I have been struck today (& this year) as I have considered Mother's Day & Father's Day, in my views of my own parents. It is easy as a child to view your parents are the overlords, and forget how truly remarkable they are.
At mother's day this year, Ann Voskamp wrote about giving the gift of memories. I absolutely loved the idea of sitting down, writing down a special memory of my mother, and thanking her for it. What better gift than to count one of the countless ways she has blessed me. I thought of how we would turn up the music really loud and dance in the window seats to our 80s christian rock songs. I thought of our station wagon, and the silly songs my mom would sing to us if we were hungry, "I'm so hungry, and starving, and wasting away!!" I remembered how she read to me & my siblings, and then I thought of how sweet her voice is when she reads to my sons. That same clear, steady voice. Constant, full, resonant, beautiful.
That was the memory I shared with her. Her voice, her sharing that gift- instilling a love of reading.
At Father's day this year, this morning we were in church & our pastor spoke about how our earthly fathers compare to the relationship of our heavenly father. Some of us cannot draw comparisons, only contrasts. But me, I am blessed. At first, it feels hard to think about, but when I take the attributes of God, and look for them in my Dad, it feels easy.
God is a loving Father, unconditionally. My Dad has loved me all of my days, whether I have deserved it or not. and I have disobeyed, tons!
God is ever present, omnipresent. My Dad has been in my life, all of my life. He has never left me. He has never forsaken me. I have taken it for granted- that he has always been there, available.
God gives good gifts. My Dad has given me many good gifts. I remember when he picked out some really beautiful gifts for me my last years at home. A jewelry box & a stereo cd player. My parents have given more extravagant gifts, and less, but those stick out to me. a memory of something specific my Dad chose special.
God is omnipotent. My Dad... isn't omnipotent. but he does know a lot. Don't tell him I said so. ;-) I remember listening to his sermons, and his always incorporated lots of historical elements, which I loved. My favorites always had the imagery of the real place - like when Jesus said the stones will cry out, I never knew they were tombstones till my Dad told me.
God is omniscient. My Dad, is not. But boy, my Dad has always been a powerful guy. Physically & in his presence, with a strong hand. I can definitely compare some of those attributes of God, his 'strong arm' with how my Dad's discipline. I know I was raised with a disciplined nature, and I am grateful for it.
God is the God of all comfort. Thinking about how God cares for us, has great compassion on us, and comforts us in our saddness. My Dad has showed me how to grieve, and how to carry others in their grief. What a remarkable characteristic.
Ok, my Dad is not perfect, no one is, no one can be. But it is easy to focus on what to criticize, and it's not our instinct to focus and celebrate what is good. My Dad has given me a real taste of God's love for me as a Father. I am so grateful to have my Dad in my life. I cannot be what I am today without him. He has given, and I have taken, received, and walked away without coming back to say thanks. But today, I hope it can be one of many times when I can celebrate all he has given.
I love you Dad. Thank you for being a loving Father to me, in many, innumerable ways. I'm sorry for getting lost on the way to&from Clemson orientation, and making you worry so much you drove the highway looking for me (there was a day when I didn't have navigation, I am better for it!). Thanks for always giving me another chance. Thanks for the way you love my sons so well- wrestle mania & teaching some boundaries. Disney world (conquered) & lots of BBQ dinners. I am blessed by the relationship they are forging.
Happy Father's Day to a really great dad, mine. :-) and a really great Papa too. What joy overwhelms my heart to recount the gifts given to me by my heavenly Father. amazing.