The three men in my life who speak the most of fatherhood are my dad, my father-in-law, and my husband. My father was raised by a single mom, and yet, he figured out this “dad-thing.” He learned how to help his three daughters know they were loved. He encouraged us to chase our dreams and to grow into the women God intended us to be, not the women he thought we should be. I’m sure this was tough, as we sometimes made choices that grated against what he thought was best for us!
My father-in-law passed away last September, but he was a supportive, encouraging man. He and my mother-in-law raised three sons to live with integrity and honor and to be men of valor. He had a big laugh, which helped me fit in better with my big laugh. And he had quiet ways of showing his love.
My husband is intentional about parenting each of our very different boys. I love watching him build relationships with them on their level, not according to his expectations. They laugh together. He speaks the hard truths when needed, and he’s learned how to listen.
That’s how God is with us. He knows us intimately, and he loves us passionately. But, He relates with us on our level. He seeks to draw us closer to Him, but He allows us to grow at our pace, not at His.
Perhaps that’s part of what Father-love looks like . . . loving a child where they are at, but hoping and encouraging them to become all they were designed to be. He gives us glimpses into the plans He has for us, and sometimes shows us the bigger picture. He knows these plans and uses the current situations in our lives to equip us for what’s coming.
I know not everyone has a good experience with their fathers. When an earthly father has not “fathered well,” it impacts our understanding of the amazing love of our heavenly Father. For some, it’s harder to view God as a “Father” because of the wounds an earthly father has inflicted. Faith becomes deliberate as we learn to trust Him to love us in healthy ways.
I’m thankful for God’s patience. Sometimes. I push to do more for Him, to serve Him in bigger ways. And other times, I resort to childish thinking because life feels too hard.
And yet, our Father is gracious. He doesn’t allow us to remain childish in our thinking, and He challenges us to go deeper in our understanding of Him.
There are times when He allows us to rest, because He knows that’s the most important action at that moment.
I’m thankful our heavenly Father loves us always . . . when we are walking well with Him and when we flounder. As we do with our sons, our Father walks with us—holds us accountable for the choices we make—but He always, always loves us. Just as we always love our children, but more deeply.
As we celebrate fathers this coming weekend, I hope you’ll honor someone who’s been a father in your life.
What about you? Who has been a father in your life? What’s your favorite aspect about God our Father?
I’m linking up with #TellHisStory and #RaRaLinkup
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