Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Term of Endearment, Why I call God Papa

     I have had a couple of people comment on my calling God, Papa.  For some I am certain it is a name that could bring up painful memories.  It could also be a name that brings up memories of joy.  It was the name I called my grandfather, a man who really did not know how to show affection or speak of his feelings, a man who did not model relationship. It was not my grandfather who inspired this title, after all he didn't know how to be relational.  It was God. Here's my story....

     I spent many years in the church.  I knew of the holiness of God.  I was taught early on to reverence Him for He is holy.  It is an vital part of His character.  I had respect and awe for God, but what I didn't have was an intimate relationship.  I knew Him as God, the Father, the all sufficient, all holy God of the universe.  I knew I could approach His throne, yet I struggled to  feel "at home" in His embrace.

     As He began to change my heart and show me how to enter into His embrace I knew I needed a name for Him that brought intimacy to me.  Father was too impersonal and strict for me.
Daddy was what I called my earthly dad.  God seemed like a title.  I needed something that was personal and intimate, something that spoke of relationship.  I wanted to bridge the gap in my mind of knowing God as Holy, yet wanting to see Him as swallowing me in His embrace.  I struggled to see myself up in His lap, engulfed in His arms.  So I went to Him and asked Him what I could call Him.

    One of my all time favorite movies is "A Little Princess".  What I love about that movie is how deeply she was loved by her father.  There is a particular scene in the movie that speaks to me.  Her father is leaving for war.   He has provided a beautiful room for her to stay in while he's gone.  Her favorite things are brought in and placed throughout.  He has even bought her a special doll that he tells her to hold onto and hug until he returns.  Everything she would need is there in that room.  She runs, jumps up in his lap, a smile on her face, a twinkle in her eyes as she listens to her father tell her what to do when she feels afraid.  She takes his face in her hands and turns it towards her and says, "It's OK, Papa, I'm going to be fine." She then begins to trace his face with her hands as she looks in his eyes.  He says, "What are you doing, memorizing me by heart?"  She says,  "No, I already know you by heart."  

      What I love about that movie and that particular scene is that it gives my earthly eyes a picture of my spiritual reality.  I am my "Papa's girl".  I am invited up into His lap where He looks deeply into my eyes and tells me of His deep love.  Immediately I knew this was the name I had been looking for.  So I began to choose each time to call Him, "Papa."  It has become my term of endearment.

      Yes, I know in the deepest places that God is the Sovereign, Most Holy Creator of the universe.  And because of His holiness that makes me holy, I am now able to rest in knowing Him as "My Papa".

      Please know that when I use the word "Papa" it is out of the utmost reverence for my Abba.
When you read what I write and see Papa in there, think of it as a term of endearment, instead of a title.   It is my affectionate name for the one who loves me more than my mind can completely understand.  I invite you into my journey with Him, and our endearing times, because I want to 
tell the world of my Papa and how deeply He loves....

     Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, "Abba, Father.  Galatians 4:6




naomi said... Reply to comment

Julie, That was an awesome explanation!! In fact, I enjoyed reading it again and being reminded! I love that picture too!!! It has helped my tremendously to think of God as my PAPA!!!lzsspk

Becoming Me said... Reply to comment

Oh Julie, that was so beautiful. I love your term of endearment for our precious Father.

Marsha said... Reply to comment

What an inspirational post and intimate name! Thank you for sharing 'the rest of the story'.

Laura said... Reply to comment

I love the name He gave to you to draw you close. I grew up as a Jehovah's Witness, and so the name of Jehovah was very important to me early on in my life. As i grow to know Him more deeply as the lover of my soul, this name takes on a new meaning when I utter it in prayer. It amazes me how uniquely He reveals Himself to each of us! He is what His many names imply!
love to you today...

Amy said... Reply to comment

Julie, Thank you for this encouraging post. We do not need to be afraid to be who we are just because others might think of us in a different light. May we all have that close intimate relationship with our heavenly Father. You have blessed me today. God bless you.

selahV said... Reply to comment

Julie, I love this explanation of your name for God. I call God many things, El Elyon, El Jireh, Father and always I know I can crawl up onto His lap and enter the holy of holies because my Lord sits at His right hand reminding Him that my name is written there. Blessings...selahV

selahV said... Reply to comment

Julie, couldn't help myself. I added your blog to my listings in Sisters in My Meadow on my blog. You bring a special fragrance all your own. selahV

lori said... Reply to comment

I wondered myself....but I'd NEVER ask...:) WHAT a wonderful story...so many of us who were raised in church find ourselves grown and not in a "relationship" with one we NEED....That is a beautiful story....

thanks for sharing the REST OF THE STORY!!


lori said... Reply to comment

Hey girl...
I would ABSOLUTELY link to your post about WHY you use "Papa." Here and you know where else....
it's just a beautiful story and it's who you are!

great idea!!
hugs, and Happy Thursday!

Amy said... Reply to comment


Thank you for sharing this beautiful story. The Lord absolutely amazes me in the ways He shows us His love!

Love you,

Beth K. Vogt said... Reply to comment

First thank you for visiting me at www.theaccidentalpharisee.blogspot.com.
What a joy to visit you.
I've always love "The Little Princess" movie too--but had never imagined that particular scene as an allegory for my relationship with God.
Thank you for sharing about how God is your Papa.

Laura said... Reply to comment

Hello, my friend! We are heading out of town for the weekend so I wanted to stop by before we left so say hello and goodbye! Ask Papa for traveling mercies for us. I pray you have a lovely weekend. Love to you!

Shanda said... Reply to comment

Loved your story... I'm still learning what it means to have a true relationship with God. Relationships are not my forte, but with God's patience and mercy I know He will give me what I need as I need it! Thanks so much for your willingness to share such an intimate detail of your walk with the Lord!

Tiffany Stuart said... Reply to comment

Loved this. Especially the movie quotes. Wow!

Keep on seeking your Papa. Sitting in his lap. Feeling his touch. And listening to his words.

I can't wait to see what He is telling you next. You have a heart that I so relate to. I see God sightings all around me too.

So glad we are friends! Thanks for your prayers and emails. I'm so thankful for you!

kmom3 said... Reply to comment

Thank you so much for sharing the story behind your name for Him! How He must delight to hear you call Him "Papa"!
Your love for Him is so beautifol, Julie! You are a treasure!
I hope you and your family are all doing well!
Love and blessings,

Laura said... Reply to comment

hello, my friend, and thank you once again for your sweet words of encouragement. Our trip was a very special time. It's amazing what we see when we look, isn't it? I don't know why it is so difficult to go through life with eyes for God, but, oh, the rewards!
thinking of you...

Gretchen said... Reply to comment

Love it. And why shouldn't you call Him whatever He leads you to call Him? Very cool, indeed. xxxooogretchen

Teri said... Reply to comment

This is where I need to be. I have been taught about the Fathers love. I have been in a church that embraces the Love of God as much as the Holiness. I just have this block. Trust issues. I want this though. Truly, with my whole heart.

Teri said... Reply to comment


My email address. Thank you!

Anonymous said... Reply to comment

Oh this is so sweet!

I like the idea!

Anonymous said... Reply to comment

I think that is very special to have a term of endearment to call our Lord. A special personal name between you and Him. What concerns me is that I have heard people from the pulpit attempting to usher in the presence of Almighty God using the name "Papa daddy daddy come visit us." This has caused confusion and division in 3 places of Christ following believers meetings I was in attendance at. The Holy Bible says Abba Father not Abba Daddy. I believe the enemy wants to cause confusion and that there are so many beautiful names in the Word of God yet at the Name of Jesus every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord to the Glory of the Father.