Welcome to Father's Day weekend. I'll be the first to admit I abhor Mother's Day, as unpopular as that is to say. It's too much. We as women are sensitive on a good day, but when the spotlight is placed on the most tender topic any of us have ever faced, emotions run high. Our little church has made the decision to celebrate ALL women on Mother's Day and ALL men on Father's Day. Families surely do not look the same as they did when these holidays were thought up long ago and while the intention was likely good and giving credit where credit is due is all well and good, we can skip a lot of unnecessary pain and angst by taking this route. (Or so we think. I'll keep you posted.)
Still - ready or not - Father's Day is coming. Luckily, my sweet husband is far more apt to focus on the happy than the sad, so he will happily take his day of celebration any way he can get it. In contrast to Mother's Day in our home, I know to be grateful that this holiday really does not hold the sting it could. My daddy was my hero growing up and my husband could not be a better father. Sunshine and roses over here this weekend.
Beneath the surface, deep into our stories, there's brokenness within these walls where fathers are concerned, too. Men who, by the world's standards, were to stand and deliver in the role of father for little ones we love, for one reason or another, have not. The same is true for my sweet man who has proudly stepped into that role there in the void their absence has created. In every way that matters, Matt has become daddy to every single one of these kids, no matter whose womb they came from. It's a beautiful thing to watch my man love each of the ones entrusted us with a gentle, intentional, fun-loving, compassionate love and to watch them enjoy and love him back.
Their father's biggest concern, any day of the week, is that they will sell themselves short.
My children are blessed with a father who looks past their insecurities, shortcomings, hormones, and doubts and sees exactly what they are made of. He knows who they are, inside and out. He pours everything he has into making sure they are equipped, positioned, and without excuse for reaching their highest potential. I have held to these children until my fingers have bled while he has sat back and watched them blossom and become precisely who God made them to be. He never stresses or fears, never allows external circumstances to steal his peace or lessen his determination to see these little ones fly high from this nest one day.
"If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him?"
I am not exaggerating any part of that description about my husband as a father, but I will be the first (and perhaps most qualified) to tell you he is a flawed man and falls short as often as he gets it right. But if Matt can love his kids like that, how much more does our God love us? How much better does our Creator know us? Matt's as active a father as they come, but as the mama to those kids, I'll tell you there's a whole lot he missed in the making of them! (Amen?) Before any of us were formed in the womb, the Lord knew us and set us apart, appointed us for good works. God Almighty Himself formed those inward parts in the depths of the earth where no man's eye can see. He alone knows the story behind every detail of His creation. No one knows us better than He knows us.
The last six weeks in my classroom were grueling. Everything in my flesh wanted to stay, to hold onto what I knew with both hands, but God was working in such huge, mighty ways, there was no denying what I was really supposed to do. It looked crazy though and it came out of nowhere, so I really fretted over how I would be perceived. I care so much about the opinion of others and fret over stepping on toes or rocking the boats of folks I love. Still, the call was clear. I left myself notes everywhere reminding me of truths. I'm not sure where this particular one came from, but it was stuck to my desk until the day I walked away from it for the last time. Just reading those words allowed my pulse to slow down a bit, my breath to come a bit easier. It really didn't matter what anyone else thought if the One who knew me best had promised good for me.
He wasn't about to let me sell myself short.
Do you know you are the child of a Father like that?
It doesn't really matter who your daddy is either. As believers, you and I are blessed with a father who looks past our insecurities, shortcomings, hormones, and doubts and sees exactly what we are made of. He knows precisely who we are: inside and out. He pours everything He has (and, y'all, everything is His!) into making sure we are equipped, positioned, and without excuse for reaching our highest potential. It's true for our kids if we have them, too. We can hold onto them until our fingers bleed, but their Father is watching their every move, ensuring they blossom and become precisely who He made them to be, in His perfect timing. He never stresses or fears, never allows external circumstances to steal His peace or lessen his determination to see all His little ones fly high from this earthly nest one day.
"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love."
Many years ago, Christian singer and songwriter Steven Curtis Chapman's daughter Maria was killed at their family home. In a horrific accident, his son had run over her with his vehicle. I read in an article that Chapman was asked to recall the words he spoke to his son as he was leaving the property to go to the hospital. "I really don't remember this," he said. "It was actually Dave - Uncle Dave that told me. He said, 'You rolled the window down and just, very loudly yelled really... with as much strength as you could muster and just said, 'Will Franklin, your father loves you!"
That story has stuck with me. That's exactly the kind of father we have friends. It doesn't matter what you've done, no matter how horrific or how it has broken His very heart, your Father is yelling to you, "_________, your father loves you!" Ponder that. Let that soak in.
Let that love alone define you. To believe anything less is to sell yourself short.
"For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, "Abba! Father!" The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs - heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him."
This Father's Day weekend, if your smile is bright but beneath the surface, deep into your story, there's brokenness within those walls where fathers are concerned, fret no more, my friend. When men who, by the world's standards, were supposed to stand and deliver in the role of father for you or for your little ones do not or cannot, you are absolutely not ever without a Father.
You are children of the Most High God, the King of Kings, the Prince of Peace. Walk with your heads held high and receive the inheritance that was bought for you on the cross. Then, and only then will you see your highest potential.
Never forget, not even for a moment: (Insert your name here), your Father loves you!