A Father's day
by Jim Hutson
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"I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you shall go. I will counsel you with my eye on you." Psalm 32:8 WEB
Father's Day is over, passing into the annuals of time with the ticking of the clock from 11:59pm to begin Monday morning at 12:00am. My kids had already left to start their summer 'schedule' with their mother, a shift from daily living with dear old Dad everyday but alternate weekends to spending about six weekends with Dad. This is a major leap for me, trusting in the Heavenly Father to take care of my two little ones who aren't so little anymore while they are away from me. Plus, the simple fact that they are away from me. But, God put it on my heart that this summer the kids should spend max time with their mother ---not so He can work on me (there's never a time He doesn't stop working on this mess) but so that He can work on them and through them, their mother.
She already started attending our church, SoulQuest, after years and years of asking. And she continues on a semi-regular basis to do so.
Dorothy Sayers, the mystery writer and apologist featured in the Christianity Today newsletter this Monday morning said, "Man is never truly himself except when he is actively creating something." And then, I came upon this verse as I was looking for the "instruct your children in the way" verse that is so often quoted on Father's Day. It seemed to me that the two had so much in common, a theme that escapes us in the hurried pace of life.
Our heavenly Father always teaches us, with adjustments to our style and choices, creating within us a work that defies evolutionary theory that we came from goo.
And we, fathers of the blessings that God gave us in the form of our children, create the people who stand firm in their faith or run away at the first disagreement. We only seem to recall that verse I stopped looking for, that we only have to 'instruct them on the way to go and they'll never stray.' Then, with dumbfounded amazement, we wonder why they are either running away from the church or laying claim to a 'new' method of 'Christian' thought.
We forget to create within our children the ability and the reasoning to examine what they themselves take in to their world and their faith. We teach them some milky food and expect that our job is done. We disciple, as fathers, in love but forget that the disciplines of the past can harm when they develop beyond those 'punishments' and start claiming their authority as men and daughters of the Most High God.
But isn't that the way of our Father, to instruct us and keep an eye on what we do with what was taught? To see if we understand, if we grow beyond a constant prodding to do our Father's will? And, as we come into the authority as children of God, doesn't He become more and more visible to us, more complex? But, He never takes His eyes off of us even though we may have mastered the ability to walk a long time ago.
My son made me a copy of his footprints, now so big compared to that copy that was imprinted upon the birth certificate when he came into this world some eleven years ago. In between the two colorfully scribbled crayon filled footprints was a poem that I was hardpressed to not tear up over. I don't know who wrote it, but they've captured the responsibility and the joy:
Walk a little slower, Daddy
said a child so small.
I'm following in your footsteps,
and I don't want to fall.
Sometimes your steps are very fast
Sometimes they're hard to see,
So walk a little slower, Daddy.
For you are leading me.
Someday when I'm all grown up,
You're what I want to be.
Then I will have a little child,
who will want to follow me.
And I would want to lead just right,
and know that I was true.
So walk a little slower Daddy,
For I must follow you.
It is the words that haunt a father throughout the childhood of a young child, that awesome and awe-inspiring responsibility; this responsibility to the future....not only to the child, but that child's child. And each person that they come into contact with, that they love and cherish, and they mold. And it is something that men have failed in a big way to do; mentor, shape, and grow a generation of god-led men.
We get caught up in life, we fail to realize the design plan God has for men, we are shaped by the men before us, and we pass the generational failure onto our own children to repeat. We need to slow down, realizing that the path we have set with our footprints is a trail blazing for our children to follow. And we need to make sure that those footprints, even if they take us in a wrong direction, are highly visible....if for nothing else, to warn our children away from that path.
My daughter, such a scary mirror-image of my personality, also gave me her hand-made gift for Father's Day. As I told someone later at church, the best gifts were the handmade ones, so much more than the 'greatest dad' shirt that I wore all weekend. (It said right on the t-shirt....weekend t-shirt! Honest!). They are the treasures I cherish, especially in these latter days of their childhood experience.
"These are my fingerprints, tiny and small.
To place in your Books
Winter, Spring, Summer,
They are here to remind you
the whole year through
that, you're the Best Dad,
I love you!
"Man is never truly himself except when he is actively creating something." That is what we are doing with our children, creating a future today.
Let this be a constant reminder of the life-changing and molding of a young life entrusted into our care and a reminder of the joy that remains
in the hugs and kisses of a young child who loves the man God made.......
Another day as a father, another blessing as their Dad...........
That is what I truly hope I'll never lose the ability to be............
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