I have been blessed with an earthly father whose example reveals to me the character of my heavenly father, and on this father's day I would like to publicly honor him for his role in my life.
From the time that I was born my dad has laid down his life in order to give me a foundation of training, character and opportunity that would enable me to fulfill the destiny that God had prepared for my life. He and my mom have sought God on how to raise my siblings and I and have spared nothing to equip us in every way they could.
When it required going against the flow of society, my dad did so unflinchingly, exemplifying for me a courage rooted in trust in his heavenly father. When God led him to leave his job and career, where he had much success by earthly standards, to spend more time pouring into his family, he did so, stepping out in faith that his heavenly father would provide. As I watched this I learned the reality of what it means to trust my heavenly father for provision through thick and thin. I learned that I have a God who is Jehoveh Jireh. We were never once left lacking. My father gave me a foundation of training and discipline, combined with example that I would not trade for anything. It prepared me to be able to submit to my heavenly father and to walk in the way which leads to life. His example of obeying God's calling no matter the cost prepared my heart so that when the day came I was able to make the choice to follow God's call to move overseas without flinching. When I think of my dad I think of the verse in Proverbs 24 "By wisdom a house is built and by understanding it is established; and by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches. A wise man is strong and a man of knowledge increases power."
I have so many fond memories of the times we spent together. I remember building a treehouse together in our backyard, and a swing on the tree next to it. In the summer time we would go to the pond and the creek and search for turtles and fish and salamanders. Sometimes we would take them home and give them names. I remember special family nights every Friday when we would do something altogether, putt putt golfing, playing games, building something. Every fall we went on a backpacking trip together into the wilderness. I remember my dad carrying his own 70 pound pack and my little two year old sister on top of it when she couldn't walk anymore. Then when I was 13 a lifelong dream for all of us was fulfilled when we moved to the farm. Because of my dad's knowledge and perseverance we built a house together as a family. I remember learning all kinds of construction terms from him I would certainly never know otherwise. Together we shoveled literally tons of gravel, poured concrete, laid logs and set windows. Then the animals came, chickens, sheep, cows, horses, ducks, goats. He bought the animals and supplies and gave us children the opportunity to learn responsibility caring for them, an experience which prepared me in so many ways for where I am now. In the winter when the neighbor's pond froze over we would go ice-skating after dark, taking lanterns to light the way. I remember walking down the snowy, moonlit road, ice-skates in hand, listening to the sound of coyotes howling, rejoicing in the time spent together. I will hold these precious memories in my heart forever.
After over twenty years of pouring into me and supporting me in preparations, my father released me to follow the call of God and move to Europe. He offered counsel through the decision making processes, and encouragement when I faced obstacles. I finally moved and then was faced with the necessity of an emergency trip back to America. Here I met with some serious financial obstacles. One night when I was overwhelmed with the seeming impossibility of what I saw in front of me, my father gave me a gift. On that gift he wrote, "To a most excellent daughter". In that gift I heard my heavenly father's voice, and saw his heart for me. In one moment I received deep revelation that my heavenly father has all of my needs taken care of, that he is pleased with me, and he will always be there for me. Thank you Dad, for exemplifying the character of our heavenly father to me. Thank you for all the wonderful memories. Thank you for being there for me, through thick and thin, when I messed up and when I succeeded. Thank you for being a man of wisdom and understanding, and for imparting those things to me. Thank you for being a picture to me of my heavenly father, and for being so willing to release me to walk in the destiny that he prepared for my life, even when it meant moving across the ocean. Thank you for your counsel and your prayers and words of encouragement. I love you very much, and am so blessed to have you as my father!