I have been wanting to write about this for some time but, didn’t really know how to convey it.

It’s like a large Thank You card to God Himself.

Three years ago this November I watched my mother pass from this life to an eternal life. She left me before I was ready. She died of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) which constantly takes from a person and we (medical or not) are ill equipped to stop the process. Laurie Sgambelluri was an amazing mother. Strong, stubborn, giving, affectionate, wise and encouraging. When she left, I struggled. I would go through moments when I almost thought she was still here, like I smelled her or faintly heard her voice in another room and if I could move fast enough, I could catch a glimpse of her. It was like we had just embraced and let go. In those brief moments, between phantom feelings and reality, I would feel the loss of her fall fresh on me.

Father God stayed with me.

He carried me. He cried with me. He took my blows when I had no one to pummel. He created space for me to grieve.

Then lovingly, He set my feet on the floor. He moved me forward. He restored my heart. He deepened my faith.

Then, the undeserved things started to happen; He gave me ministry. One that grew and reminded me about love, humility and leading.

And then…one summer day on vacation with my husband and children. The Creator of the Universe, loved me enough to be not only my Father, Director, Lord and King but my daddy.

He let me be in a parade in at Disney World! No, seriously! Disney World! We were walking along and a man starting speaking to my husband, Brad, and asking us to come back to these gates at 4pm and we would participate in the afternoon parade. We were placed on a large float shaped like a turquoise bird. They outfitted us in pith helmets complete with mickey ears and a safari vest. The music began, the enormous gates opened and we moved. The waving came very natural to me, no demure parade wave for this Italian girl, I was full out, straight armed, fingers stretched, waving! A Disney photographer followed us along the parade route and took photos and it was one of the BEST days of my life!

And my sweet Father in Heaven, who sacrificed His Son for me knew it would be.

Matthew 6:8 says For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him

You can challenge me and tell me God would not sully Himself by caring about a little parade route in Florida, I would object, maybe not openly, as I love the Word and see your point, but inwardly, I would feel a little sad for you. My Dad loves me like this. He loves me shockingly, openly, with discipline and grace.

And yes, He loves me with parades at Disney World.

I want to know;  when has He loved you just as Unabashedly?  I know I am not the only one who has God’s love heaped upon them?  What is your story of your Daddy’s great love for you?

By: Tonia Booker, With-Pencil

  • http://freedomtopraise.wordpress.com/ Becky M

    I love that you got to be in the parade at Disney World. Since God knows ALL about everything – the very hairs on our head, and since His ways are not known by us – well of course He would give you this.

    Yesterday, my husband asked, as we were on our morning walk, if I would like to drive to the beach for lunch, a 2 1/2 hour drive. This is one of my favorite things to do as I miss the beach. This is so very unlike my husband. It was a gift from my God through my husband for which I offered many thanks.

  • http://ajoyrenewed.blogspot.com/ Brittnie (A Joy Renewed)

    This is such a great post. HE is indeed our Father Daddy. There is something so special knowing that He is not only our King but our DAD. Love it!

  • http://www.kathycheek.com Kathy C. @ In Quiet Places

    Without going into specific details, I had an experience last week where something (someone) hurt me and it caused me to start doubting something I had believed was from God, and in crying out to Him to show me “what in the world just happened, what is going on here, I am so confused now” – He instantly showered a blessing of upon me, brought me some good news that swept away the onslaught of doubt and reminded me, I am where He wants me to be, doing what He wants me to do. I just kept saying, thank You, Father, I can’t believe You would do that for me, but He did, and I am still saying Thank You, Father – today!

  • http://myscrapbookaddiction.com Darlene

    Hi, I enjoyed reading your story about how God takes care of us. I do believe He would bless you even at Disney. I think God knows our very deepest need beyond our human understanding and He knows what it takes to move us onward. I think that is just part of His great mercy towards us. Keep your eyes on Him, the Author and Finisher of our faith.
    God Bless,

  • http://www.journey2theone.com Kimberly

    Hi Tami,

    I so loved your story. And I too believe the Lord loves us so much that He is willing to do the most audacious things to prove it! My story also speaking to the loss of someone special, my Dad. Oh how I love him! I still can’t say it in past tense. His love lives in me every day. He passed away almost 4 years ago. That is even hard to believe. Well, the grief was so acute and my active life didn’t stop to give it its full ability to consume me. What I realized was I hadn’t had a real vacation in 5 years and was in desperate need. Oh if I could share pictures of how He lavished His love on me through a vacation patched together with the help of friends-new and loved. I received my corner of Heaven on earth at a private beach on a small island of the Bahamas in the guest house of a unknown and now new friend who was in Egypt when she opened her house to me. See I only had about $250.00 to go. I spent much less than that in total air,food, transportation. That’s my story of how God loved on me! Thank you for letting me share! It felt wonderful all over again.

