I just received word that my dad is headed to the ER with serious pain and unknown diagnosis. I am praying hard that Jesus spare and heal him because I want my dad around for many years to come. There is much more life to be lived for my dad as a husband, father, grandfather, uncle, brother and friend. God has been very gracious to my dad - it was just 2 years ago that He delivered Him from a lifelong battle with alcohol and brought him to a place of brokenness. Out of those ashes, God has worked a story of redemption in my dad that has impacted his marriage, his fathering and his legacy. I wanted to record some of my thoughts of gratitude to my Heavenly Father for my earthly father while they are fresh on my heart:
1. Thank you, Dad, for the many years of passionate support you have given to me as your daughter. You have always encouraged me in any endeavor I have undertaken. True, some of those undertakings were ones I needed to be protected from, but in your absence, I was protected by my Lord. You both demonstrated and allowed for a needed understanding that Jesus alone is my Fortress and my Rock.
2. Thank you, Dad, for allowing me to share with you the deep, dark, painful secrets of my heart and for holding me in my pain. Your tears were a healing wash of love over my heart. True, your willingness to listen and heartbreak over my story came later in my life than I would have desired - but they HAPPENED. I dreamed of that day for years and I am grateful to God that He broke through your sin and mine so that it was a longing fulfilled.
3. Thank you, Dad, for many memories of fun-filled, laughter-soaked moments with you leading the way. You will always be the consummate teaser and joke-teller; able to lighten the mood on the darkest of days. True, your teasing is ill-fitting and excessive at times, but your consistent willingness to state your love for me speaks volumes. You have never withheld words of love and affirmation - I choose to believe, even in the midst of your cajoling, that the depth of your love for your children is vast. Truer still, I have come to know the love of Jesus in deeper ways - His love for His children is infathomable.
4. Thank you, Dad, for loving my mom better each day. It gives me great joy and confidence, even as a grown woman, to know that my mommy is loved and protected and will not be abandoned by you. True, I have many a memory of you and Mom fighting over the years - worrying that the next fight may be the last. Thank you for persevering through the years filled with joy and trial so that God is now glorified through your marriage.
5. Thank you, Dad, for failing me at times so that out of sheer desperation, a deep desire for the arms of a father - I was driven into the arms of my Savior. I have no bitterness, not a shred of anger or unforgiveness in my heart for you. ONLY deep love and gratitude for the Daddy you have been to me over the years. Imperfect yet devoted, absent at times yet very present now - you are a picture of redemption and a tangible reminder of grace in my life. I RECOGNIZE Jesus in you now more than at any point in my life.
Please Father - heal my father so we can continue this beautiful story together.