Sunday, June 21, 2015

Honoring Fathers

Yes, it is late, and yes I am still going to share a few thoughts about "Father's Day".  As a first thought, I am thankful that for the third year in a row, I am married to a wonderful man who is a godly father. Three years counting the first father's day our son was in the womb!-I think that is an important distinction to make, as our culture generally makes comments about "soon to be a mommy/daddy/parent" when expecting the first little one, as if the unborn child doesn't make you a mom and dad right now!  Your unborn child is just as much a child as children outside the womb. Location doesn't suddenly make you a "mom" or a "child".

With that being said, I praise God for my husband and the gentle and loving man he is toward our son and our unborn son.  There is nothing like it in this world to hear 2nd Samuel excitedly say "Daddy!" and for 1st Samuel to scoop him up in his arms and whisper "I love you".  But it is not just those moments, but the moments he changes diapers, puts him to bed at night, plays with him, feeds him, holds him, hugs him, reads books to him, reads the bible to him, prays with him, including him in household chores and projects, letting him "drive" the truck to toss out the trash in the dumpster, and yes, even lovingly correcting his disobedient behaviors.  It is in all those every day ordinary moments that show his love and affection for our son.  When he runs a fever from teething and daddy cradles him in his arms all night long just to make sure he is breathing and to give him sleep, even though daddy doesn't sleep well, being so concerned for his welfare. Those are what makes him such a gentle and loving daddy.  But the taking the time to train him up in the fear of the Lord, to have family devotions every night, to pray for his son, that is what makes him a godly daddy.  Even more than that, living out the fruits of the Spirit, loving our son in his helplessness, being patient at a young boy who is curious and wants to be just like daddy, finding the joy in having his son around, having an attitude of peace (not yelling or getting angry, or fighting with mommy), showing kindness toward him in including him in important daddy things (building, fixing, showing him how), goodness by the grace of God and Christ in him, and of course the gentleness I have mentioned before.  It is displaying Christ in his words and actions, having routines of daily bible study, singing praises, and praying to our Father in heaven, these are things that I am so grateful to see in my son's daddy.  I think the peace and gentleness are what I marvel at most, being so different than what I have known.  To have a household of Christ's peace, to not worry or cringe at harsh words, this is a joy unspeakable for me.  It is easy to honor a father such as my beloved Samuel.

And on top of that, I am grateful to Samuel's own father, who he is so like in many ways.  To have my son's grandfather to be a godly man that imitates Christ in his daily ordinary life, to see the way that love for Christ overflows into his love for his son and grandson, the tender care he shows to one so little, is such a blessing to a mother's heart.  Out of the few people he names, grandpa is one of them, "Dada" is the clear distinction from "Daddy". 2nd Samuel points to pictures excitedly and says "dada!", and when he sees bikes, he says "dada" because he knows grandpa has taken him on bike rides. It is easy to honor a father such as my father in law.

But what about those hard to honor?  This is something that has been a great struggle for me.  I find comfort in these verses:

Psalm 68:4-6 " Sing to God, sing praises to His name; Lift up a song for Him who rides through the deserts, Whose name is the LORD, and exult before Him. A father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows, Is God in His holy habitation. God makes a home for the lonely;"

Psalm 27:10 "When my father and my mother forsake me,Then the LORD will take care of me."

It does not matter whether we have good, bad, or absent fathers, what matters is what scripture teaches us and promises we can cling to.  God's word shows what good father's look like.

Colossians 3:24 "Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged."

Proverbs 22:6 "Train up a child in the way he should go,And when he is old he will not depart from it."

Deuteronomy 6:7 "You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up."

These are only a few examples, but how many treasures of wisdom does God's word have to say on the topic of fathers!  God revealing Himself as a father is very telling. What I am trying to convey is that father's are worth honoring.  All fathers.  Even if your situation seems impossible, even if you have no relationship with your father, even if you don't know your father, the role and calling of father is honorable.  All men who beget children may not be honorable, but the role of father is honorable.  We need God's word to teach men how to become honorable fathers, and this is only done by the Holy Spirit of God working in the hearts and lives of men who love Christ and His word, seeking to apply it humbly and faithfully to their lives.  Men who are not afraid to admit their sins, faults, and shortcomings, but to fall upon the mercy of God time and again, to believe in Christ and to trust that He really does make us new creatures, the old man having passed away.  Being a godly man doesn't mean you do everything right 100% of the time, it means relying upon Christ 100%, striving to be like Christ, to repent unto Christ.

I know God is sovereign and places each one of us in the families that he does, with the father's that he chose.  I am grateful for the good things my own father did do right, as well as the hard situations I have gone through.  Through the good and bad, God used and continues to use these things to sanctify, to humble me, and to make me more like Christ.  This doesn't mean everything is perfect, or pretty, or is how I want it to be, but it means I can trust in a God who loves me enough to test me, try me, to search my heart and see if there be any wicked way in me, and to lead me in the way everlasting.

And so today, I am not only grateful to my husband and the wonderful daddy he is and grows to be, but I am infinitely more grateful for my heavenly Father, who never fails me, never forsakes me, and is perfect and heals my heart of the hurts of the past. Oh how I love my Lord and Savior more with each passing day!!

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