Father’s Day. Each year it rolls around, a reminder of all that was, all that should have been and wasn’t, and all that could have been.
My mind wanders in every direction. This is my twelfth Father’s Day since my dad passed away. Oddly, I think of him more now that he is gone, than I did most of his living years–the last two or three being the exception.
Just like Mother’s Day, we didn’t celebrate Father’s Day, growing up. Except for that early childhood stuff we did in school. And when I handed dad whatever gift I had made, or some little card, he’d accept it graciously.
He’d hold the item, especially if it was a card, and study it carefully. He was a perfectionist. A man who attended to great detail. Watching him write his name took patience for me. That’s how meticulous he was. Every letter was a piece of art, in his mind. And it was with the same attention that he studied a card.
At length, having absorbed every jot and tittle, he would look up, thoughtfully, and say, “Thank you very much”, always in Plautdietsch. And you could tell he meant it.
In those moments my little heart would skip a beat, and feel happy, and my feet wanted to skip too. But I held back those urges. At least until I was out of sight. And in those moments everything was right in my world. All the pain, trauma and dysfunction, instantly forgiven.
In contrast I have watched my husband be a daddy to our children for almost twenty years. His patience, love and compassion have taught me much about my Heavenly Father, and helped me accept and receive Him as such. Tim isn’t perfect. But then, who is. There are areas he struggles–particularly in communicating his heart and feelings. His actions say it all, as he lives what many say but never act on. We are truly blessed by his faithful representation of God’s grace and kindness. He loves his children, and their mom, with never a hint that we should be anyone other than who we are. In his heart, we are loved and accepted.
And that is what every child longs for: affirmation and acceptance. It’s in-born. We were created to have intimate relationship with God. No pain. No disappointment. No shame. No rejection.
That same love and acceptance was supposed to be ours in our earthly family too. But sin robbed us of that relationship with God, and brought tragedy and dysfunction into human relationships.
As a result we find ourselves struggling in the relationships that matter most. The ones that link most closely to our identity.
If you find yourself, this Father’s Day, in a difficult place as a daughter or son, you are not forgotten. I’m sorry for your grief and loss–no matter the reason for it, whether death or broken relationship, or distance geographically. I pray that redemption will come, sooner rather than later. And I pray that you will find your hope and your identity in your Heavenly Father.
And if you are a father, like mine, who has failed your sons and/or daughters, it isn’t too late to do your part in healing that relationship. My father tried and failed, many times, caught in a cycle of abuse. And it wasn’t until he came face to face with God’s love and grace–completely apart from religion–that his heart found peace. Only then did we enter into any kind of heart relationship, in the last two years of his life. But it wasn’t too late. I hold on to those memories, of talking and crying together in spite of many years of broken history.
This Father’s Day I am thankful for the memories of dad that remind me how much God loves His children. Amongst the memories of abuse and violence, these moments lie buried like diamonds, waiting to be discovered. And more than this, I thank God for Jesus, who has redeemed even the hard times.
But most of all I am thankful that God is my Heavenly Papa. That I can run to Him with anything, and He simply loves me. Whatever gift I bring Him, He accepts graciously, taking in every jot and tittle. And, having done so, He looks at me with love… and I know…
…I am His daughter, He is my Father.
© Trudy Metzger
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