  • http://hopefeathersii.blogspot.com Merissa

    Wow, thanks for this Tonia :)
    I was just reminded of how God love me ‘unabashedly’ one time.
    I was going through a real dark time of sadness and not really talking to God all that much. I went to a Christian bookstore to pick up a birthday card for someone, and just before I went up to the register to pay, I saw this bookmark stand. It had these little gold bookmarks hanging off it, not something I would usually be attracted to, but what caught my eye was the first one I reached for! It was a bookmark with Afrikaans writing on it (my mother-tongue!) I was shocked. I searched to see if any of the other bookmarks were also written in Afrikaans, but no, as usual they were only in English.
    What amazed me, was that this one bookmark, the first one I reached for was written in a language that is only spoken by South Africans like myself, and a few other people in Southern Africa.
    What was this Afrikaans bookmark doing on a rack in a Canadian bookstore?
    I bought it immediately.
    It wasn’t until later that evening, as I pulled it out and stared at it that I heard God’s voice speak to me in that time of sadness and spiritual dryness:
    “God kom altyd sy beloftes na”- English: God always keeps His promises.

    I knew He had placed that bookmark there for me to find.

  • http://www.arock4him.blogspot.com Amy Hunt

    I’ve begun to really See Him as Daddy. It’s thrilling!

    When someone who I hardly know and who I’ve never met, but who I met through writing–an invitation He gave me and a calling I’ve felt forever–encourages me, lifts me up in prayer, talks with others about my dreams…this is His love pouring out to me in such amazingly beautiful ways!

    The way you See Him…it’s such beautiful worship, Tonia!

    Rich blessings as He knocks your socks off with His Grace, designed in such specific, personal ways.

  • http://www.heidiwhitey.com Heidi White

    Thank you for sharing your story of love and healing. You have a tender heart to the Lord and to the relationships of your life. God bless you.

  • Colleen G.

    I will never forget the first time I truly felt the embrace of our Fathers love from above. After a couple years of infertility we were lead to a private adoption. We opened our hearts, filled it with hope and in a surprising moment it all changed. A month shy of the birthmothers due date our adoptoin fell through. And in an instant I was back to those ugly hopeless feelings I had felt so many times before on this lonely road of infertility. The only thing I knew to do was to fall on my knees and ask the Lord for help. Right there in our rental basement apartment, leaning on my grandmothers old chair I felt an embrace full of love. It is hard to explain in words the awesome feeling that I experienced but I knew it was from God, my Father. He heard my cry for help and comforted me when I needed it the most. Now when I pray for someone I always ask the Lord to please wrap His loving arms around that person just like He did for me many years ago. That is my Fathers great love.
    -Colleen G.

  • http://booker115@cableone.net mrsbooker

    I would have never guessed how this day would unfold for me. Hearing all your amazing responses make this day even more blessing -filled for me.
    Thank you for sharing your stories with me. I just spent the day with tear filled eyes and wishing I was sitting across my kitchen table listening to them directly from all my sweet sisters in Christ. I told my husband I long for the day when we will gather in heaven and just know one another and share embraces and heavenly stories face to face.
    I am so very grateful for the forum of (in)courage and feel that embrace and smile of our Father who unites us and smiles over us when He sees us share and lift one another up.
    I am holding you all up to our Father as a thankful gift to my day.

  • http://www.sarahstirman.com/ Sarah S.

    A few years ago, I was really struck — and kind of got tickled — reading 2 Corinthians 2:14 “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him.” God leads us in triumphal procession — he leads us in a God parade!! That is precisely what this post made me think of. He granted you victory over your despair and pain and led you in a victory parade right down Main Street, USA, Disneyworld! Man! That is some awesome God we worship, right? Thanks so much for sharing your story!

  • Gail

    Thank you so much for this post!
    I lost my mom just 3 short months ago and glimpses of her surround me too.
    I cannot praise God enough for the strength and comfort he provided during her last days with us. It was amazing and over the top! Something only our heavenly Daddy can gve.
    I am so happy to hear of your blessings at Disney! He hears us even when we don’t know what to ask for. He has blessed us in so many ways. I am so grateful.
    I am so very happy you shared your story!
    A parade!
    Praises to God!!

  • http://BeMentallyHealthy Sue Pritchard

    I failed a test Thursday in Massage Therapy School. It was on the origins and insertions of muscles of the head and neck. I felt overcome with emotions and sought refuge from others in the womens bathroom. Standing alone as I tensed everything in me to keep from crying out mightily, the still, small voice of love came upon me in a whisper, an almighty whisper, speaking to my mind,”you don’t have to do this” then “you…don’t…HAVE…to do THIS”. As my thinking brain turned on I realized it was true, no one’s life was hanging in the balance, not even mine. I was there because I chose to be. I had other options. Returning to the very quiet classroom, looking at faces I have come to know well in these last 3 plus months, my resolve disappeared and I was agin washed over by emotions. Gathering my belongings i said I just had to go home, sorry, gotta go! Once in the safety of my humble little home surrounded by canine and feline best friends, I snuggled into a nap. Giving up everything to Him.
    About 2 hours later I woke to the sound of my cell phone that showed an unknown and restricted caller was at the other end. Somehow I realized I should answer and so I did. A familiar voice from the past was offering a job interview for the dream job I had held for over 20 years. Seriously, for real, no kidding!!!!!!! I ask your prayers for me to represent well the One who is sending me and that I be at peace with His decision. Bless each of you for your faithfulness to follow your true heart, Our Savior, Jesus Christ. Sue

  • http://faithstepsnfootprints.blogspot.com/ Nicki

    Thanx for inspiring me! Here are my thoughts in answer to your questions. Have a blessedly beautiful week!!

  • http://faithstepsnfootprints.blogspot.com/ Nicki

    Thanx for inspiring me! Here are my thoughts in answer to your questions. Have a blessedly beautiful week!!