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Posts Tagged ‘#fathersday’

Charlie Mackesy

Father’s Day can be difficult to celebrate … what to get dad? how to celebrate one who may shy away from celebration? dad may live far away? he may no longer be alive? he may have never been in your life? he may have failed you in a myriad of ways?

Father’s Day can also be difficult to be the focus of celebration … how does a giver joyfully receive? how does the one who is often the other parent adjust to the focus of everyone’s attention? how does one navigate this day where there are no children to father? how does a dad spend this day who has buried his child? how does a man navigate a father’s day full of regrets? how does he endure a day when the phone doesn’t ring, the door doesn’t open?

Father’s Day can be difficult to celebrate …

The Bible says much about fathers, fatherhood, being sons and daughters. Yet, for those for whom this day is more of a struggle, there is one verse that I think speaks to the struggle of Father’s Day (1 John 3:1) :


See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.

For those who are the children who struggle with this day, I tell you that God is the father to the fatherless (physically, emotionally, spiritually). He is the good father, who will never leave. He sacrificed his best, his all for your eternity, both here in the is life, and the one to come. He will never let you down, he is always present.

For those who are dads who struggle with this day, God is your father too. He knows fatherly love, and sacrifice, and loss, and rejection. He knows the loneliness of the quiet of this day.

For all who struggle, whether as children or fathers, if we are children of the God of creation, if we have been given such love and grace from Him, may we bear his image in how we love and offer grace to those we call dad, son and daughter.

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He hasn’t been ‘daddy’ since I was quite young, but I will still always be a daddy’s girl.

He chose me … not really knowing who I would become, the choices I would make, or even if I would chose to love him back … that is father love that parallels the love offered to us all, through Christ, in our God.

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” 1 John 3:1

God, the father to all, the father to the fatherless (Psalm 68:5) will love us when there is an earthly absence of a father … of a good father. God is a father who loves with an unconditional love. He can fill the void that some feel on this day of celebration of the love of a father … the void of who we were because of a father’s love.

A few months ago I wrote of the grief of loss as not only that they are gone, but so is the part of you that was loved uniquely by them. It is the loss of a person, a relationship, a part of who you have always been … with them, in them, through their eyes.

I have always been his daughter … cared and sacrificed for, taught about life and living, chosen and loved as his own. It is hard to explain how it feels to have always known that you are so loved, to have been confident that there is no one and nothing that could ever change that love … not driving the car in the ditch, not even moving to the other side of the country.

Today I will feel it … the absence of it all … his presence, his voice, his acceptance, his unconditional, chosen love. The void leaves me aching with memories and missed opportunities.

Most of all, today I will miss who I was in his eyes, in his presence.

I was his daughter …

Though I am loved beautifully by my husband and kids, my mom and others who I hold dearly, today I remember, with thanks, the man who loved me enough to call me his own …

Today …

I ache for who I was in the eyes and heart of my dad …

every part of my life changed because of his love …

and every part of me is lonely for him, for my identity in and through him.

I am still just a dad’s girl and I miss him so.

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I am not a father. I do not know what it is like to be a father. That said, I think it must be tough to be a dad.

The biological part is, of course, the easiest.

The role of father has many expectations … spoken and presumed of, wordlessly.

Dads are expected to do everything a mom does, from earning a living, to changing diapers, to snuggles at bedtime, to helping with homework, to fixing the car, the meals and the owies. In all of that (and more), dads and moms are expected to do all that is needed to raise a little human into an independent and contributing member of society. This is good, as it is only right that both parties should invest equal effort to do such an important task as raising a real live human.

But, equality is not often reality. Sure there are some tasks (feeding, helping with homework, bandaging cuts and making a nut-free lactose-free gluten-free sandwich that either parent can manage, but not all parenting tasks are for both parents.

Our kids know that I am most definitely NOT the one to call if they have questions about phone plans, car insurance or their tire pressure. Sure I could Google it, but I just do not know, and do not care to know … because their dad has more interest, more knowledge and more experience in those areas of parenting.

They also know that their dad is the one who is most likely to order pizza, take them for Chinese or buy them a burger.

