Saturday, June 17, 2017

Dads, Hold Open the Door

Baby Teresa holding my dad's hand as I take my first steps.
Happy Father's Day, dads! 
We pause today to celebrate you, to say thank you. Thank you for the sacrifices you make daily to lead and provide for your families. You are the first glimpse we have of the love of our Heavenly Father.
We need you. We mamas need you. As children of all ages, we need you. We need your strength, your playfulness, your work ethic, your guidance and wisdom, your discipline, your presence, and most of all, we need your godliness. You make us feel safe and secure as you seek God in everything you do. You make us feel loved.
We want you there in the delivery room when we're born. We want you to take us to church and teach us how to pray. We want you to play with us on the floor when we're babies. We want you to teach us how to catch a ball. And how to swim. And how to ride a bike. There when we're sick. We want you at our first T-ball game. We want you to hold our hand and walk with us on our first day of school. We want you to take us to father/son banquets and father/daughter dances. We want you to protect us from bullies. We want you to teach us how to drive. We want you to let us know when the influences from friends are not healthy. We want your counsel as we are making career choices. We want you there on our wedding day. At the birth of our children. Not only do we want these things, we need them. We will never stop needing YOU.
But what if we don't have the love of that kind of father?
Yes, that's a very hard question. I am aware that this day is especially hard - hard for single mamas who feel overwhelmed, hard for children who just want to have their dads in their lives no matter how imperfect he may be.
And I completely understand these feelings from experience. The adorable little picture at the top of this post of me as a baby with my dad is one of the only pictures I have of him. My dad helped teach me how to walk, but he was not there to teach me how to live. His addiction to alcohol robbed both him and me of a lifetime of memories, love and relationship. Because of that, I struggled when I was younger with trusting the love of a Heavenly Father. How did I know that He wasn't going to leave me also? Thankfully God's love has chased after me my entire life. He has never failed me. I have learned that I can trust God fully.
My children have also learned to trust in the love of their Heavenly Father in the absence of their father. God has loved them perfectly and has fathered them completely. God has also brought into the lives of each of my children wonderful, godly men who have served as mentors and role models. Especially for my sons. God provided exactly what each son needed at exactly the right time. And because of this, I am honored to say that my sons have grown into amazing men of God who have learned, and continue to learn, that God can be trusted. They love God, their wives, and their children. They work hard. They are faithful. I'm proud of them. I am forever grateful - to God, and to those men.
Two of my sons are married and both have very young families. I honor them today on this Father's Day. They love their wives completely and humbly seek God's guidance daily as they raise their children. They are striving to represent to their children the love of God so that these babies will never doubt their value or the "realness" of their Heavenly Father. They are giving their children the best possible start in life. Lives that will be whole and secure as they begin learning lifelong lessons of the nature of God. Lessons that also serve as reminders to us all.
They will understand from birth . . .
that God longs for relationship with them and that He is thrilled when they come to Him with all of their needs, for all of their lives, just as newborn babies.     
Jason and newborn Evan.

that they don't need to clean themselves up first and have everything perfect before coming to the Lord. He will help them. He just wants us to come to Him.
David and newborn Johnny after first bath.
that God loves them, and us, wholly and unconditionally and smothers us with love.
Kissing the face of perfection.

that our Heavenly Father is happy when we come close to Him; we don't have to be afraid. 
Snuggling with daddy - touching his face. Relationship is born.

that they see themselves in the faces of their children. In the same way, God smiles when He looks at them, and us.
Like father/like son. Love at first sight.

