I am blessed. Through the grace of God and absolutely no merit of my own, I had a terrific father. Perfect, no. We had our tiffs. But I always knew he loved me and wanted the best for me. Here are a few of my memories.
- Dad held me, his four-year-old, on his lap. The storm raged outside our living room window as, together, we watched the stunning pink and blue Northern Lights flit across the Manitoba sky. I was terrified, yet felt completely safe in my daddy’s arms. I have no idea what the rest of the family was doing but that memory will never leave me. I’ve been in life storms since where, but for the assurance that I was being held in my Savior’s care, I would have despaired.
- Dad’s 1000-watt grin and clear grey eyes often reflected his love, his pride and joy in life choices I made. When I was growing up he punished me (which evidently I deserved far more often than I thought) when I disobeyed. But Dad wouldn’t let me go until he explained the importance of obedience–to him and Mom, and more so, to Jesus; and until we hugged each other. And it had to be real, not a fake ‘let-me-out-of-here’ hug.
- Dad led our family in reading the Bible and praying together regularly, showing by example how important God’s Word was to our home.
- Sometimes Dad put me in my place. Once he told me I was getting very bossy. Had to consider that one!
- By his example, Dad helped me understand what it meant to have a man treat me with respect and kindness, and what it meant to be a lady. When I was a teenager Dad took me on dates where the two of us connected over cokes and conversation. I’ve been married to two wonderful men, clearly influenced by Dad’s influence.
In so many ways my father taught me how to live–with faith in Christ, integrity, respect.
Then, in his last month on earth, Dad taught me how to die. When a hospice social worker asked whether there was anyone he needed to make things right with, or if he desired any spiritual counsel, Dad responded: “I’ve tried to live my life in such a way that when there was a problem, I worked to make it right as quickly as possible; and I’m confident the God who has led me for 85 years will meet me on the other side.”
What if you didn’t have a good father, or were abandoned or orphaned early? Pastor Rene reminded us tonight that, no matter what kind of earthly father you had, we have a heavenly Father whose love is complete, who has promised He will never leave us.
Psalm 68:5-6 (NLT) says:
“Father to the fatherless, defender of widows—
this is God, whose dwelling is holy.
God places the lonely in families;
he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy.”
Happy Father’s Day, Dad!