Both of us can offer a hug or sit and chat for hours, but I am more likely to initiate these … because that is how I am inclined to speak love to our kids. Whereas their dad is more likely to drop whatever he is doing to help them with whatever they request … because that is how he is inclined to speak love.

It is tough for dads, because, often, their love language is often not one of nurture (though it can be for some, as there are always exceptions). We, humanly, see love in a very narrow way … as affection … but love can be expressed in so many other ways, in so many other languages … we just need to tune our ears to the language that is being spoken.

In our world today there is so much negativity spoken about men, about the failures and weaknesses of men. Yet, there are also the good men, who have lived their lives as a service to others, to their kids.

The ones who take the place of one who only contributed biologically.

The ones who toss their kids in the air for the joyful giggles that follow.

The ones who race into the packed auditorium just to catch their child’s school performance.

The ones who tell dad jokes or the when I was a child stories.

The ones who take their kids to swimming, to football, to their friends houses, or pick them up late at night.

The ones who drop whatever they are doing to help their kids figure out their phone plan, their car insurance, to sell their vehicle, to figure out their bank account,

to order pizza …

To all those dads who do so much more for us than we often acknowledge … simply because we see love through a definition that does not include your unique expressions of love and commitment …

Thank-you … don’t give up!

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In our world today, fathers (men as a whole) are paying the price for those who have ruined the reputation, the name, father.

There are the deadbeat dads, the abusive dads and the physically present but emotionally distant dads whose actions, abuses and inactions can make dad a bad word. There has even been talk of no longer celebrating fathers with a special day on the calendar.

It is true that pretty much anything a father can do in raising a child, a mother can do too … as is true in reverse. So why celebrate fathers?

If no other reason, I think we should celebrate those who are active participants in the parenting process, rather than just talking about those who have failed or not shown up at all. To only discuss the failures is to create a wrong and negative view of all fathers. This damages, not just the ‘bad’ dads, but the societal view of all dads, of all men … and men are not the sole contributors of failure in parenting (let me tell you, I have blown it regularly).

The dads who have been committed to fathering, who have been strong enough to humbly ask forgiveness, who have changed diapers and tied shoes, who have laughed and cried, disciplined and praised, bandaged knees and braided hair, made breakfast and taken out for ice cream, taken to soccer and dance practise, yelled to get out of bed in the morning and tucked in at night with a prayer and a kiss on the forehead, those who have done the little things with great love, not perfection … these are the dads we celebrate.

What dads bring to the table is themselves, imperfect, loving and committed … and that is enough.

 

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good father

I do have a good father.

He has been one who has loved and been committed to me. His expressions of fatherly love have made my personal acceptance of God as my heavenly father easy and natural.

When my father proposed to my mother, he did so with one condition, that she allow him to adopt her two year old daughter (me) as his own. I actually think that it was always in the plan of my heavenly father, that my dad be … my dad, and that I be his daughter.


“See how very much our Father loves us,
for he calls us his children,
and that is what we are”
1 John 3:1a


Love is a choice. It was the choice of my father to love me, it has been my choice to love him. Blood relation does not change that reality, because love is always a choice, or it is not love, but obligation.

I think all of us reach point in our lives when we realize that loving others, loving our children, loving our parents, is a choice that is in our hands.

I remember reaching the developmental stage when I became aware of the faults and mistakes that my parents have made. The things said that stung. The time not given. The things that were important to me that were critiqued and rejected. But I also realized that they were, they are human (I might have come to that realization around the time that I became a parent). They have not done it all right. They did not always comfort me as I desired or needed, they did not always do things with me when I so wanted them to, they did not always say (or not say) what I needed. But, I know that when I look at the big picture (from our beginning to today) they chose to love me.

For many, Father’s Day is a tough day. We may have very valid reasons for feeling unloved, abused or unchosen, and for those who must keep apart from the earthly man who is your father. What I am saying does not apply to you, for your story is one of self preservation.

But, for most of us, it is a matter of choice, our choice, to love the men in our lives who have chosen to love us … imperfectly, humanly.

Happy Father’s Day, to my dad, who I choose to love.


“Yet to all who did receive him,
to those who believed in his name,
he gave the right to become children of God
children born not of natural descent,
nor of human decision or a husband’s will,
but born of God.

John 1:12-13


 

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