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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Grateful to be a Father

I've not written in almost three weeks so today seems appropriate to get back into the groove. I'm contemplating the improbable blessing I have received in being a father. Few people deserve this less than myself, yet the Lord of my life has granted me the incredible privilege, blessing and responsibility to be the father of four of God's people made in His image.
Fatherhood has really helped me to better understand the character of God. When my first son was born I was about just of two years into my faith in Christ. I still struggled with the concept of unconditional love (I'm sure that isn't uncommon) mainly because I didn't seem to possess the capacity for giving the same type of love. Yet, the moment they put my newborn son in my arms I felt overwhelming love for this little person who could offer me nothing. Well, that is not completely true. He could give me poop, pee, and puke. He had nothing of value to offer me, yet I loved him completely.
When I think about it, I often haven't offered God much more than what my oldest could offer me in his infancy. Yet, despite this, God does love me unconditionally. He does not call me to perform and I don't have to beg for His attention. He is giving Himself completely to me and as I grow and mature my relationship deepens with Him.
That is the route my relationship with my children is like. Unlike God I come up short in my fathering. Yet, with God's grace, my efforts to love, to support, to encourage, and to simply be there, seem to overcome the shortcomings. Additionally, my love requires that I discipline, even punish, but also teach and train (sometimes to their chagrin) and I am starting to observe them seeking my advice and weighing it (this is still work in progress!).
God is also like this. While He remains our Lord, He desires (for us) a relationship in which there can be open communication. In that process we grow in our appreciation of Him and He returns blessing to our lives.
Another thing I've learned is that I must love each of my children equally, but I must love them differently. Whether you look at it through the lens of "love languages" or just the fact they have different personalities I have had to learn to "love" them according to how they receive love. They all have very different talents, interestes, and personalities and I have to take care to value those differences and not "cookie cutter" my fathering. I need to tailor my love to special design
God has used for each of them.
Isn't that what God does for us? He does treat us each differently, but never at the compromise of His character. He also has a desire to fulfill our passions, as long as they will not compromise our character! Isn't this what parenting is all about?
I am so grateful to be a Father. Not just because of the great kids I've been allowed to father, but because it has taught me more about God than anything else except God's Word. In fact, I think God has used fathering to be the application of His Word.
I hope you will seek out my Father. You will find constant wonderment in His love for you.

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