Yep, this is my dad and me, circa 1956. No doubt, I loved my Daddy, and still do. Even though I could dwell on the love and blessings I received from both of my parents, for now, I want to focus on Dad. Mom is definitely another blog! Dad was my problem solver, fixer of broken toys, and source of answers for all my questions. Believe you me, I had some very interesting and tough questions! He never lied to me, or made me feel I had asked a silly question, nor did he ever hedge around the truth. He was straight forward and unfazed by my questions. He wasn’t always able to come up with a solution or a ready answer. I know, because of work and other commitments in life, it wasn’t humanly possible for him to have always been there, but my memory testifies of his willingness and availability to help me every time I expressed a need, and after all, memories are like a library, with shelves for the realities of our past.
Not only was Dad my problem solver, he was, and still is, fun to be with. We have family videos of me running to jump into his arms, leaping in faith, knowing he would always catch me. Those videos also recorded Dad swinging me around and around in fast circles, my face full of assurance in the strength of his hold on me. He did this neat trick of mysteriously causing his wedding ring to disappear and then reappear in my ear. He was, and remains, a competitive card player, but with lots of humor. Whenever he faces the possibility of having a big loss during a card game, he is known to calmly declare to his opponent, “I got you just where I want you”.
He helped me through scores of homework assignments and those dreaded science fair projects with resourcefulness and enthusiasm. He taught me how to ride a bike (I remember seriously damaging an azalea bush in the process of learning to apply the bike’s brakes) and how to drive a car (fortunately I didn’t have to run into an azalea bush, or anything else, while learning about car brakes). My appreciation for reading books, beautiful scenery and music came through his influence. I loved listening to him whistle a tune from time to time during the day, and still appreciate his happy whistling, to this day. He loved to dance with Mom. He didn’t hesitate when it was time to sing. I will always associate Old Spice aftershave with a loving hug from my Dad.
The benefits I gained from being the daughter of this wonderful man are many. To name a few, by Dad’s example, I learned the importance of prayer, and matter of factually accepted the reality of conversation between God and His children. Dad continues to have an active prayer life at the age of 86. He studied and believed God’s word, encouraging me to do the same. He made me feel safe, protected and well cared for. I have never doubted that he loves and accepts me, even if I make a mistake or am not perfect. Trust and love have been easy to experience, and to give. The security Dad enforced around us gave chase to fears. I was taught to appreciate values like respect, honor, responsibility, dignity, consideration and generosity. Dad’s loyalty and devotion to Mom, and us kids, taught me about stable, loving family life. Dad loved talking about God and I still enjoy frequent conversations with him about God’s goodness. Whatever he said, I believed, because he never attempted to mislead me.
Bottom line, I first believed and trusted my Dad, and then as the Holy Spirit led, was able to easily believe and trust my Heavenly Father. Because Dad is a human father, he isn’t perfect, and mistakes were made, but he has accomplished, by the help of the Lord, the tasks assigned to him as a husband and father.
Along with Dad, I have studied examples of other good fathers, and I have observed these common traits:
- loves unconditionally
- guides and warns
- rebukes for corrections, but does not provoke to anger
- nourishes and supplies needs
- encourages and enables
- knows how to communicate with kindness, while being firm and consistent
- examples right living
- speaks with honestly and keeps promises
- joyful and hopeful
- spends time with family
Whether you enjoyed a good father-child relationship, and reaped the benefits, or you missed out, for whatever varied reasons there are, the Great Equalizer, Jesus Christ, levels the playing field among us. In the Kingdom of God, which Jesus made available to all willing to receive it, we are offered the privilege of adoption into the family of God, the blessing of becoming beloved sons and daughters of the King of Kings. He shows no favoritism. His love is offered freely to all, but must be received by trusting Him. He is worthy of trust because He is not a fickle God. What He says He is, is Who He is. There is no deception in His heart. His Word says He is good, and it is so. Some of us may have jumped into the blessings of this divine adoption more readily than others because a good father-child experience caused us to hear the call of the Holy Spirit more clearly. However, we all have the opportunity to experience that same wonderful relationship with our Heavenly Father, and to know a Father’s love that always seeks our best interest.
He calls to all, but many avoid, or are intimidated and fearful of a relationship with a father figure because of past pain. News headlines decry the abuse done within the church, in schools and homes, as leadership has corrupted God given authority by walking in a maligned image of a father figure. Some, because of a damaged perception of God refuse to seek Him. When we receive this gift of adoption, by accepting the salvation and Holy Spirit of Jesus, all that is damaged or missing is restored. God offers healing for crippled emotions caused by painful relationships.
Ephesians 1:3-6 (The Message)
How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He’s the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.
If you struggle with faith in an Invisible Father, seek His Word to discover the reality of Who He is, and the goodness of His Heart. It is revealed from Genesis to Revelation in His love letter called the Bible. Don’t rely on chopped up portions of scripture to guide your understanding and don’t settle for hearsay, half truths, misrepresentations or distortions of God’s character. His complete Word and His unrestricted Holy Spirit will guide you to the Truth, and will dispel any confusion.
My Heavenly Father has proven Himself over and over, year after year, decade after decade, to be my Forever Faithful Father. Memories of past encounters, and new daily experiences with Him, testify of His perfection. Life worth living is when we fully accept His love, and then through His love, experience the freedom to love fully.
connecting, with love