You don’t know this yet, but you have the very best dad ever. You know this to the extent that you can know as a (nearly) 6 month old. You know enough to smile brightly when he walks through the door. You understand enough to follow him with your big brown eyes every where he goes. You get it to the extent that you laugh and squeal when he lies down on the floor and plays and tickles you. Even to the extent that you smile and close your eyes and snuggle into his chest when he sings you to sleep, you understand that he is something special.
As you grow older, you will learn to appreciate these moments all the more. You will also grow in thankfulness of your dad’s amazing character. His wisdom will counsel you through many years of decisions. His kindness will be your constant safe place of love and warmth. His readily available hugs will be your comfort through scraped knees and broken hearts. By following his leadership, you will always be able to trust that you are headed in the right direction. His grace will always be there to wipe away your tears of shame and guilt. His discipline, though unpleasant in the moment, will be for your good. And believe it or not, one day, you will thank him for it.
Your dad is a good man, yes. He is strong and kind and moral and loving. But he is more than that because he is a man who knows that the end of himself is actually the beginning. He knows that in his weakness, God is strong. He knows that his prayers for you are more powerful than any advice he could give. He believes that his failures and limitations are opportunities for him to teach you that though he is imperfect, you have a Father in heaven who is perfect. He knows and believes that his love for you, though so deep and rich and great, is no match for your heavenly Father’s love for you. This is what transforms him from good to great.
Your dad learned these things from his dad. Your Grandad is also an amazing man. And boy, does he love you! He loves it when you visit. He holds you and snuggles you and prays for you and shows you all the fun lights at the lake house. He rocks you and tells you about all the fun things you will do together on the lake when you are older. He is a man of few words, but words you don’t want to miss. He is a man of wisdom and excellence. He is hard-working and generous. He is a man who loves fully. He is a man who has the kind of character and relationship with Jesus that enabled him to be able to tell his sons – Imitate me as I imitate Christ. And now, because of this, your dad can tell you to imitate him as he imitates Christ. This legacy of discipleship is rare and God has chosen you to be the recipient of this beautiful gift.
I pray a lot for your relationship with your dad. It’s uniquely important to me because of the relationship I had with my dad. Your Paw-Paw passed away before you could meet him, but I will tell you lots of stories about your Paw-Paw…how funny he was, how kind he was, how he loved to read, how he loved a good party with homemade ice cream, and most of all, how much he loved Jesus and told every one he met that Jesus loved them too. He was a man who banked on the promises of God. He was faithful and steadfast and humble. He was one of the greats. Your Paw-Paw and I had a very special relationship. Our relationship taught me so much about God. It taught me that just like I can’t earn God’s love or saving grace, I can’t and don’t have to work for his love. He loved me when I was good and when i was bad and he loved me when I obeyed and when I disobeyed. His love for me was steady, secure, and unconditional. I pray for you to have a relationship with your dad like I had with my dad.
Your dad loves you through and through. You don’t have to work for his love, you had it before you were even born. He knows how to love you like this, because this is how his Father loves him. And every thing he does is to show you and teach you more about who God is.
I am excited to see how your relationship with your dad develops and changes over time. I look forward to the day you can tell him how much you love him in your own words. Always remember this – your dad loves you very much and he wants to give you the very best. But think about this – if your dad, who is flawed, wants to give you good gifts, how much more does your Father in heaven, who is the definition of love, want to give you good things? I pray your relationship with your dad will be unique and special and will always point you to an even better, all-satisfying, redeeming relationship with your Father in heaven.