Recently, while away on family vacation, the Lord gave me some special moments with my kids. On one particular day, it seemed that God gave me some moments with Haylee that reminded me of my Heavenly Father. All day long, I kept seeing Haylee’s longing for her own father as echo’s of each of our longings for our Heavenly Father, and I was reminded over and over of my desire to more like HIM! I fail too often!
When the day ended, I made a list of the “longings.” These are the things I see and hear my children desire or need from me. These are also the things I desire from my Father. He fulfills them perfectly. Me? Not so much, but what a GREAT role model I have! I think being a good father flows from the continual attempt to imitate God’s “fatherly heart” in our relationship with our own children.
Here’s the list:
Dad, Make Special Plans for Me—On this particular day, the kids were excited that we had planned to rent a boat and a see-doo. We had an awesome day of adventure on a beautiful lake. All three of my children hugged me and thanked me for planning the day. How our kids delight in the fact that Dad would actually make good plans for them!
I’m thankful that my Heavenly Father has planned more than a day—He has mapped out my whole life, and His plan is always good!
Dad, Protect Me When I Feel Vulnerable—Haylee wouldn’t ride the see-doo with me until I promised her that I wouldn’t scare her. (She knows that her brothers and I sometimes enjoy taunting her.) I promised her she could trust me. Riding the see-doo was a scary experience that made her her feel vulnerable and at risk. Things changed when she understood I would protect her on the journey.
How much more does my Heavenly Father assure me of His strong arms, marvelous grace, and loving care—no matter what I may face in life!
Dad, Help Me When I Am Afraid—Swimming in a lake and riding a see-doo were both scary adventures for Haylee. She prefers a nice clean swimming pool that doesn’t contain living things. Yet, early in the day, I felt that it was my responsibility, not to force her, but to help her face and overcome her fears. Together, we met those fears head-on and she soon discovered that they were unfounded. She soon understood that her fears were preventing her from enjoying much of what I had planned.
How thankful I am for a Heavenly Father who understands my fears and helps me face them and overcome them, that I might fully enjoy His plans for my life.
Dad, Be Strong Where I Am Weak—When we first started out on the see-doo together, I tried to let Haylee have the controls. She refused. Over a few moments though we negotiated. “You put your hands on the handle-bars, and you control the speed,” I said. “Ok…” she said, “but you steer for me, that’s my weakness!” That struck me— “Dad, you be strong where I am weak.”
I immediately thought of all of my debilitating weaknesses and human frailty, and I am grateful for a Heavenly Father who tells me that His strength is made perfect in weakness!
Dad, Watch Me and Cheer Me On—Within twenty minutes of being on that see-doo, Haylee experienced a total transformation! Soon enough, I was holding on for dear life and she took control of both speed and direction! Her fears subsided, she was suddenly screaming with joy over the wind and water, “Hey Dad, watch this!” For the rest of the day she was commanding my attention, asking me to delight in her accomplishment. And every time I let her see my great pleasure!
It reminded me again of my Heavenly Father who looks upon me with His favour, and showers me with thoughts of goodness and delight, in spite of myself.
Dad, Listen to Me When I Need to Talk—The day on the lake came to a close, the sun set, and I found myself sitting with Haylee on the back patio—just the two of us. She was radiant with memories of the wonderful day God had given to us. As we sat there under the stars, the night was quiet, and Haylee began to talk. And like any woman, she talked, and talked, and talked. And God seemed to say to me, “Just sit here and enjoy the sound of her voice…she’s growing up fast!”
Aren’t you thankful for a Heavenly Father who always listens to your voice, understands your heart’s cry, and who is never too busy or occupied to sit quietly with you as you pour out your heart?
Dad, Show Me Faithfulness and Consistency—Part of the evening conversation revolved around the start of school—Haylee is going into 6th grade this year. She’s looking forward to her new teacher and a new year of growing. In talking about the challenges ahead, she complimented her new teacher and the positive reports that her brothers have given. In this, she made a simple statement that jumped out at me: “I know I’m going to like this teacher because I know what to expect!” She was complimenting the consistent and steadfast personality of which she had been told.
It reminded me that our kids long to see us be consistent and faithful to the things that matter. They long to know “what to expect” and their world becomes unstable when we live or act inconsistently.
Aren’t you thankful for a Heavenly Father that is always the same?! With your Heavenly Father, you always know “what to expect!”
Dad, Tell Me About Yourself—The conversation also turned to my childhood. “Dad, tell me about your favorite teacher? Why was she your favorite?” All too often, one of Haylee’s “stay up later” strategies is to ask me to tell her a story about when I was a kid. I recalled all of my teachers and shared with her a few that were my favorites and why, and I was reminded again that our kids want to know us, to connect with us and relate with us in close and special ways.
I was also reminded of a Heavenly Father who gave me His living Word that I might know Him and relate to Him personally and closely every day!
Dad, Wait With Me When I Need to Pause—Finally, Haylee talked herself out and the conversation stopped—but not the togetherness. For some time we just sat there together, enjoying the evening breeze, looking at the stars, and being in each other’s presence. She wasn’t demanding anything of me, and I wasn’t demanding anything of her. We were just content being together.
I’m thankful for a Heavenly Father that loves me enough just to be there in my silence and remind me of His presence!
So there you go—stuff my daughter taught me about being a father, and reminded me of regarding my Heavenly Father.
As dads, we sure are blessed with an AMAZING role model! Maybe if I spend more time with Him, I can become, to some small degree, the kind of father that He is!