 that life can be fun!
Crazy love!
that they will not only teach their children how to drive, but they'll also be there to help them navigate through life.
It starts young!
 that they are perfect and beautiful and deserve only God's best.
First father/daughter dance.
that they are to respect authority, both God's and man's.
Oh, Johnny!
 And, most importantly . . .
that they will honor God first and always seek God in all things.
that they will pray with and for their wives,
Unashamedly praying privately and publicly.
that they will also pray for their children always, and take them to church from an early age.
Praying with the pastor.
 that when life gets too hard, they can rest in the arms of God. They will be safe.
Perfect picture of rest and peace.
Thankfully these babies never have to worry about daddy leaving them.
They say that chivalry is dead. Well, dads, let's bring it back. Little eyes are watching.
Monkey see, monkey do.
Dad's, please serve your families. I am writing from the perspective of a single mama who no longer needs daily help around the house, but who understands what moms really need and appreciate . . . help washing the dishes, and cleaning the floors, and changing the diapers, and playing with the children - whatever needs to be done. It speaks love to us.
Open the doors for your wife. Be chivalrous. Women are incredibly strong and capable. We can manage our homes as well as have successful careers.  We are more than capable of opening our own doors, and cooking our own meals, and cleaning our own homes, and paying our own bills, and raising our own children. And doing it on our own if necessary.  But that doesn't mean that we shouldOr that we want to. It's not God's way and certainly not His best. Children need both a mom and a dad . . . for all of their lives. Please don't let anything or anyone come before your family. Choose them first, last and always.
Dad's, as you are wholeheartedly serving your families and are modeling unconditional love to your children, you are opening the door for each of them to know God personally. And to trust Him. There is no greater reward.
And now, to all the single mamas out there - I know that today is one of the hardest days of the year for you. Whether single, or divorced, or widowed - whatever your circumstance, today reminds you of your pain and loss. What you don't have. It may be unbearable pain. Heart pain that you don't think will ever go away. I understand.
Please open the door of your heart to the love of your Heavenly Father.
Don't try to be both mom and dad - it's impossible. Just be mom. Lean in, look up, and hold on. Forgive. Pray. Trust. It will get better, I promise. I believe that God has carved out a very special place in His heart for single mamas and their children. He will hold you close and comfort you. He will protect you. He will provide for you and your children in ways that will leave you speechless. He will be a husband to the husbandless and a Father to the fatherless. He will love you personally. And He will help your children to know Him and to trust Him. God will meet the needs of your babies, toddlers, small children, and teenagers. As you keep the door of your heart open to the Lord, your children's hearts will also lean in to God and learn from Him. Trust me, you won't be disappointed. You will look back over the years and see the miracle-working ways He sustained you and provided for you - how he was a Father to your children. God will make beautiful pearls out of all the mess. He will turn the heartache into joy. Just like he did for me.
We will see that our children have grown into God-honoring, responsible adults. 
Lastly, if you are a child (of any age) and you have a dad who is absent from your life, again, I have the same encouragement for you. Keep open the door of your heart for God. Talk to Him about anything and everything. Take all your problems and emotions to Him. He understands your pain, sadness, emptiness and anger. He wants to heal you and provide everything you need. Trust Him. He will be tender with you. He cares for you. God is watching out for you and longs to have relationship with you. Thankfully, He is not distant - He is as close as your next prayer. He will never leave you or forsake you.
God is a perfect Father.
Thank you, Heavenly Father, for holding open the door for us to know you and spend eternity with you. We are forever grateful for Your love and tender kindness.
Thank you for joining me today as we celebrate dads of all ages. You are my heart.
All my love,
May The Lord bless you and protect you.
May The Lord smile on you and be gracious to you.
May The Lord show you His favor and give you His peace.
Happy Father's Day, Jason! 
Jason with Olivia and Evan.
 Happy Father's Day, David!
David with Johnny, Jovi and Jack


  1. Mom, as you pointed out, living life without a father physically around is one of the most unfortunate realities that too many young people have to face. In this situation, all the lessons presented by the journey of life are seemingly left to be navigated alone by these young people. In the middle of this most tragic reality for our family, you rose up with grace, class and wisdom as you laid out for your five children exactly the way our home was going to be run from that point forward. You explained how in the ideal family there is God, the dad and the mom and then all the kids. You shared that when dad stepped out of that role of physically being in our home, you would continue to be only mom and that we now had a completely perfect father that would never let us down. You ingrained in all of us the truth that as long as we remained obedient to Him (so many, many, many...MANY times His voice sounded like you) we would remain under the safety of His grace and we would be blessed. You made sure we knew the importance of having a "dad" over us. As a result, we were fathered by the greatest and most perfect dad anyone could ask for. Thank you for instilling in us the truth that we needed a dad in our lives; that we needed godly men who would serve as an example of what it meant to serve God first in our lives so we could emulate their behavior. Thank you for not trying to do it all! By pointing us to God you taught us everything! For the first time in so many years, Father's Day was a very joyous day for me. I love you and I'm so thankful for you! Your wisdom is for the ages and will make you a legend people of which many generations will speak!