Dad. A mere 3-letter word. But, oh the depth of meaning in it, the magnitude of weight it holds. Fathers. The figure of a father has touched all our lives, guaranteed. Negatively or positively, for good or bad - we are all influenced by our father: the presence of him in our life or the lack of his presence. Whether your dad was your beloved "daddy" who showed up for every dance recital and cheered on the sidelines of each soccer game, or if he was distant, absent, aloof...or altogether missing from your life... the idea of a father, at very least, impacts every aspect of who you are.
Just as the purpose of marriage is to picture Christ and the Church in a smaller image on this earth, fathers are placed by God in a family to lead, love, and shepherd the hearts of their children...just as God does for His people. Yet, just as marriage is sometimes marred by the horrors of divorce or perversion, fatherhood is also tainted by unfaithfulness, lack of leadership, or absence. Yet, there are good men who walk out fatherhood as best they can (with God's help) and strive to love and lead their children in a way that honor's the Lord - and in these precious ones, fatherhood can be such a beautiful picture of God's love for us.
Yesterday as we celebrated Father's Day, I couldn't help but be thankful for my earthly dad. The one who exemplifies the heart God for His children in such a sweet and incredible way. He is an example of God's love and care for me, and for that I am grateful and thankful. In the past few weeks, my family's had the chance to celebrate Dad in some special ways - not only observing the holiday of Father's Day last weekend, but the week before we celebrated Dad's completion of his doctorate degree from seminary. He is a Doctor of Divinity - after years and years of work and sacrifice. And I am over the moon proud!
As I've been thinking about my dad and how he has loved me for so many years, I thought about how his love is a mirror and a picture of God's. Not everyone has the privilege of a dad who is like mine, and I know I am really lucky. But even if you don't have a dad in your life or he just hasn't been there for you, I want you to know something: you have the most amazing Father there is.
I've been thinking about God as Father. Oftentimes, we view God as impersonal, distant, or even sternly looking down on us from Heaven with a concerned and harsh demeanor. Yet, that is so far from the truth. He loves us. Man, does He love us. And he tells us in Scripture that He loves us as a Father. Like a proud daddy who loves his little girl and would lay down his life to protect her. That's how He loves you. And I am infinitely thankful for an earthly father who has made it easy for me to understand how God loves me as a father.
I think of how my dad has been there with me through thick and thin. How he has walked with me through hard times, seasons when I've strayed and fallen, through changes, through the good and the bad. He's shown me God's love, not by just telling me about it - but in the most convincing way possible - by living it.
He showed who God is by...
..How he loves my mom, his wife, so well and with such a servant's heart.
..How he worked for over 20 years on his education and recently completed it with such faithfulness (I am over-the-moon proud of him!)
I've always been a "Daddy's Girl." When I was little, my dad was my hero - and he still is. In times of heartache, he's loved me unconditionally - just like God holds us when we sink into the depths of despair. And in times of joy, he is always there cheering along with me.
I look up to him so much.
The other day, I found my first-ever prayer journal. At the age of 12 years old I started praying for my future husband for the first time. In scribbled, misspelled letters I made my first list of what I prayed for in "my man." I smiled as I read through the desires of a 12-year-old's heart, and stopped when I noticed #2. Right after "Be a pastor/Christin" (guess I forgot the "a" there...) And above, "Gotta love kids" (at the time I planned to have at least 10 and adopt 2) and "support me in my singing career" (I was just 110% sure I would be the next Amy Grant), I wrote,
He loves you.
PS - I created a little video documenting Dad's graduation last weekend, enjoy!