Whoever fears/respects the Lord has a secure fortress,Proverbs 14:26
and for their children it will be a refuge.
It gave me great joy when some believers came and testified about your faithfulness to the truth, telling how you continue to walk in it. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.3 John 1:3-4
I wanted to write a little about Father’s Day and at the same time our son’s birthday (today). They are essentially one and the same, because Andrew made his spectacular debut (after two days of labor and a 5:00 AM ride to Piedmont Hospital) on Father’s Day back in 1982. I still regard that day as one of the pivotal, watershed moments of my life.
Then, two years later, Naomi Rebekah came along and wildly expanded my understanding of “the dad thing”, exploding onto the scene with her unique and irrepressible interpretation of what it means to be alive.
The following couple of decades completely redefined our world. When Rebekah and I drove to the hospital on Father’s Day 1982, we were two young adults still in the process of starting out. When we walked back into our apartment the next day, we were an expression of “family” that was brand new and previously unimagined!
Parenthood may have been something Rebekah and I anticipated and welcomed – but it is also something we could never have predicted or planned for; it may have been what we prayed for, but we had no possible idea of really knowing! I can’t thank my children enough.
The four generational view of Fatherhood struck me as a powerful reality yesterday: Reading Naomi’s perfect Father’s Day card in the morning; my visit with the family patriarch in the afternoon – a 94-year-old and a 66-year-old in my Dad’s Day photo; video-chatting with Andrew and Mr. T. over in Bahrain; Ninety-four; sixty-six; forty; three. Father’s Day in glorious juxtaposition.
It was great to see Naomi’s beautiful family in Miami. I enjoyed a wonderful conversation with Andrew and the suddenly talkative Mr. T. It was also a good visit with dad, out on the porch basking in the rare gift of a 78-degree late June afternoon.
Loving and Equipping:
I realize now that being a father is more about teaching and equipping than it is constantly taking care of. Back in Pensacola – when Rebekah and I led the huge young-family class at Trinity – we talked a lot about loving our children to the extent that we equipped them with the tools necessary to leave, to live faithful lives, and to be change-agents in this broken world. Twenty years of preparation; a lifetime of reward.
As a father I am so proud that our children – Naomi and Andrew – have in turn become leaders in the ongoing work of redemption, light, grace, mercy, encouragement, and hope.
Looking at my dad – as he is sometimes barely able to grasp hold of today – I can tell him that he started a faithful work that has blessed literally thousands of people on three continents.
To date my dad has one grandson and four great-grandsons. Who knows how many amazing Father’s Day stories will emerge in the years to come?
Grateful for all of it – DEREK
Here are some Dad’s Day pics: