Sunday, June 19, 2011

Three Fathers

Today is Father’s Day, and appropriately, I find myself thinking about my dad.  Dad is one of the most real people that I know.  He feels what he feels, he thinks what he thinks, he does what he does, and he doesn’t change who he is to fit into someone else’s little box.  He also has an infamous sense of humor (if you can call it that) that leaves most people moaning.  In fact, when Dad's humor is at it's best, the rest of the family wouldn't mind putting him in a little box.

Anyway, Dad doesn't worry too much about what other people think.  I'm pretty sure the only person that’s ever convinced Dad to change is Jesus, whom he loves with a passion.  Dad believes wholly in the Word of God, and holds its truths as the ultimate authority on everything.  He's taught me to judge anything that I hear or read in this world by Biblical standards, and has on more than one occasion redirected my thinking by directing me to the Word. 

My dad has been retired from teaching for several years now, but I honestly think he's busier now than he ever was.  God has gifted him with a servant's heart, and he gives freely of his time to others, both in our church and in our family.  My house is full of doors, windows, and moulding that he's willingly helped us put up.  Over the years, he's changed my tires (once during college in the wee hours of the morning while I wasn't even living at home), he's mowed my lawn, he's helped shingle our roof, he's fixed broken appliances, helped us move, rebuilt parts of our garage, and on and on and on.  Never once has he ever seemed put out at the thought of sacrificing a few hours...or a few days...of his time to help us.  I would love to be a servant like him someday.

The greatest quality that I admire in my dad is how he has continued to draw closer to God.  I've known and watched my dad for my entire life, first with the watchful, adoring eyes of a child, then with the critical eyes of a teen, and now with the appreciative eyes of an adult.  And I've noticed something.  My dad is not the same as he used to be.  Don't get me wrong, he's always been a good man, a good provider.  He's always been a busy, hard worker.  He's always been a believer.  But as he ages, his wisdom grows, and he's becoming more and more like Jesus.  That constant changing, molding and growing is the mark of a true follower of Christ, and it's what has made my dad truly inspiring to me.  

Inspiring is also a word that describes my husband, the father of my children.  I can't let the day go by without acknowledging what a wonderful father he has become.  We had a crash course in parenting, considering that five and a half years ago we had no children, and now we have five, but the good thing about being thrust into a sink or swim situation is that you learn to swim quickly.  And efficiently.  We've both got a lot to learn, and this parenting thing has been a wild ride so far, but I couldn't be more thrilled with my parenting partner.  He even does diapers.  Poopy ones.

My husband has risen to the challenge of providing for, caring for, teaching, disciplining, and leading a large family with varied needs, and has managed to stay almost entirely sane in the process.  At the same time, I've seen what used to be a baby faith grow and flourish as he's been pushed to his human limit.  The same pattern is emerging in my husband that I've witnessed in my dad's life...the ever-changing, ever-growing Christ-likeness that I so deeply admire.  I am incredibly blessed to have such a loving, Godly example for my children to follow.  A father whose faith will eventually lead them to their Heavenly Father, just as my father has done for me.

And then there is the Father of all fathers, the One that is worth celebrating always, and especially on Father's Day.  The One whose desire is to claim all humanity as His adopt us all into His family.

There are not words enough in the English language or any other to tell of the greatness of my Heavenly Father.  No sentence could be poetic enough, descriptive enough, or eloquent enough to capture the nature of my God, and so I come up embarrassingly short in my writing.  I can say only this:  I will be forever grateful that One as indescribably glorious as He, chose to sacrifice His son in my place...simply to save a wretch like me. 

I love you, Father.

I love you, my husband, the father of my children.

And I love you Dad.

Happy Father's Day.

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