Yesterday morning on the Today Show they had a segment on a special "Fathers and kids" football/sports camp that works at encouraging men as fathers and leaders and providing a time for some Father-child activities. All of a sudden I was tearing up watching the kids hugging their dads and tromping around playing with them and Sophia was looking at me so concernedly. I hugged her and told her that "I'm just happy to see those daddies with their little kids" and she broke out in a smile.
I grew up knowing I was loved and cared for by my mom, dad, and step dad and all the dear family that we were raised near. My parents divorced when I was 9 years old and my sister was 4yo. We saw my dad about 3 times a year, and talked to him about once a month. Our step dad came into our lives when I was 13 going on 14 and was very good in caring for us and being a steady character in our lives. I loved my step dad but the sense of easy affection was something that wasn't comfortable until I was in college and better appreciated the man he was (he just passed away this April). And my dad does love on us, but again the everyday sense of Fatherly affection was not something I was accustomed to. And this would seem to be a small matter until one weekend getaway in college.
I was a sophomore in college, and in our first weekend of Spring Break six of us from our Bible study group (we had met weekly for study since our first month of college the year before) decided to have a getaway at one of the girl's family ranch in Brenham, TX. The weather was great, we got along so well, and my friend's family was completely welcoming and friendly. We had been there the whole first afternoon when my friend's dad arrived from work to surprise his girl at our campsite in the pasture. He called her name as he approached our group, with his arms open wide and she jumped up and jogged over to him and they embraced. We all got up to meet him, yet I kept myself at the back of the group because I couldn't help that I was crying. I composed myself enough to politely greet him and then he gallantly showed us around the property. But I couldn't believe how overcome I became in that moment. How that greeting resounded with me.
We had a sweet time at the ranch with her family but I would get a catch in my throat when I thought of that moment. Around this time of my life I prayed for the hope I had in my heart of being married, and the blessing of children. And, I prayed for the Father my possible future husband would be and the mother I should be. I would say around that time is when I offered hugs to my step dad more often. I was urged by the Lord in my heart to call my dad more. And God provided changes for good but I still hoped that I would see the same wonder of Fatherly love with my own little ones one day.
And, Praise God!, I have. David is a wonder of a Father. When I first met him he was already a dad (Anna was 5, Sara 3) and a serving, loving, strong, responsible one at that. And we have been further blessed with another little one (well she is 3 yo now, maybe not so little) and I have been gifted again with seeing him father from "scratch".
And I have seen him open arms wide to his girls and sweep them in a big embrace. I have seen him take care of hurt hearts and scraped knees. He has taught them truth, and the meaning of hard work. He has held their hands in protection crossing the road, and clapped his hands cheering them on in all they try. He has prayed alongside them and over them, even at times they do not know. He strives to be the Father that God has called him to be with much grace, forgiveness and love.
So I wish my David encouragement on Father's day to continue to be the protector/provider he is to our girls. And I pray that should a Father/child moment ever cause their heart to catch it's breath it would be because they know so well how their own Father (both earthly and heavenly) loved them full well.