He called it ‘The Claw’. It was one of the most terrifying, exhilarating, and imaginative games of my childhood. The seemingly out-of-control clenched hand of my dads that suckkked ouuut brainsss and attacked little children was a favorite game of my brother and I as kids. Little did I understand that the man behind ‘The Claw’ had risen before sunrise and worked a long and laborious 12+ hours prior to wrestling with my brother and I. Surely he was beyond exhausted, but I would have never known. And after playing with us and spending time with my mom, he studied for his engineering degree he was working towards. I eagerly awaited his arrival from work each day and without fail, he came home, kissed my mom, changed clothes and invested time in us. We were always put first.
This is my dad. I hardly know how to write a blog about him in a way that accurately depicts how great he is. Those who are blessed to know him would agree without a doubt that he is a man that fears the Lord, loves and serves his wife, sacrifices for his family, and daily works towards making disciples of Christ.
I have not been the best daughter (huge understatement). I have failed my parents in more ways than I wish to admit but praise be to God that my sins and failures have been forgiven because of Christ’s redemptive work on the cross. My father’s salvation led to my own and I will forever be grateful to God for choosing to save my dad, for through his example and leading, I was able to recognize my own need for a Savior. My dad may not have known the Lord when we were young and ‘The Claw’ was a consistent part of our days together, but once God removed the scales from his eyes and saved him, he immediately began to work towards discipling my family to know Christ. On too many occasions, I have not taken his advice and chosen to go my own way, like a rebellious child not understanding that of all the men in the world, this man only wants my good. This man’s advice was intended for me to make God honoring decisions so that I might glorify Him with my life. Dad, for all of those times that I didn’t listen and disobeyed, I’m truly sorry. But, despite my wrong decisions often leading to heartbreak and brokenness, you have been there to love, lead, and guide me through some of my most difficult moments.
I will never forget one specific night of a family camping trip when I was a preteen. Everyone was there...cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents. It was evening and we were making s’mores and singing by the fire but due to crippling cramps, I had to stay lying down in our camper. Teary eyed and alone, I expected to spend the night separated from the fun and in pain. Dad came in and comforted me for a while but the pain was still too bad to join the family outside. He left and when he returned he was holding a grocery bag. He had left the campground, driven to a nearby store/gas station, and purchased air-activated heat wraps hoping that the heat would relieve my cramping enough to make it outside. Sure enough, it was exactly what I needed. Many of you reading this might think, ‘what a silly story’, and maybe it is. But, I constantly reflect on that night and recognize the depth of my dad’s love for me. I remember thinking that those were probably so expensive and that we weren’t anywhere near a store so he must have gone a long way to get them. I felt completely cherished and cared for. I have told this story to so many of my friends because it truly is a testament to how he loves and cares and serves. Thank you daddy for going out of your way to purchase potentially embarrassing feminine products so that I could enjoy s’mores with my cousins.
And then there was that time not that long ago...okay, like a few months ago that I locked myself out of my car at a gas station in the ghetto and had to call and wake you up. Without making me feel the least bit guilty, you brought my spare keys to me. And all the times I swear I smell or hear something not right in my car and you believe me and look at it. And all of our Atlanta trips talking about theology and evangelism, worshipping together, and listening to The Screwtape Letters. Or that time as a child in Ohio, when I was terribly sick and up all night vomiting. You stayed up the entire night reading the book of Job to me, teaching me about God and His word. Or times that I’ve been sick as an adult and you’ve literally carried me between my bedroom and the bathroom. Then there were the times that I can’t even wrap my mind around...where you’ve received phone calls that no parent wishes to get. And how you immediately turned to the Lord in prayer in those moments, knowing that He holds my life in his hands and that He is sovereign over each of those events.
You have always been there. You have encouraged my independence and growth as a woman while simultaneously reminding me of my utter dependence on the Lord. You have affirmed me, guided me, taught me, and cared for me. I could never repay you for that. Of all of the memories I can draw from, the best thing you’ve done for me is love the Lord. Your role as a father has beautifully painted a picture of how the Lord loves his children...as a Father. So few people are able to say that they’ve experienced or even seen a glimpse of that kind of love. I’m blessed to say that I have experienced it every day of my life. Oh what unmerited grace I have received.
On this Father’s Day, when men around the world are being recognized for being a dad, I honor you. Not just for being a father, because anyone can do that, but for all the ways you have exceeded expectations, living a life of godliness, an example of devotion and diligence to God, loving your wife, and always living a life above reproach. I love you daddy. With all my heart.
Happy Father’s Day to the greatest man I know.