It seems like it’s been years since I have actually gotten to spend a Father’s Day with you in person. I hope that this letter to you will bridge the distance between us today a little closer, and serve as a reminder to you that I love you very much.
Thank you, Daddy, for loving my Mama. I know that had you not decided when you were five to marry her, there would be no ME!
Knowing you have loved Mama for the last 38 years is the best gift you can give your children. Thank you for letting us see a marriage that is strong, happy, fun, and most of all…with God at the center.
Daddy, being the oldest, thank you for loving me more than you do the other two! Just kidding! Thanks for being a Daddy that took us places so you could spend time with us. You taught me to fish (with corn!) and watched me catch my first catfish. You taught me to shoot a basketball (not a volleyball! You know what I mean!) and came to all of my games when I was playing church ball. You bought me my first Atari, therefore aiding my addiction to video games and fueling my desire to have a Wii to this very day! 😉 You gave me a pet to love despite Mama’s obvious disdain for them. You tenderly took me in your lap the day my favorite dog, Jodi, died, to explain to me what had happened to her. I am sure it didn’t hurt you as much as it hurt me, but you pretended it did. You provided the best of everything for us. I know that we didn’t have a lot of money growing up, but you took us places to give us a view of the world outside of our own. Our family vacations to Florida, to every state out west, to the beach and beyond, are my most favorite memories. Thank you for the sacrifice you made that we could spend time together.
Thank you for teaching us to laugh. I know that was a team effort considering who our Mama is and she wouldn’t have it any other way, but thank you for humor in everyday. You may not remember it, but one of my funniest memories of you is when Missy and I hid your Sunday sermon in the refrigerator before you left for church one Sunday. You laughed, thankfully!
You taught me to love others unconditionally. From my earliest memories, you placed a great importance on loving others more than ourselves. Being a pastor, that would seem a given that you would be like that, but no…that’s just who you are! You love others and want for their very best, and that was something instilled in us early on.
Thank you for living an example of Christ before me, that one day in the summer of 1980, I would give my life to Christ. My all time favorite memory is walking forward to tell my pastor (YOU!) that Jesus had come into my life, as you bent down and put me on your knee and prayed for me to live all my days for Him. Later, having you baptize me is a picture I hold in my heart forever!
You taught us sacrifice. While learning this was not without pain for me, you taught us that God was calling us all to sacrifice for Him in order to walk in obedience. For us, that meant moving away to another country to spread the gospel. It was hard for me, but I am eternally thankful that God called our family because it showed me that God’s calling was on all of us, not just you and Mama. It showed me a lost world that Christ died for. It gave me a love for the unlovely.
Thank you for surrendering to the call. I am sure it wasn’t easy for you either.
Thank you for being a man after God’s own heart. This raised the bar high for any man that would come into my life. I know that I found that same man in Jeff, who loves God passionately and without compromise. I thank you for the example you gave in finding you on your knees in the basement praying for our future husbands, and then seeing your prayers answered for us.
And now, thanks for being a great Papa to our girls. They love you dearly.
This Father’s Day, know we all may be a little older, but hopefully we are a little wiser, and more thankful, too. I know that I am thankful for you and the Dad that you are. Know my prayers are with you today. May you never grow tired of loving, of learning, of laughing, or living each day to the fullest. I love you, Daddy, and I will always be thankful to be your little girl!