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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day to Dad and Rusty!

I am overflowing with thankfulness today! The older I get, the more deeply I understand the blessing it is to have Godly parents. Don't get me wrong...God redeems families who are broken in every way, and every family is broken somehow. But by God's grace, I had a Dad who was an earthly picture of my heavenly Father to me. For many adults who still struggle to comprehend that God loves them, I do not. (I have plenty of other struggles, friends, so no boasting here!) I believe I have always felt loved by God because my Dad so beautifully loved me. He was patient with me. He pursued my heart. He invested in me spiritually. He lovingly corrected me. He encouraged me and always told me he was proud of me. He was not perfect, because no earthly Dad is. But he loved us with a love that only comes from the Father. In 1 John it says that if you don't know God, you don't really know love. The One True God is the One who loves through us, and He loved me fully through my Dad.
One of the things that now amazes me about my Dad is that he didn't have a Dad. His Dad was killed in the Korean War, and his mother died a few years later. He was raised by his grandparents. He grandmother was a believer, and God used her to bring him to faith. His grandfather...well, I don't know that much about him. He was called Pappy, and I know he loved my Dad, but drove a truck for a living. I know he had one arm, lost the other to war. He was not always around, from what I understand. In short, my Dad was not a great Dad because he had an example to follow. He didn't mimic what he knew, or look to a role model. He started from scratch, and asked the Lord to make him a Godly Dad to his five children. What an example of God's transforming love! It sure is nice to have a Godly role model, but it's not always the reality. I'm sure God used other Godly men in my Dad's life to teach him. But my Dad's story could have ended very differently. He had every reason to. I'm so thankful for God's hand on my Dad and the legacy that he has produced in the brevity of one generation. My Dad now has five adult children who know, love, and serve the Lord wholeheartedly. He has seventeen (Ella will make eighteen) grandchildren that are becoming the coolest kids ever! We can't wait to see what they are going to do for the Kingdom! Are Dads important? I sure think so.

It's a funny thing, but I married a man similar to my Dad is several ways. Servant hearted, to the core. My husband Rusty amazes me. It requires very little sleep, a whole lot of caffeine, and a ton of Advil to pull of what he does each day, but he makes it look easy. My husband is a Dad of four, almost five little people, family practice Doctor, and an elder/ pastor at our church. A typical day for him entails getting up in the wee hours. This week he was preparing a sermon. Rounding on his patients in the hospital. (That's where he is at the moment.) Then on to whatever breakfast meeting he has for that day; mentoring younger men, meeting with his accountability group, or having a weekly elder meeting. THEN, his actual work day starts at 8am. When he comes home from work, he jumps on the trampoline or wrestles with the kids. He eats dinner with us and then leads us in family worship. I'm exhausted thinking about it! But he also suffers from a rare arthritic condition, so he pops the Advil like crazy all day to ward off the joint stiffness all over. He doesn't complain, and it humbles me when I think about what I would be like in his place. (BIG complainer!) But most of all, he loves us with all He's got. He is so faithful in teaching and loving us! Like my Dad, he is investing in us spiritually on a daily basis, he is loving and affectionate, he has made us a top priority above all of those other things. He continues with the madness that is our life with JOY. I love this man so much! I am so proud of the Dad he is to our munchkins. He's not perfect. Again, no earthly Dad is. But he is more than I could have prayed for! Rusty, I hope you feel honored and loved today. I am so thankful for this journey we are on together. And this journey of parenthood is about to take us as far as Africa together! This calling you have as a father is a holy one, it's an adventure, and it's downright sanctifying. Thank you! We love you! We are overflowing with thankfulness to God for you today!

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