It still feels surreal to buy a Father’s Day card. Considering I never bought one before I became a mom and you, a dad.
I was the same age as TJ when my daddy left. Five is young, but then again, it was old enough for me to remember the confusing emptiness of separation. I don’t think that pit-of-the-stomach feeling ever left me, even though my mind was strong enough to convince my heart. I didn’t need a dad, I said.
We married for love and not to simply procreate, yet we stepped out in faith and became parents. From the moment TJ — and later CJ — kicked in my tummy at night, tossing me and turning you, I began a journey I didn’t expect. Before our children ever saw or recognized you, I was already witnessing the love of a father.
You think of the details. You plan ahead. You quietly see what is needed and you research to make sure every rock is turned. When I’m worried, you hold me the way no one else could and listen until I’m spent. Then, we pray and you quietly whisper, “It’s going to be okay.”
Because of your gentle and loving ways as a father, that place inside me who got along fine without an earthly daddy longs for a Heavenly Father’s embrace. The more I see you father, the more I’ve come to realize what I’ve missed out on and what the boys need.
And it scares me sometimes. This needing.
What if something were to happen to you? What if I’m left here to parent alone?
As I stood at the card store earlier this week, scanning for the perfect card to get for Father’s Day, my heart was stabbed by the thought. It was that old, gnawing fear of sudden separation that has nothing to do with you, but with the past.
I turned to a woman silently browsing next to me. “These cards can really choke you up,” I commented with a heavy sigh.
As I showed her my card, she placed her hand on her heart and nodded. “Yes, they do.”
Her name was Charlene and she was a grandmother. As we spoke, she confided her husband’s health had not been doing well. Even in the face of uncertainty, her gentle husband encouraged her that together — trusting in God — they could face anything.
My Heavenly Daddy was speaking directly to me through this opportune friend. God was reminding me to keep trusting Him, as I continue to lean on you in this parenting journey.
Needing you is good thing. It’s a necessary part of being loved well, which you have done with our boys and with me.
As I turned to get in line at the checkout counter, I couldn’t wait to sign my card, to let you know how much I appreciate how you’ve put me and our family first above all else. Thank you for working hard, without sacrificing your soul. Instead, you’ve chosen to love deeply and prioritize the invisible and eternal work of fatherhood.
Happy Father’s Day.
Thank you Heavenly Daddy —
— For the fathers who have committed to the lifelong journey to love their children no matter the circumstance. Encourage them in this hidden work that calls for daily investment. Provide them with jobs for those seeking employment and strength to persevere when parenting gets tough.
— For the mothers who may find themselvesparenting single. Lift them up this weekend as they lean into You as daughters themselves. Give them the wisdom to comfort their children and joy to celebrate Your presence in their family. Assure them of your faithfulness to father their boys and girls beautifully and directly — just as you have so capably been fathering me.
— For men who walk with others as a father does. Make the connections and open the way to life-giving relationships to bless others through fatherly love and friendship. Bless the men who are taking people under their wing and giving themselves generously and selflessly, reflecting You.
— For those without a father like me. Draw us closer to you heart as Abba Father and surprise us with the joy of being totally Yours. Whom have we in heaven but you? There’s no one else who can love us the way you do. Free us to to walk through this life as a confident, well-loved child of an incredibly joyful Dad.
“Yet I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will take me into glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
~ Psalm 73:23-25a
What are your thoughts on Father’s Day?
This month’s series is “Shots of Encouragement”. Yes, I’m thinking of you — the ones always lifting others and keeping others in mind. Let’s encourage each other as we fill each other’s cup.
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Today’s Topic 6/16:
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