We were watching videos a few nights ago from when my oldest was a baby…I couldn’t even remember most of what we were seeing. It seems like a lifetime ago. Who are those people? The guy and the girl doting on the infant? They can’t be us, right? I mean, in some ways, they don’t even exist anymore.
Fast forward to 2019 and I find myself a father of three. Two girls, one boy. 13, 10, and 7. Yes I have a teenager. No, I’m not prepared for it, but are you ever? Really? I know I wasn’t. Nor was I prepared for how fast time would fly by. I mean people always told me it would, but come now, it wouldn’t for me, right?
I hope I’m a good father to these kids. I hope to love and lead them well, despite my own sins and shortcomings. I hope they know how deeply I love them, but above all how God loves them deeper still. I hope they see my own need for Jesus, my own dependency on the Gospel, my own brokenness and realize their own need for Jesus, too.
When we moved out to Oklahoma a few years ago, one of the things the Holy Spirit kept impressing on my wife and I was this move wasn’t just about a job for me, and it wasn’t just about a new place to call home. Over and over it was made clear: this was for our kids. I don’t fully know what that means, but I know my heart swells when I think about it.
A week ago my Ruthie turned 13, and tomorrow morning she goes off to Youth Camp for a week. In another state. And no, I’m not ready for that either. And yet I am filled with joy and wonder right along with the fear and all the emotions. I’m amazed at the young lady she is becoming. I’m overjoyed at the talents I see coming to the surface in her, not to mention the personality. My daddy heart seizes up at her struggles and trials, but that’s all part of this parenting thing, isn’t it? The good and the bad…the ups and the downs…the joy and the pain.
Tonight I sat beside Ruthie in church and found myself praying for her and all the kids going away this week. Not just for all the parent stuff we all pray for…but that they would come away changed, filled, revived. That this wouldn’t just be a week of fun (though I do hope it is that!), but that it would be a week of the soil of their hearts being tilled and the seed of the Gospel putting down deep roots.
That’s not just my prayer this week, though it is front and center. That’s my prayer for my kids all the time. Because no matter how good a dad I am to them, no matter how I’m able to provide and be there for them, no matter what I do, the greatest thing I can ever do for them is point them to the love of their Heavenly Father given to them in Jesus.
And God willing, we have some fun along the way. Because being a dad is one of the absolutely greatest joys of my life.
Happy Father’s Day fellas.