by Joy Martin, Set Me Free Ministries Co-founder
As I write this blog, we are preparing to celebrate Father's Day. It promises to be a fun weekend surrounded by family as I make an attempt to show all of the dads in my life how much I love and appreciate each of them. I have been pondering what kind of tribute to fathers I should write this year. Should it be something filled with humor or perhaps something more somber and reflective? I honestly don't know the answer to that yet. But what I do know is that I keep going back to memories of my own childhood.
I am lucky. I grew up in a loving home with an attentive father who made a point of being present in the lives of his children. I have countless joyful memories of my father when I was little–and countless more now that I'm not so little. I remember being in awe at his ability to make the traffic light change from red to green simply by counting down to zero and pointing. It wasn't until I began to drive on my own that I realized his secret. I remember his ability to convince me of just about anything, no matter how ridiculous it seemed, by simply saying the words, "Are you sure about that?" and then giving me just enough time to second-guess myself. I remember him speaking silly, made-up words and believing they actually meant something other than utter nonsense, although I never knew what. (Have you ever seen a gazortinhorn, an ishcabible, or a radfearthis?) I remember the twinge of sadness in his face when I asked him to stop calling me Jellybean in public because it embarrassed me, and I remember the joy it brought to him when I told him it was okay again. I remember him crying when we had to give up a puppy he'd just bought us, because he was just as heartbroken as we were. I remember the look of pride in his eyes the day I graduated from college. I remember the feel of his kiss on my forehead and glisten of the tears in his eyes as we shared the father-daughter dance on my wedding day.
I remember all of those things and more. And I can't help but smile.
And now, as a parent, I have the joy of watching my husband share in those types of memories with our own children. And I have the pleasure of seeing my dad as a grandpa. Yes, I am lucky.
I am lucky because I have been blessed with an amazing man as a father whom I am proud to call Daddy. I have been blessed with an incredible husband who is a wonderful dad to our children. I have been blessed with a father-in-law who treats me like his own, even when it means giving me a hard time. I have been blessed with three men who are the most loving, doting grandpas and great-grandpa I could imagine for my children.
But even more than that, I am blessed because I have a heavenly Father who calls me His own.
For some, reading this blog may make you long for something you didn’t have. For some, your earthly father abandoned you. For some, your earthly father was abusive. For some, your earthly father was simply emotionally absent. For some of you, the loss of your father is tearing you up. Father’s Day may be a difficult day for you.
But please remember, my friend, you are just as blessed. Because even if your earthly father has not lived up to your expectations, you too have a heavenly Father who longs to call you His own. Cry out to Abba Father and know that you are loved.
"Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!" (1 John 3:1)