Sometimes I am just blown away by the things my children do and say. I firmly believe that the God of the universe directs the hearts of my kids in the same way He does mine. He shapes them and calls them His own. Parents are involved in the process of raising children, of course, but if you examine your heart as I frequently do mine, I am no shining example of godliness and I struggle with sin and anger and ugliness with regularity.
Sometimes though, our children honor us anyway. It is hard to understand and I know my husband doesn't think he deserves this note from our oldest child, but I loved reading it. I love that she sees her Daddy with all his flaws and still honors and admires him anyway. I am glad he is a man worthy of the admiration of his children. I am very grateful for my husband.
This is what she told him on Father's Day.
"I had a really bad dream." He looked at me searchingly,
"Want to talk about it?"
He paused. "Come here, sweetie."
He hugged me, and then he prayed for me. Prayed that my dream would be gone, prayed that only pleasant thoughts would occupy my mind for the rest of the night, prayed for my health, my happiness, prayed that God would keep me safe, my faith strong, and my trust continual, both then and in the years to come. Afterwords, he stayed with me until I fell asleep.
That, my friends, is love.
If you talked to my Dad today, and heard him explain something, one of the first things out of his mouth would be that he is "not eloquent" and that words are not his strong point. By contrast, I am here to state that he always knew what to say when it counted. He has never failed at believing in our mother, in us and our abilities, and in his Savior. Surrendering our notions of control is a trial at the best of times, and he has been through a slough of trials and hardships in his life, but God never gave up on him, and he has come out stronger, tougher, gentler--yes, gentleness is strength--and more trusting than ever before. He has never failed at loving his wife or his children. We are his "why", we are the drive behind his coming home, we are the reason he loses sleep, the reason he leads, the reason he always has one watchful eye open, the reason his face lights up when we all come out to greet him. The Lord is his anchor, his fortress, his guiding light.
I write this because my father set an incredible earthly example for what a godly man should be. Now, he would be the first to tell you that he has not attained perfection. However, considering that he has been everything from a mentor, counselor, leader, provider, nurturer, protector, friend, and all the multi-faceted roles of a father, husband, and Christian all in one, I think that God has empowered him with a stellar lifelong resume! My father is my hero, the one I will and have always respected, not because I'm biased, but because he earned it.
How many girls can say that their father protected, loved, comforted, and advised them through thick and thin? How many can say that they ever heard "I love you" from their dad? How many can say that their father was always there for them, laughed with them, hugged them, told them he was proud of them, went out of his way to spend time with them, to support their efforts? I am as grateful as I could possibly be for my father, Mark Kessler, and I love him as deeply and as fiercely as a daughter can.
Happy Father's Day, Daddy--you make us proud to bear your last name!