HAPPY FATHERS DAY!
For some particular reason, Father’s Day 2017 has been very heavy and emotional for me. Perhaps because it’s my 28th year and a lot of things are coming full circle, but my heart is hurting for those who don’t have a father to celebrate today, including myself.
I stand, joining the millions of fatherless children, men and women out there who had an absent father or who have a scorned view of fathers. For those of you hurting, I will never know your unique experience, but I can identify with the loss and pain of a fatherless home, and I’m sorry. No matter how much you may want to fight it, dads are important and are needed in our lives. A lack of dad physically, emotionally and/or spiritually has a significant effect.
While I didn’t grow up with a Dad, the Lord has given me glimpses of fatherhood through different people and situations. These are moments I treasure very dearly. Because I’ve been hurt in the past, I like to keep these types of treasured times very near and dear to my heart, often never sharing them with others. However, I feel I need to present a couple of precious memories from my heart for the encouragement of others out there who may be hurting today. Here is a story or two of my three dads.
I don’t have many memories of my bio-Dad. If you don’t know, my father wasn’t around when I was a kid and he passed away when I was 11. I don’t have bad memories, but I don’t have many good ones either. However, today as I was reflecting, I remembered a rare occasion when my father taught me a life lesson. The lesson at Golden Corral.
For one of my dads birthdays, he took me out to Sunday Brunch at Golden Corral. At the time I had to have been like 7 or 8 and I was still figuring out how to live my life (no one told me “figuring out life” would keep going for 20 years). I digress.
So I got my food and we sat down to eat. I had picked out a fork, a spoon and a knife. I would use my spoon for anything that needed scooping and I would use my fork for anything that would need poking. After a few minutes of this, my father looked at me and said “You don’t have to use all of them… just use your fork.”
Just use my fork?
To eat…EVERYTHING? So, I put down my spoon and gave it a shot! I used my fork to eat all the scoopable AND pokeable things on my plate. And you know what? It was soooo much easier! In that moment I remember thinking remember this!
Remember not just the using fork thing (albeit very helpful) but I remember distinctly thinking remember your father teaching you this. As I type this out, I think this was Holy Spirit speaking to me in that moment. I didn’t know this would be one of the few memories I would have of my dad before his passing away and I didn’t know how important it was that I remember this moment until now. As small and minute as eating utensils may be… this is a cherished moment I had with my bio-dad. This is a memory that I cling to and am thankful for.
My father, Larry, loved me enough to take me out to his favorite place on his birthday and he taught me something I could use for the rest of my life. What a precious day and moment with him. Almost every time I use a fork, I think about him.
I could share a million stories about my mom raising me as single mom. I know a lot of times she feels like she missed out on a lot because she was always working or going to school. But while growing up was tough, witnessing my mom “handle her bizness” has given me a culmination of extremely treasured moments. Seeing her pursue her degree and career taught me to work hard and never give up on accomplishing your dreams. I witnessed my mother work full time and go to school full time all while being a mom to me. What strength and independence to see as a little girl ultimately bringing into womanhood.
My mother, Michele, loved me enough that she continuously puts herself aside for my betterment. My mother provided for me. My mother protected me. My mom sacrificed and gave her all just to make sure I had a good life, education and experience. She taught me about my culture and how to love those deemed as unlovable in our society. But most importantly when I look back… my mom prayed. Even when she was at the end of her rope, I was on her mind and she surrendered me to the only One who loves me more than she does. She always stood in the gap for me whether physically, emotionally or spiritually and I am truly in awe of her strength, courage and wisdom. How lucky, nay…how loved am I?
This all leads me to my perfect Father in Heaven, who lead me to write this whole thing.
I have a lot of issues. Don’t judge me?!
More specifically, I suffer from the 3P’s: people pleasing and perfectionism ((And not the type you’re thinking of, for I will not do drugs out of peer pressure and my apartment is a hott mess right now! Back off, bro!))
The thing is, I find myself yearning to be accepted and never feeling like I’m good enough. When one finds themselves thinking those types of thoughts, one can find oneself in very sticky situations. But I can say without a shadow of a doubt that it has only been my Father God who has protected me from…well, me and has carried me through the darkest times while freeing me from the thickest chains. And in every moment when He has rescued me, its with the message “I am your Father.”
And for awhile, it was hard for me to fully grasp what that meant. The weight, yet comfort of that truth is still hard to understand at times. But, the Lord, in His goodness, has revealed Himself so beautifully in moments, where I needed a father the most, as to how He is MY father.
When my heart was broken because of a failed relationship, friendship or disappointment, God was my shoulder to cry on, my comfort and my healer.
When I have been so unsure of who I am, what I’m supposed to do and where I am supposed to go, He has been my wisdom, guidance and director.
When I feel like nobody cares, no one understands and I’m all alone in this life, He has been my listening ear, my best friend and my companion.
When I have been so guilt ridden with shame and guilt for sins of my past or present, He has picked me up and cleaned me off, reminding me that He is my grace and I am forgiven.
And when I am weak, tired and feeling hopeless… He gives me strength to endure, reminding me that my hope lies solely in Him.
These are just tiny blips of examples out of gazillions that the Lord has shown me. I am overwhelmed by everything He has been to me. He has been beckoning me to Himself since He knitted me in my mothers womb with this message:
I am YOUR Father and no matter what– you are perfect and I am so proud of you!
My Heavenly Father loved me so much that He gave me the perfect message for a people pleasing, perfectionist. A message proclaiming a Perfect Father who loves me abundantly and delights in every fabric of my being; Who sent His own Son to die so He could be in relationship with me! What love is this?
Thank You, Lord for Your intentional, purposeful Fathering of me. For truly being the Father I needed and the best I could ever ask for.
So, in conclusion…
On this Father’s Day 2017, I encourage you to ask Holy Spirit to reveal the treasured moments when He has used others to show His love towards you, to teach you and stand in the gap for you. Some may seem small, but they are a miraculous gift given to you by the Lord, YOUR Father.
And to those of you who, like me, didn’t have the greatest dad around or those who had the GOAT for a father, to the single dads, single moms, and everything in between, remember this: your Father in Heaven loves you SO SO much he can’t even contain it! He has been there for every triumph, every tribulation, every let down and every milestone. And He values every precious moment spent with you. He is eager for you to experience His fatherhood first hand. Allow Him to pour out His everything onto you! There is nothing like it! As the song says He is a good, good Father and He only has good, good things for His beloved– and His beloved is you.
Until next time,
Father to the fatherless, defender of widows–this is God, whose dwelling is holy.
He is the Maker of heaven and earth,
the sea, and everything in them—
he remains faithful forever.
He upholds the cause of the oppressed
and gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets prisoners free,
the Lord gives sight to the blind,
the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down,
the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the foreigner
and sustains the fatherless and the widow,
but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.
The Lord reigns forever,
your God, O Zion, for all generations. Praise the Lord.