It was my 18th birthday and I was in California spending a week or so with my dad and Ruthann when it happened. I removed the wrapping paper, opened the box to see a small box wrapped with Mickey Mouse paper, bound with a small red ribbon and bow... the very small matching tag read: I love you. It was the first time those words had come to me from my dad... he didn't say it, didn't even write it himself, but it was the greatest treasure he'd ever given me.... I still have the box in my armoire. Several months beforehand I was fed up! For more than a decade we'd played this awkward dance at the end of our phone conversations, you know, that time when normal people would say, 'Love you, talk to you soon.' So I decided in a moment of reckless abandon that I was going to say that to my dad before hanging up the phone... Needless to say it rocked his world quite a bit, he didn't quite know what to say (I admit, without shame, that I experienced much pleasure at his discomfort). He has since grown quite comfortable using those three little words...
Quite a while ago I was counseling with a pastor who was going on a cruise with his wife, daughter and son-in-law. (His SIL is a musician and was performing on the cruise.) During our conversation, he expressed with much love and emotion that what he was most looking forward to was the opportunity to dance with his daughter. I was a little taken aback at the deep emotion that came with that statement from him, and I wondered if his daughter took for granted the love of her dad, or if she realized the great gift she'd been given. You see, he loves his daughter truly, sacrificially- it mirrors the love our Heavenly Father has for His children. It's a love I've not known from my own dad, but only known from my Father in Heaven. (Remember, I'm not talking about my dear mother here, just my dad.)
The Lord still has a lot - A LOT - of work to do in me, but I've learned that my worth is not in doing or saying all the right things; that my goal in life is not working to please man, but glorifying my Father in Heaven; that I'm good enough for people to like me for who I am- who God created me to be, and not for what I can 'do' for them. Do you see a pattern here?
Through the years, the Lord has allowed me to see my dad for who/what he is: not so much as my 'Daddy', but as a man who needs a Saviour... my fervent prayer is that the Lord would bring into his and Ruthann's lives strong walking-the-walk Christians... that he would gain salvation through the grace and mercy of our Holy God...
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