large-LucadoHatLast week my 8 year old picked 2 books prior to going to bed. Since the first book was a bit longer than the allotted reading time before bed, I placed the 2nd book on her bedside table and promised we would read it “next.” After several days of conflicting bedtime routines, last night we finally got around to reading a book by Max Lucado called “A Hat For Ivan.” If ever a children’s book spoke to my soul, it was last night.

Let me take you back a few years and give you some insight why this little book holds a special place in my heart. Given to “the boy” as a gift from his Aunt, “A Hat For Ivan” was the favorite book of my son several years ago. As luck would have it, an opportunity to meet one of my heroes, Max Lucado, happened about that same time. We took the family, waited in line and spent the most amazing time with Max and his bride Denalyn. As you can see from the picture below, Max took a special liking to my son. When we told him this book was his favorite, he got down off of his chair, embraced Austin and said “God made a special hat for Ivan, and he has one for you too.” I can’t lie, I got all kinds of choked up. It’s a moment I’ll never forget.

Now back to last night. I grabbed a “Hat For Ivan”, crawled into my 8 year olds bed and began to read. The words flowed from my lips and went straight to my heart. A story about a loving father that creates hats specifically for each person. A story of hats that just didn’t fit. A story of Ivan struggling to find the hat that was best for him. Words like:

Ivan was surprised. Not disappointed. Not happy. Just surprised. He thought his hat would come from his father, the hat-maker. But, then again, maybe he was wrong. Besides, Ivan didn’t want to hurt his friend’s feelings.

Have you ever been there? Have you ever grabbed a “hat” believing it was the one for you only to find that it just didn’t fit? Ivan did. As I read these words, I think it hit me because I have been guilty of that too. As I read the words…

I was surprised.

Not disappointed.

Not happy.

Just surprised.

So where do you go? I couldn’t get to the end of this children’s book fast enough. What did Ivan do? What should I do?

I’m the hat-maker, Ivan. I have seen what happens when people wear hats they weren’t intended to wear. They feel silly. They fall down. They get tired.

Listen, son, just because someone gives you a hat, that doesn’t mean you are supposed to wear it. They mean well, but they don’t know you. That’s my job. I’m the hat-maker, and I’m your father.

There it was in black and white. A little story about a kid and his hat-making dad. Between the lines I read that I need to lean into my father for the hat that fits. Wearing hats that I’ve grabbed I wasn’t intended for feel silly. I fall down and I get tired. How about you? Tired from wearing the wrong hats? Whatever your story trust that, as Max said, “God has a hat just for you.”

Just like he did for Ivan

Just like he does for Austin.

Just like he does for me.