For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” Romans 8:15 (NASB)
Since I wrote last month on womanhood and motherhood, I thought it only fair that this month I write about fatherhood. Of course, admittedly, the only knowledge I have about the subject is from seeing it modelled in my own father and in watching my ex-husband be a father to my children.
To be fair, I have to say that Wade (my ex-husband) was an excellent father. I could never have asked for a better one for my children. He was present at their births, and he was there for every important event in their lives thereafter. A pastor friend once said love to a child is spelled T-I-M-E. Wade always had time for his kids, whether it was throwing a ball in the backyard with Kevin, taking Kristina to ballet or piano practice, or playing laser tag with Kara. When Kara was dying, he even came up to Roanoke every weekend to care for her to relieve me for a couple of days.
I can’t honestly say the same about my dad. My dad loved me. I knew that. And we grew much closer when I was an adult than we’d ever been when I was a child. I thank Sandy, my step-mother for that mending. She changed my dad so much for the better. He was a much kinder, gentler, person after she came into his life. But such is the power of true love. My parents never really had that.
Part of the problem was that my dad worked so much and so hard when I was little. When he was at home, he was usually exhausted. And my parents tended to argue a lot. So what time we did spend together generally wasn’t that pleasant.
Wade also taught the kids the value of hard work. No one would ever say he was a slacker either. Even when he was at home, he was always into some kind of project. But he was also always willing to teach. Whether it was teaching painting or woodworking, he was willing to include his children in his activities. And he wanted to be a part of theirs.
My kids tell me they had a wonderful childhood. I’m so grateful for that. It certainly wasn’t because we had lots of money. We didn’t. We had very little for the first 12 years of Kristina’s life. When my kids say they had to walk a mile each way up and down the mountain to catch a school bus, they’re telling the absolute truth. And the only TV channel we could get was a PBS station from North Carolina.
Even so, we managed to give the girls ballet lessons, and Kevin was playing sports from the time he was four. Sometimes Wade would barter building stage sets and props to pay for whatever the girls needed, and he volunteered to help coach Kevin’s teams whenever needed.
But the best thing he ever modelled for them was worship. We were at the church every time the doors were open. He taught Sunday School and Vacation Bible School with me, prayed before every meal, and taught them God’s truth by word and example in every situation he faced.
For the record, I’d just like to say, “Thank you, Wade, for being such a wonderful father to my children.”
No human father is perfect. They all fail (just like mothers). But our Heavenly Father is perfect. Perfect love. Perfect justice. Perfect discipline. Perfect mercy. A friend said she had never realized the concept when she was younger that God loved her. That He wanted her to be His child. I think as a young child, that’s the one thing I did get. It’s what drew me to Him like a magnet. I was starving for love. And my church was the one place I felt loved. Thank You, Lord, for making me Your child.
Taboo Tuesday Question of the Day: Tell me about your father.