I’m no expert on absent father’s, that’s not my story nor is it mine to tell. My father pretty much wins all the father awards. Faithful, kind, loving, true, hard-working, fun, smart, handsome and encouraging describe my dad. He isn’t perfect, but boy does my Dad look a lot like Jesus. I have no idea what it looks like to grow up without a father much less without a good father. But you know what I do know? I know that there is nothing I have done to earn the father I have. He is a gift. I honestly don’t know why God gave me such wonderful parents.
Today I got to talk to a young man in his twenties who never knew his Father and never will because the father died when the young man was 6. I asked him if he ever had another man who was like a father figure to him and he said, no, not until recently. This made my heart so sad. And the thoughts started rolling through my brain about all the things he and many others have likely missed out on. No jumping off Dad’s shoulders in the pool, No Dad jokes, No protective Dad hugs, No wise counsel from Dad, No opportunities to learn how to build something with Dad, No bedtime stories with Dad, No come go with me rides in Dad’s truck, No celebrating on Father’s day. It’s not fair. It totally stinks. I have a gift of seeing holes. I can come into a community or organization and after a bit of time find the hole that isn’t being filled. I saw a hole today with my friend and I want to fix it and I can’t. I’m a Mother. And I Mother everything. (Ask any of my students.) But my friend already has a good Mother. Father’s are unique and the absence of one in the life of a child or young person is significant. Does it mean they can’t be successful, hard-working, loving or kind? NO WAY! But wouldn’t it be great if they had someone they could count on to call if their car broke down while away from home at college? Or if they had a life decision they needed to talk through?
I’m grateful that not only has my father loved my sisters and I well, but he has always gone above and beyond to be a steady father figure for so many others over the years. I see my husband stepping up to invest in other young men which takes him away from our family time occasionally. Sometimes I get frustrated that I’m doing bedtime routine by myself or have extra plates to wash. Then I stop and remind myself that my goal is not to build my own kingdom. To reject the mindset of “as long as everything is going well for my little family then good.” The desire to build my own little family strong is not necessarily a bad one, but what does that accomplish if I ONLY focus on my family? Am I to just put my head down and look out only for my own interests? Heaven forbid! As a wife and mother I can be gracious to make space for my sweet husband to invest in others as well as his own, I can invite “others” in to become a part of our family rather than other. I am in no way advocating for my husband to forget about us for the sake of reaching out to others but rather putting to death my prideful arrogant heart that forgets that I’ve done nothing to deserve the good fathers I’ve been given. God gave me wonderful parents and while I enjoy the gift, the best way I know to honor God with a gift is to keep giving. I continually pray that we will open our eyes to see those around us and that we would welcome them into our families, to love and serve. There are children and young men & women who need encouragement and hope. It’s messy, inconvenient and so good. When there’s not a Father it takes a whole community to begin to fill in the holes. Let’s get to it church.
Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Romans 12:9-13.