

I think about hearing those words. How sweet they will sound when she speaks them. How my heart will leap inside my chest. How tears will spring to my eyes, and even though I consider myself a manly man, I won't wipe them away.

Her declaration of love will lift my spirit and make me feel like I can fly.

Oh, I can't wait! Yet every day that goes by without me hearing them, my heart aches to hear them all the more. Such is a daddy's desire to hear his child say, "I love you."

God knows that desire. He identifies with my hopes, my dreams, my desires. He understands just how much I want to hear Chloe speak those words, because he went through the same thing during all those years he was waiting for me to say those same words to him.

I knew who God was. If someone were to ask me to tell them about God, or even show them some Bible verses about God, I could have done it.

But even though I knew who he was, I still had not made that declaration of love that he was longing to hear.

Day after day, he inclined his ear to hear me speak the words, "I love you, Daddy." And day after day, his heart ached just a little bit more as I refused to acknowledge any love for him.

Finally, however, I said those words he longed to hear. And when I said them, he delighted in hearing them (Luke 15:7, 10).

Your heavenly father wants to hear you say to him, "I love you, Daddy."

Have you done it yet? Will you?

Parrish Myers is pastor of Pine Crest Baptist Church in Gainesville. E-mail

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