Today’s word is an excerpt from my most recently released book “Inspirations from the Funny Farm.” The book includes a variety of true life stories and experiences from the farm as well as some family traditions and memories. I felt that today was a good day to share this. HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!
So many things have changed over the years. I think one thing that has changed that has made the biggest impact on our country is family structure. Everything about family structure has changed. Couples are divorcing in record number. Kids are being raised by single moms, single dads, and even same sex couples. Many kids today don’t recognize great parenting because they have never experienced it. I know that divorce happens, and I am not looking down on anyone that has been through a divorce. My parents divorced when I was 11 years old, and my first marriage ended in divorce. But I am one of the fortunate children of divorced parents. My daddy is an awesome Christian father, and he took his charge as daddy very seriously.
My daddy had all daughters. I was the tomboy of the bunch, and I loved doing all the things tomboys did. I have so many fond memories of my childhood that include my daddy. He was strict, but we knew that his strictness evolved from the love and concern he had for his children. He brought us to church the very first Sunday after we were born and pretty much every time the doors were open after that. We knew that Christ was important to him, and this knowledge and his faithfulness helped to build the foundation for us as we learned the ways of the Lord.
Daddy worked as a policeman when we were kids. I loved to spend time with him and thought of him as my own personal superhero. Daddy let me ride along with him in the patrol car many a night. Poplarville, MS, is a very small town, and there wasn’t a great deal of crime going on back then. He always kept things interesting though. We shot turtles off the city sewer treatment pond. We shined a spotlight at the streetlights to make them go dark. We spent many hours just sitting at the courthouse in the Sheriff’s office. I watched my daddy as he handled tough scenarios with grace and ease. Yes, he was and still is my hero.
After my parents divorced, Daddy was sad for a long while. Yet, he never waivered from being the strong Christian daddy that we knew him to be. Mama was a fighter. I loved her dearly, but facts are facts. She loved to pick fights with Daddy. The one thing that stands out most about my Daddy is that he never once fought back. He never spoke ill of my mother to us. He never argued with her in front of us. He always turned the other cheek and carried on. Though he had been through the fire, his character was never singed. This, my friends, is the kind of daddy that our society is sorely lacking. I praise God every day that he saw fit to make this wonderful man my daddy.
Jeff and I are both fortunate in this area. Jeff also has a wonderful father, and I am so lucky because he is now my father-in-law. We call Jeff’s dad Paw Paw JB. Jeff has told me some truly awesome stories of his childhood, and I know that he feels as blessed to have him for a dad as I do to have my own daddy. The first time I met Paw Paw JB, Jeff had warned me that Paw Paw probably wouldn’t like me. Yep, he actually told me that. He quickly followed that statement with, “but he’s gonna love you once he gets to know you. I promise.” Naturally, I was scared to death to meet him after that introduction. Jeff had invited me to go with his family to see the Christmas lights at Cassidy Park in Bogalusa. We stopped off at his parent’s house to pick up his mom, Nanny. Paw Paw had just come back home, and I quickly introduced myself to him. I stuck out my right hand to shake his hand. He had a bucket of worms in one hand. He kind of mumbled a hello and turned away. He did not shake my hand. I must admit, I was terrified of that man. Thankfully, that changed very quickly. As we got to know one another, I grew to love Paw Paw. He slowly let down that tough outer shell, and we got to know each other quite well.
For the first few years of our marriage, Jeff worked overseas a month at a time. Paw Paw would stop by on Saturday mornings and check in on me and our place. I would fix him a cup of coffee, and he slowly began to talk to me. He told me many stories from his youth. We discussed politics in depth, the problems of the world, and we developed a mutual respect for one another. He is 82 years old now, and he can still out work most people half his age. He has been a wonderful father to my husband through the years, and he is now a great grandfather.
Jeff and I have been truly blessed with great dads, and we know it. One of us is the product of divorce and the other is not. Two different men, two different pasts, two different career paths, but very much similar in the ways that they chose to lead their families. The difference between our dads and some other dads is that these men had strong Christian upbringings, and both became Christians themselves. They take their job as daddy very seriously. They love their family, children and grandchildren with their whole hearts, and they lead by example teaching those coming up behind them how to live a good life. We are very fortunate indeed. I realize that some of you may not have had the same good fortune to have dads like our dads but take heart. You have a Father who is even greater than the wonderful dads that we have. Our Father in heaven loves us more than we can even comprehend, and He wants a relationship with us. He doesn’t just want a Sunday morning relationship. He wants us to know Him as Daddy, Abba, Father. He knows our innermost thoughts and needs, and He desires that we come to Him for everything: the good, the bad, and the ugly. He desires a close relationship with his children. Just imagine seeing your daddy once a week for an hour or two and then not talking to him or seeing him or thinking about him for another week at which time you decided to give him another hour or two of your time. What kind of relationship would that be? Definitely not a very good one. But that is the type of relationship so many professing to be Christians have with Christ. They have a Sunday morning service relationship and that is it. Can you really know Christ that way? The answer is no. However, when we talk to Christ in the morning when we arise, before meals, all throughout the day, and then again before we slumber each night, we develop a strong relationship with our Father. We begin to know Him and rely on Him and seek Him. Then we truly become His children. We cannot do it all on our own, but with Him, we can do all things!
“I can do all things through Christ strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13
“A father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.” Psalm 103:13
“Start children off in the way they should go, and even when they are old, they will not turn from it. Psalm 22:6
“You are my hiding place, you will protect me from trouble, and surround me with songs of deliverance.” Psalm 32:78