Reflections for Father’s Day

He quickly kisses his wife’s cheek, whispering, “I love you, beautiful.” And just as he is about to leave, his kids eagerly pull on his sleeve. “Daddy, can you please play with us a little longer? Dance with me, Daddy. Read to me, Daddy. Shoot hoops with me, Daddy.” And the “Daddy” requests continue…

“Come on — please?”

Begging won’t work — even though it makes Daddy’s heart melt. They’ve tried this countless times before but haven’t figured out that it doesn’t always work. They simply want more of his attention. Why? Because they love him like crazy and can’t seem to get enough. And you know what? He loves them too. But life gets crazy hectic. And sometimes there simply isn’t enough time to love back. Right?

“Sorry kids, I wish I could, it’s time to go to work now.”

Hours pass.

Finally, the garage door goes up. Anticipation is over. The children race to the door. “Daddy is home! Daddy is home!”

It’s been a long day. He’s exhausted (and so is Mom) — but they love their bundles of joy.

He kisses his wife on the cheek again.

She responds, “How did your day go, dear?”

“Busy!”

He attempts to give her his undivided attention and love her back. He wants to give her another hug, but the kids are lovingly challenging this endeavor. “How did your….”

Question interrupted.

He’s wanted by the kids again. She needs a break anyway.

As our children have gotten older… “Daddy” has turned into “Dad.”

“Hey Dad, Can I borrow your car? Hey Dad, wanna go out and get something for dinner? Wanna wrestle?”

Wrestling is not a good idea. Our sons may take him down. So much has changed since they came into this world and he got to count their ten little fingers and ten little toes.

But it’s been a long day at work and he wants to wrestle anyway. A little pushing and shoving is fun. Right? But our boys are over six feet tall now and BIG!

I stand back watching and gasping for air — but the smiles on my husband’s and our boy’s faces make me giggle.

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My husband’s filled these shoes for years. The soles are worn. The tie is tattered and a little old-fashioned. The camera’s out-dated but the memories captured are still amazing. His pen runs out of ink. But he’s thankful for the love notes and honey-do lists. Dollars are rolled up and tied with a rubber band. His credit card sometimes feels like it’s melting. By God’s grace, he’s doing his best. He wants to be a good dad.

The hurry, the scurry. The stress, the worry. Is this all? There has to be more to life than this. The house, the car, the status, the success… He often wonders. Am I focused on what really matters? Am I a good dad?

He’s a provider, a listener, a director, a coach, and a leader. He’s stayed up countless nights with our kids. Listening. Wrestling. Laughing. Advice giving. Sometimes stern. Always doing his best to be — God-fearing. He’s an amazing dad.

When he held our first child, she mesmerized him. Awestruck, he looked at the twinkle in her eyes, then thought, Now what? Twenty-five years later, he walked our daughter down the aisle, giving her away.

I’ll never forget the question he asked me that night. “Was I a good dad?”

“Yes, you were and still are. God taught you how to love and you know how to put Him first,” I whispered.

Every night he’s said a prayer for each of our three blessings. He still does today — because he knows simply striving to be “their hero” isn’t enough. It won’t work. Those shoes are impossible to fill anyhow.

Showing God’s love means more.

Our children are blessed to call my husband “Dad.” And he’s blessed to hear it.

But being a father isn’t always easy. Gratitude doesn’t always make itself known. And sometimes it hurts when he doesn’t feel it. A father loves to hear his children say, “Dad, I love you.” If he doesn’t hear it enough, inadequacy can fill his heart. When the void starts expanding, though, if he chooses to listen to his Heavenly Father say, “I love you child,” his heart will overflow with God’s love — again.

On a grander scale, I can only imagine how much it pains our Heavenly Father when we don’t love Him back or grasp how much He loves us. We don’t need to beg for His affection or tug on His shirt — He gives it freely. We simply need to follow Him.

“For God so loved the world, He sent and gave His one and only Son, that everyone who believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16). His love and compassion are unmatched. Now, that’s one amazing Fatherly love.

So for every father out there, know this. In God’s presence you are always blessed. Always loved. Always forgiven. And always understood. You simply need to listen to your Heavenly Father say, “I love you, child.” And if you forget how much He loves you, ask Him to repeat it and you will hear Him say once again, “I love you, child.”

Ever wondered what it takes to be a strong and loving dad? One who equips his children to face the world with confidence, faith, integrity, trust, and strength? The legacy most dads want to pass down is quite admirable. But where do they draw their strength from? I think a father’s pillar of strength is found in authentic faith — real faith in our Heavenly Father, the One who instructs.

A good father…

Listens to His Heavenly Father. Repeatedly.

Humbles himself before God letting God make him stronger.

Recognizes that he isn’t perfectand unmistakably knows that when he stays in his Father’s grip, he is loved and forgiven. He chooses to do his best to honor, esteem, and follow God first.

Esteems his wife — showing his children how to love. “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself up for it.” (Ephesians 5:25).

Loves his children and points them in God’s direction, reminding them that they are always loved. Always embraced. Eternally forgiven and redeemed. “Whoever fears the LORD has a secure fortress, and for their children it will be a refuge.” (Proverbs 14:26); “As a father has compassion on His children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him…” (Psalm 103:13).

He ponders: I am not perfect at loving, but I know the One who loves perfectly. “Dear God, help me show my wife and children how much I adore them. I miss them throughout the chatter and busyness of my days. Life is hectic. The business meetings are long. Negotiations aren’t always simple. But I know You love me. Keep me in Your grip. On this Father’s Day, and every day, I will choose to honor and follow You, returning Your authentic love first. I will not settle for less. You are my amazing Father. You are my fortress. The legacy I hope to leave behind is that I followed your footsteps. You led the way. You showed me right from wrong. You never hid Your love from me. Sometimes I turned away, but You called me back. See, I did my best because I wanted to be a good dad. Thank you God, for Your unmerited favor and grace.” Amen.

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This is the man my children are blessed to call “Dad.” His hair is turning grey and he’s got wrinkles on his forehead, reminding us to be thankful for him and every day he is with us. He has and continues to teach us that God is our pillar of strength and Father who loves perfectly. And so today, we will appreciate him and above all thank our Heavenly Father for His love, provision, and eternal promise.

To all you fathers out there, Happy Father’s Day. To those who’ve lost your dad or never met him, I am so sorry. I am keeping you in prayer. Sons and daughters, love your dads. Wives, love your husbands, and mothers, love your sons. Today’s and tomorrow’s dads need our love and prayers.

Happy Father’s Day!

Helo