One of my fondest memories growing up was when my Dad would come home from work. The front door would open and there was a mad rush of tiny feet running to greet Dad. I adored him as every little girl should her father.
Dad spent many hours playing with us in our backyard. We had a play house that he built from scraps. He repaired a fort that we used until we moved.
He would jump on the trampoline with us all the time. We would play “crack the egg” or see how high he could get us to soar on it. It is truly miraculous that none of us ever broke bones because those were the days before trampolines had nets!
My dad is an avid bike rider and it was always a treat to go with him. I remember a big hill in a little Oklahoma town that I aspired to conquer by riding up it without ever having to stop. Dad could do it and I was determined to prove that I could too.
There were many things I wanted to do just like Dad. He was always the handy man. It seemed like there as nothing he couldn’t do or fix. He taught me how to do yard work, work with tools, and not to be afraid to get my hands dirty.
Dad taught me how to have a sense of humor. Mine is nothing compared to his, but I can appreciate a good laugh. During my senior year of high school, my parents were overseas and I came back to the US to live with my grandparents so I could begin the process of looking for a college. I wanted to try something new so I signed up for cheerleading (something my family laughs about to this day since it was so NOT me). I remember telling my parents about it in a letter and when Dad wrote back he asked, “Would you like me to send you a box of blonde dye?” His jokes are rarely politically correct!
Of the many qualities I admire in him, I respect his love for the Lord the most. He has shown me what it is to persevere in good and bad times. He does not have all the answers, but is always quick to direct us to the One who does. That is what I love most about my Dad. He never made himself a god to us. My dad loved his family enough to take a hard road that demanded the sacrifice of daily picking up a cross to follow Jesus no matter the cost. To this day, he runs the race with his eyes firmly fixed on the Prize.
Just as when I was a child, there is a huge part of me that wants to be like my Dad – to work hard in service to others, to find the humor in daily life, and to exercise faith in all things.
One summer, when I was of college age, I found myself in the midst of a full blown crisis. My parents were overseas and I was in the US. Unsure of what to do or where to go, I called home. Dad dropped everything to fly back to the States so he could counsel and love on his daughter. My dad was never one to verbalize his feelings as much as he showed us through action. I will never forget how loved I felt during that time in which I realized that nothing would ever make my Dad stop loving me.
Dad, thank you for taking the high road and for all of the work you and Mom did to lay the foundation in my life. God used your teachings and influence far beyond what you can realize in my life and those of my children. You introduced me to Jesus and are one of my “heroes of the faith.” Thank you for the humility you’ve shown in your life so that I can better comprehend what is to experience mercy, grace, sanctification, and victory through Jesus.
I am forever thankful that YOU are my Dad!