Being a Dad is one of the greatest treasures on this side of Heaven. While some days it is quite possibly the toughest job in the world – the reward – seeing little eyes look at you with total admiration – hearing a little voice say they want to be just like you – knowing that to them, at least for a period of their life, you are superman. I have been so blessed with 3 wonderful, beautiful, smart, creative, energetic, thoughtful children – now don’t get me wrong – they are siblings – they scream at each other, push each other, irritate each other… all the things that siblings do – I think mainly to help me grow.
A lot of you know my story – but I also recognize a lot of you don’t – but as I wrapped up Father’s Day 2015, I was taken back to Father’s Day 2005 – which was my first “official Father’s Day.” Lexi was 2 years old when Amy and I were married. While I was very nervous about how good of a husband I would be, I was equally as nervous about how good of a daddy I would be… As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, I was a seasoned bachelor when I got married – which also means I had experience in being self-centered. I don’t say that to slam myself – I just say it because for 13 years I had lived on my own and had no real responsibility other than taking care of myself. So marriage and fatherhood were a big change.
When Amy and I were dating, Lexi called me Glenn. Actually, she called me “No Genn” (I left out the “l” on purpose). I would come up and say something to her and she would half smile and half scowl and say, “No Genn”. My all-time favorite was when I asked her if I could take her for a walk in her stroller around Amy and Chris’s (Amy’s brother) apartment and her response was, and I quote, “No No Genn, Get out my face!” So, in other words, I had my work cut out for me…
When Amy and I were married, I said vows to Lexi as well – I vowed to love her as my own. I vowed to teach her to ride a bike. I vowed to scare away the monsters from underneath her bed. I vowed to be her daddy.
Now, we never instructed Lexi on what to call me. There was an evolution. I went from Genn, to Daddy Genn, to just plain Daddy – which filled my heart. I remember that first Father’s Day – she was so proud of the “prize” she had for me. She talked about it for at least a week leading up to Father’s Day. “I got a prize for you Daddy!” (To this day I don’t know if that meant surprise or prize, but I guess it doesn’t matter). On that Father’s Day morning, I was greeted with an overjoyed, almost 3 year-old girl, holding a home-made picture and a sand-filled bunny rabbit she had made at the zoo – it was the most beautiful present I had ever seen… In fact, I still have it on the shelf in my office to this day!
First father's Day gift
While this was a beautiful moment – a moment where I was embracing Fatherhood and she was embracing daughter-hood – I believe a more powerful, intimate, and life changing (at least for me) moment happened a few months after this.
One of my greatest privileges throughout the years has been to put our kids to bed. The routine is to talk with them, read to them, pray with/for them, then sing their own customized original song (composed by Amy and I) – this started with Lexi. Lexi has always been a bit of a strong-willed girl, which although a great characteristic, can also be a challenging characteristic. A strong-willed 3 year old that doesn’t want to go to bed can create a lot of noise and commotion. Many times, when I was putting Lexi to bed, Amy would come in a rescue me if things weren’t going so hot. But on one particular night I determined no matter how much she resisted, Daddy was going to get her to sleep. I literally remember it like it was yesterday. We talked a bit. Then I read a Winnie-the Pooh story book. Then I sang a Winnie-the-Pooh song. Then I told her it was time for nite-nite and I rocked her and sang her song to her… she wanted no part of it. She was mad, she was scared, she was hungry, she was thirsty, she “not-tired”, all the things a 3-year-old can come up with at bedtime… but I kept singing, and kept rocking. She screamed for Amy – but I just kept rocking and kept singing “daddy Loves you – you are beautiful – you’re my little girl” – basically just whatever words were coming to my mind… after what seemed like 2 hours (in reality, it was probably 15-20 minutes) she fell asleep in my arms… it was peaceful and beautiful…
So – why is this “story” more powerful and intimate to me than maybe even my first Father’s Day card/gift? I truly believe with all my heart, that while she had been calling me Daddy for quite a while – this was the first moment she truly allowed me to BE Daddy – she fought and she squirmed – she screamed and she yelled – then finally, she rested, relaxed, calmed down, let me stroke her hair and sing impromptu love songs, and went to sleep… and it was a defining moment – if not for her, then definitely for me.
Now here’s the deal – I understand full well all the similarities in family life and how it relates to our relationship with God. The Bible speaks numerous times to the correlation of family relationships and how they relate to God. Husband and Wife. Children and parents. It’s all there.
Romans 8:15 So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”
Abba Father can be translated as “Daddy.” And what a beautiful picture. So many times, I picture myself as the little unconsolable child… screaming, fighting, complaining, resisting… all while my Heavenly Father is rocking me, singing impromptu love songs over me, calming me down, just waiting for me to TRUST His embrace – waiting for me to not just call Him Daddy – but let Him be Daddy – and there’s a difference. We can call Him daddy when things are going smooth – when we have our little tokens (Bunny rabbits and cards) that we proudly give to Him – and He loves them – I truly believe He does… to this day, my favorite gifts are the ones from the heart…. Even yesterday’s “treasure” filled my heart with joy
Father's Day 2015 Moms Day 2015 Family Pic Sitting 2014
But – I know a more intimate and powerful joy and peace comes, not just when we call Him Daddy – but we let Him be Daddy – which is exactly Who He wants to be!
Happy Father’s Day!
May God continue to be your treasure (Matthew 13:44-46)