As far back as I can remember, I’ve watched for the return of redwing blackbirds as March melted into spring. Wondered at the arcs of soaring hawks and woodpeckers seeking insect suppers upside-down. I’ve learned to absorb silence, steep in color, drink beauty, stretch, dream, and reach out over the edge of comfort and experience just because my Dad thinks I can.
So much power in those words – because he thinks I can.
All my life, my Dad has believed in me, loved me, lifted me a little higher, encouraged me to take another step, wade one more foot, reach a little farther than I think I can, and when I do, his hands applaud, words spilling from smiling lips, “I knew you could.”
One evening, my Dad asked what I thought about trying out for my high school’s first girls’ soccer team. No way! I had no skill, had never played a game or even a team sport. I was a gymnast and a cheerleader, and after half a dozen years of watching him coach my brother’s soccer teams, off sides remained a mystery.
Still, I thought, he’d asked. He thinks I can. It’d be his first and only chance to coach me in a high school sport.
“You’re fast,” he said. “Quick. You’ve got good feet and great balance. You can do this.”
But I’m a senior. And I’ve never played. And I still don’t get off-sides!
Still, he’d asked. I watched the clock all day. Tick. Tick. Tock. Try-out time came and I didn’t move from the bench, didn’t suit up or walk down the hall or open those doors. I simply sat. Right where I was. And watched that big white clock. Tick. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tick. Tock.
Oh…fine! I finally mumbled, lacing up my shoes and taking a deep breath as I strode down the hall and pushed open those doors. Late. Every head turned, but my Dad never paused, never missed a beat. He only smiled as those unspoken words spilled from his lips, “I know you can.”
And he was right. I played for my Dad that year, sweeper on a team full of grit and heart and determination. It wasn’t pretty, and our grit far out-weighed our skill, but it was sweet. Because he knew we could.
So much like God. We might not have skill or knowledge or experience, might never have attended church or been part of the Body of Christ, but God believes in us. He knows we can, so He lifts us a little higher, encourages us to lean out a little farther, take one more step than we think we can, and when we do, His grace floods our souls as He whispers to our hearts, “I knew you could. I made you. I love you. And I knew you could!”
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. — Psalm 32:8
“Trust Me,” He says. “Reach out. I’m here. And I know you can!”
*Happy Father’s Day, Dad! I love you!