A phone call, that is nice. But it doesn't feel enough or even as if that is a "gift".
I could mention that my dad is the BEST DAD in the whole world. But everyone says that, and even though there is much truth in those words, what would make mine anymore different?
I have mentioned all of the cherish memories of my time with my dad I treasure. I know it never gets old for him, and how I love remembering them ... but I want this year to be something different.
I could dig out the pictures and make a memory video for him ... but I did that for Mom, how can I make my dad stand out?
What about a present to send? Truthfully I wouldn't know what to get. Whatever he may need, my mom gets him. I just get lost in the shopping isles, and nothing speaks to the depth of my love for my dad.
I go through this challenge every year. My heart is in the right place, but the action just doesn't back it up.
What surprises me about my dad is how great of a dad he is. Hear me out, making such a statement. I have heard the challenges and even pain that my dad went through as he grew up in his home, and enduring the dad he had. I see my dad as an overcomer. He not only chose not to be like his father, but take the role of father seriously and be the very dad he wanted. He didn't hear how proud his father was of him ... but Dad, I am very proud of you! He didn't have a father rooting him on in all his accomplishments ... but Dad, I am your biggest fan!
As I struggle this year of what to give you, praying about it. God gave me the very gift to give him. I receive devotions everyday. And this one took the feelings in my heart and put it on paper ... all I had to do was give it to you. So with everything in me, I give you these words and a huge hug over the many miles that separate us. Because of your love for me that you have shared with me, I am able to understand more of God's love. You are a big part of my testimony and why I have the faith I have today. Thank you Dad!
JUNE 13, 2014
Thank You, Dad
"A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling." Psalm 68:5 (NIV)
Moments after I stopped by my parents' house, my dad clutched his chest.
Knowing the hospital was close, my mom and I helped him to the car. I pressed hard on the gas pedal, keeping an eye on the man who reclined in the passenger seat as I raced toward the nearby emergency room.
The news was not good. Doctors said his heart was badly damaged, and open-heart surgery was the only option.
Doctors scheduled the procedure for the next day. Since I lived in another city, I drove home to gather my things before returning the next morning for a long stay.
The sun crept over the horizon as I drove westward to be with my parents during my dad's surgery. Visits were strictly limited, and my time with my dad was to be an hour before he would go in to the operating room.
When I arrived, a nurse informed me that my dad wasn't in his room.
I rushed up the stairs to the surgical floor waiting room. "They took him back a half hour ago, Suzie," my brother said. "It happened so quickly we just barely got to see him." I buried my head in my brother's chest and wept.
My dad was in surgery with his chest split open ... and I didn't get to say thank you.
Thank you for taking the place of our biological father who should have loved those tiny girls but for whatever reason didn't.
Thank you for taking two little girls who didn't have a father and making them your own.
Thank you for never seeing us in a different light than my brothers and sister who were born later.
Thank you for rejoicing that you won the prize another failed to claim.
When I was younger I didn't always appreciate this gift. I loved the man I called Dad, but often wondered about the other one. Did I look like him? Where was he? Did he think of me? What might it be like if I had my biological father in my life?
As an adult, and as a parent, I saw it differently. Being a dad isn't always tied to DNA.
One man was there at my conception, but another took the more difficult path. He went to work every day. He showed up at events. He disciplined and loved me, watched me graduate and marry. He took the name "Papaw" as he embraced my children.
I know not every woman who grew up without a biological father's love has this type of experience. But all of us can know the love of God as our heavenly Father.
Psalm 68:5 describes God as "a father to the fatherless." It's a theme woven throughout Scripture from beginning to end. Our God loves orphans and rescues the abandoned. This is a work close to His heart.
Later that evening, after Dad's surgery, I sat in the shadows with the rhythmic swish of the respirator the only sound in the room. I silently offered up gratitude.
First, because my dad had made it through the surgery.
Second, because this man partnered with God's heartbeat when he stepped in to love two little girls without a daddy.
I leaned over the bed and whispered the words I could no longer hold back: "Thank you, Dad."
And thank You, God, for loving me with a perfect Father's love.
Dear Lord, thank You for loving me as a Heavenly Father. Thank You for bringing people into my life who partnered with You in that love. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Happy Father's Day, DAD!
I truly love you so very much!