This Father’s Heart

fathers-heart-imageIt burst out of him spontaneously. He literally couldn’t help himself.

When our oldest grandson, Gabe, was little and something really good happened to him, he would look up with an ecstatic smile and squeal, “Happy birthday to me!”

It made no difference that it wasn’t even close to his birthday, he could think of no better way to celebrate good stuff than to have a personal birthday party.

My three children are grown with families of their own. They have gifted me with the three loves of their lives and seven joys straight from heaven who call me PawPaw.

There are so many moments each day that I think of them, smile and shout to myself, “Happy Father’s Day to me!”

No matter if its June or December, this Father’s heart is so often overflowing it prompts a personal Father’s Day party.

When I watch my oldest son, Nathan…

  • light up inside as he splashes with all his boys in his beloved ocean
  • strum his guitar to the mesmerized gaze of his mini-me
  • challenge these energetic fellas to a cannonball contest at the pool
  • endlessly bait hooks as they attempt to catch the big one from the dock

In these moments, he comes to life to show the world the creative, curious and colorful man God placed inside that sun-tanned skin.

Happy Father’s Day to me!

When I see my middle son, Caleb…

  • brushing the seemingly endless strands of black and blond hair
  • cooking yet another feast for the endless appetites of his three beauties
  • tickling his newest into squeals of delight as he squeaks out “taco, taco!”
  • reveling in the pink everything that he said he would never have in his house

In these moments, he opens his vulnerable heart to show the world the compassionate, committed and caring man God placed inside that fit frame.

Happy Father’s Day to me!

And as I gaze in awe at my newly-married daughter, Lauren…

  • dreaming of a life that makes an impact and leaves an imprint
  • changing her lifestyle, building a career and chasing a calling
  • exploring new things, taking real chances and facing down fears
  • loving her man, living her community and laughing through it all

In these moments, she unveils a beautiful heart to show the world the courageous, confident and cheerful woman God placed inside that beautiful creature.

Happy Father’s Day to me!

You see, nothing makes this Father’s heart so full and happy as watching my children live beyond my failures as a father to become intensely and intimately connected with life.

  • Seeing them excel in relationship, even through the massive struggles of broken hearts, shattered dreams and past mistakes is healing to this Father’s heart.
  • Experiencing their struggles and triumphs as they seek to find the authentic expressions of their truest selves inspires this Father’s heart.
  • Facing their failures and watching them get up and try again–and again and again if necessary–to live with purpose and meaning moves this Father’s heart.
  • Enjoying their joy in goals accomplished and dreams come true as they travel the unsettling journey toward destiny excites this Father’s heart.
  • Grieving with them at the losses they endure and the pains they experience as they engage the realities of our fractured world breaks this Father’s heart

It is no different with our eternal Father. He delights when we realize and revel in His love for us.

“The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’” (Romans 8:15)

In point of fact, that is why Jesus came…to show us what the Father was really like.

Then He deposited in us the ability to experience and embrace His love at the deepest levels of our being.

“But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba, Father.’” (Galatians 4:4-6)

As an earthly father, I tried. More often than not, I failed. Some of those father failures were epic.

Each of these precious souls I call my children bear some scars from the deficiencies of a father who himself was fathered insufficiently. It is astonishing the pain passed through generations by flawed paternity.

But it does seem the Father of us all uses our earthly father’s failures to build desire, hunger, passion and longing in our souls so that we will seek to know Him who is truly, “Our Father”.

Today, this Father’s heart is full of hope because of the strength I see in my children; full of joy because of how they love me in spite of me; full of faith because of how they go at life with the best they have; full of compassion because I know that none of that is easy.

These children my beautiful wife gave me are the greatest reason I get up each day and strive to win battles, live better and love bigger. They give zest to my life, put a smile on my face, make me more determined to dream and fill me with every reason to never give up.

Happy Father’s Day to me!

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