I sit here on the eve of Father’s Day not sure what to think. Tomorrow marks the first time I will wake up on a Father’s Day without my earthly father here with me. My dad passed away this past January and since then life has been different. It’s been five months and I don’t think it ever gets easier, at least that is what I hear from people whose dad or mom has been gone for years. Part of me is wondering what my breaking point will be tomorrow. Will it be when I wake up? Seeing all the dads at church? During Pastor Dan’s sermon? Having dinner with my family ? Visiting my dad’s graveside? Maybe I won’t break, maybe I won’t shed a tear…
Some days I think about my dad a lot. Some days I’m emotional. Some days I forget he is gone. Some days it just does not seem real. Some days I realize it’s been a couple days since I thought of my dad. The latter is perhaps the biggest reality check. The thought that life is going on. When someone close to you passes away, part of you doesn’t want to let go. You don’t want to move on, but then you realize you have to. I know my dad and he was a person that would not want anyone to stop living just because he was gone. I honor my dad by moving forward, I honor him by continuing on the journey God has me on to bring Him (God) glory.
My dad was never the type who went around saying I love you or initiating hugs. He didn’t go around saying I’m proud of you, but I knew he was. I know my dad loved me. He wouldn’t always express it verbally, but he always wrote it. One particular day a few months back, I was feeling a little down and thinking of dad. Low and behold I run across a birthday card from the previous year with a message from my dad. When I originally read the card that birthday, I don’t think the words actually sunk in.
The words he wrote were: “God bless you pops, put your joy on every day like cologne. E-mail God your love from the fruit of your lips. Make Him your purpose of your day and you’ll never be off track. For as long as God sits on the throne, you can never be harmed and as far as I know He will always be on his throne forever. God bless you for God is now your father, I fathered you as long as I could, but had to give you back to God from where you came from so you could do your work. Remember it is not really your work personally that you do it is God’s work that He shares with you. It’s all about Him and never about us. If you never leave Him then you can never be taken by this short and shallow life. Live on. March on. Your Dad.”
When I read those words that day a few months after he passed, I was overwhelmed with tears and emotion. It was almost like my dad wrote that message for me knowing I wouldn’t “get it” until he was gone. The words were perfect for me at that moment it and just what I needed to hear. The Holy Spirit knew the perfect time for me to revisit those powerful words and advice my dad had left for me.
Today I know that even though my dad is gone, God has placed many men in my life who fulfill the role of a father. I’m blessed to be on a staff with Godly men who encourage me, unashamedly tell me I am loved, tell me they are proud of me and give me that needed hug. I have men in my life who model what it means to be a Godly husband and a Godly father. I have men in my life who challenge me when I need it, to keep me accountable when I get off track. But most of all I know I have my Heavenly Father who loves me and lets me know that daily.
Some of you reading may have also lost a father this year…last year…years ago. Maybe you have a father who left you at an early age or you never met your biological father. Maybe your father did not represent what fathers are supposed to be. If you find yourself in one of those situations, know that you are LOVED. My heart and my prayers go out to you, but I want to give you some words of hope.
If you know God and have a relationship with Him know that the Bible says “He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you” (Deut. 31:8). He is a good God! In James the Bible says “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights…” (James 1:17a). And in Romans 8:15 the Word says: “The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”
The God I know and serve is one who loves. He loves us and desires to be in relationship with us through Jesus Christ. And the relationship He desires with us is to be a Father. I pray that if you do not know Him that you come to know Him. I know since my dad has passed, I have come to know God the Father on a much more intimate level. Even though my earthly father has left, I have a Heavenly Father who will never leave…I hope you can find that comfort as well.
So…what to expect tomorrow, I don’t know. The thing I do know is that tears or no tears, I miss my dad. Tomorrow is just one of many father’s days to come I will miss him. One day, Lord willing I will have a new reason to celebrate father’s day when I am a father, I look forward to that day.
Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers, spiritual fathers, grandfathers, and father figures out there! You are appreciated and cherished!