Chris Ackerman

Living in the Father’s Love

This summer, I was blessed to serve for my third summer as a summer missionary before becoming a full-time missionary a few weeks ago. I knew I was called to serve this past summer, but I wasn’t sure why. I decided it would be a good idea to talk to the mission director at the start of the summer about my purpose for that time, as well as things I should pray about. He asked me what I had been praying about in the last few weeks, to which I responded that I was journeying through my identity. My identity has been something that I have been rather lost with for a while, not exactly knowing and loving who I am and have been. He told me that the best place to start would be to walk with God the Father as a beloved son of God, and that’s where my identity first and foremost comes from.

I had a few problems with this. First, I didn’t know how. Second, I’ve never really known the love of the Heavenly Father in my life because my own father, up until a few years ago, wasn’t really a big part of my life. (Praise the Lord that he is such a big part of my life now!) While I had already forgiven him for the ways that he hurt me, I was quite unaware of the scars that had formed from my “father wound.” It was only when I began to dive into my relationship with God the Father that I began to heal and to realize just how little I knew about myself in relation to the Father and His love for me. When I asked how I should go about praying into the Father’s love, I was simply told to be still, quiet, and open to receive His love. So, partly confused as how to go about this and mostly ready and willing, my journey began. Almost every morning this summer, I sat before the Lord in my holy hour. I would ask Him questions about what He wanted me to do to figure out the mystery of His great love, but He would always tell me, “I don’t want you to do anything. Just let me love you.”

Somehow, these answers didn’t seem to satisfy me because I wasn’t actually doing anything except showing up to holy hour. So, I continued to ask the same questions, getting the same response. It wasn’t until I prayed with the words that the Father gave me, “Just let me love you,” that I began to understand that there is nothing that I can do to earn God’s love for me. From that point on in the summer, I would take my first five minutes of my time before the Lord and just let Him love me and be open to that love. Still wondering, I asked the Lord one day how He desires to love me personally. He responded, “I desire to simply love as a Father loves his son. I want you to know, deep in your heart, that I love you, My son, above all else. You may doubt, but My love remains firm and strong and constant. I love you, Chris.” BAM! It’s like God hit me in the head with a spiritual 2×4. I never got it before because I never understood my own father’s love for me. For so long, God the Father was this far off person who had this crazy control over my life that I would ask questions to without much response. In an instant, God became a loving father for me, who loves me above all else!

I still have a long way to go in my journey with the Father, with so many years to catch up on, but I know that this will be one of the most exciting adventures of my lifetime. While I’m still only beginning to understand the Father’s love for me, there are a couple things I do know very well: my identity is found as a son of the Father, and I am so dearly loved.

Chris Ackerman

About the Author

During my last year of college, I felt the Lord's call to be a missionary so that I could serve Him alone. I'm crazy about the Church, and I love the Eucharist. My other loves are mowing the grass, a hot cup of coffee, and cooking great food. If you'd like to contact me, email me at [email protected]