A Random Memory

“Father to the fatherless, defender of widows— this is God, whose dwelling is holy.” Psalm 68:5 (NLT)

My time of walking is a time for prayer, a time to reflect and often it is a time when random things pop into my head. Today was no different.

What happened today was a memory of my Dad. I don’t often write about my Dad, I don’t know why. I have always looked like my Dad’s side of the family. I have the same unibrow he had, and I now yell at the television like he did. I like to walk like he did. There are many similarities. He was a quiet man. Conversations weren’t always easy with him. He died suddenly which was a shock to everyone. The above scripture is one the Lord gave me on the flight home from his funeral.

The random memory was about a time I spent with my Dad on an early Sunday morning, years ago. I have always been a horrible sleeper. One night must have been one of those nights that I kept my parents up also. This is how I remember the events of that early Sunday morning.

My Dad walked into the bedroom I shared with my younger sister. He said that since I was awake, I might as well get up and dressed to go to early mass. The early mass was at 5:30 a.m.

I got dressed in my new Easter jacket (a short white one, and a red rose covered headband) and off we went in the dark. After mass, the sun was just rising. We drove past our house and continued on to the cemetery. He parked at the far edge of the cemetery and we got out to walk. I had never been there before and honestly, I don’t know if I have ever gone back to that point since.

Spring flowers were just blooming. I remember holding onto my Dad’s hand and listening to him talk. I can’t remember what he said, I just have the memory of his voice talking to me. I felt so special in that moment.

We got to the edge of a hill and watched as the sun continued to rise. Below us ran the Allegheny River, hard to see at first, but glistened as the sun hit it . The sun woke the birds and they chirped as daylight began.

There were few moments like this with my Dad. It was a different time and generation. Dad’s were the quiet head of the houses. They were stern and catered to.

Later in my life, this man became the single parent to three daughters. How strange that must have been for him. I am certain he felt overwhelmed and at a loss as to what to do. But, he was steadfast in being there. Not always saying or doing things correctly, but he was a constant.

As I walked this morning, I realized that our Heavenly Father is a constant also. He is a father to the fatherless. I felt this morning that it has been too long since I walked hand in hand with Him. Like normal families, we often dash in to grab a quick snack only to dash out again to be on our way. Our Heavenly Father is understanding, but I feel like He longs for us to stop, talk, crawl up into His lap and listen as His voice fills our being with knowledge that we are special.

Good, good Father

“Father to the fatherless, defender of widows— this is God, whose dwelling is holy.
God places the lonely in families;” Psalm 68:5-6a (NLT)

Shortly after my Dad died, I saw this scripture and it ministered to me. My Dad was a good Dad. He had his faults, but, so do we all. I know that he did the best he could raising three daughters in an era that raising children was usually the Mom’s job. I often reflect on how he must have felt and what he faced mentally when he landed into the single parent household. But, my sisters and I not only survived, we flourished.

What this scripture spoke to me was that although my earthly father had passed away, I had a heavenly Father who was my father. He was there to talk with, to lean on, to rely on. His wisdom is unmatchable. His peace and comfort is limitless. He is God the Father and He is my Father.

Yesterday at church we sang Chris Tomlin’s song, Good,Good Father (click on the title for a listen). As I sang the words I was reminded of the above scripture. I thought of my Dad. Then I heard, “You saw an example of a good father this week.”

I did see an example of a good father this week. Little Miss was here and I watched daily the interaction between her and her Dad. My son-in-law loves his daughter(s) with an enduring love. He is strong when they need it. He is playful. He is stern when it is needed. He corrects at the right time also. Yes, he is not perfect, but none of us are.

What I saw was a man who is fully invested in Little Miss’ future. He is working out plans for her, allowing her to grow and experience things, sometimes the hard way, some times a bit easier. But he is consistent, steady and available.

When you think of it, he is showing an example of what our Heavenly Father is like. (Besides the imperfection part).

The Lord is a good, good Father. It is who He is. He is perfect in all ways. He has a plan for us. He has a future for us. He will never leave us, nor turn His back on us. His hands reach out to us for comfort, security, wisdom and yes, correction.

Most importantly, He loves us. He knows our name. He knows the number of hairs on our head, even those in the sink and in our hairbrushes. He is my good, good Father.

Father’s Day part 1

A father is always making his baby into a little woman. And when she is a woman he turns her back again. ~Enid Bagnold, 1969

It occurred to me today that Fatherhood is a complicated position. Growing up, I went from adoration of my Dad, to respect, to questioning him, to dismay and back to respect and most of all love. Dads are perplexing creatures.

When I think of my Dad now, the view of have of him is totally different than what it used to be. As a child I remember walks with my Dad, going to the hardware store with him, working on projects with him in the scary part of our cellar. As an engaged young woman, I would spend most Friday nights with him listening to music and talking about many topics. I remember him patting my hand in the back of the church looking at me and asking if I was ready. His reassuring arm holding on to me before giving me away to a sailor who would take me around the world.

When I brought our oldest daughter home from Japan, he checked her three month old bottom carefully. When I asked what he was doing, he smiled and said, “Just looking for the made in Japan mark.” He was both funny and frustrating. At times our phone conversations would be long and at other times he would call, not talk much and hang up, leaving me wondering why. (Now I understand the need to just hear a child’s voice).

He raised three girls on his own and my sisters and I know we did a lot of raising of ourselves also. But, now, my sisters and I agree that he did the best he could under the circumstances. He provided a roof over our heads, food for the table, clothes and things we could enjoy, 45’s, albums, books, games.

As a child, you look at the man who is your father. You remember all the times you had with him. The times he agreed with you and made you smile, as well as the times he gave you a definite no and you yelled or sulked.

I do this with my heavenly Father also. When I have asked for things which I think are important and I get the definite no back. I yell and I sulk. Fathers make decisions that are not always pleasant. They are given a wisdom, though that goes beyond a mother’s wisdom. Fathers look at the whole picture, examine the pros and cons, and then give answers. Like our heavenly Father those answers can be yes, no, or wait.

Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him. Psalm 103:13 (NASB)

A good father is committed to his family. They stay in the hard times. They do not shirk their duty. They weather the difficulties and uncomfortable times. When a man accepts this challenge and sees it through, his children are blessed. They can lift up their eyes regardless how they are currently feeling and be grateful to have them as a father.