Enough on Father's Day
My wedding was not the first event after my Dad's passing where he was noticeably missed, though. I missed him at my junior year homecoming dance. It was in the same month of his passing. I missed him when I made homecoming court my senior year. He didn't get to walk me on the field to be crowned as queen. I felt a strong sense of his absence when scholarship banquets were attended and the letters started rolling in for college.
I missed him. I missed him. I missed him.
My wedding day, perhaps, is the day I missed him the most, though.
I don't know if I mourned that whole thing out the way others do, though.
The minute I found out my father died, I knew I would never want him to come back. It was instantaneous for me. I knew that he was walking streets of gold. I knew that he was far too compassionate and loving to have to do life on this side of heaven ever again. I knew that he would never hurt again in the arms of Jesus... and as much I missed him, I knew that he was healed. I always wanted him healed.
My Daddy had been sick ALL of my life. Not many people knew that, but I knew if they had, they would have understood. They would have wanted him healed, too.
I decided at 17 to not stare at the spots where I missed my Daddy, but instead try to focus on the good.
Now, at 17, I didn't know what that meant and I botched up a lot of years along the way, for sure.
Today, though, here's what it looks like for my Daddy to be in heaven on Father's Day and for me to take my boys to church on Father's Day as a single mother...
1- I remember that I had a fantastic earthly Daddy. I remember that and smile. He was out of the box, hysterical, and if you met him, you definitely loved him. He left a legacy of compassion and caring for others. Before Servolution ever existed, my Daddy was walking that out.
A great example? My junior year before my Daddy died, me and 6 of my friends were invited to Paris, France to dance in the opening ceremonies of EuroDisney. It was a huge honor... with a huge price tag to go with it.
My Daddy used his marketing skill set (his God gift) and his love for me, my Mom, and my dance team to spur the most amazing campaign to raise those funds. By the time he was done helping my Mom lead that charge, EVERY GIRL had a fully paid trip. I still tear up thinking about it. The man was a marketing machine with a heart of gold.
2- God gives me the sweetest gifts. A lifetime ago, I married my high school sweetheart at the age of 22, and he knew my Daddy as we dated since the age of 15. My Daddy loved him and so did I. So, God's gift? Well, my Daddy may not have walked me down the aisle, but he knew who was at the end of it. That was so comforting that day in his absence. And 8 years later when that marriage dissolved, my Father God was there waiting to comfort me when my earthly Daddy could not.
3- My Grandfather was an amazing blessing in my life. Amazing. TJ Best stood in the gap at every turn. He escorted me my senior year to be on the homecoming court. That day was one my Daddy had always told me he could see happening. He was the announcer for our band, and every year at homecoming (from the time I was itty bitty) he would say, "You're going to be my Miss Lee High." So, needless to say, when that day came, I was very emotional. It wasn't about a crown. It was about the man who saw the queen that God created in me long before I ever could. And the man who walked me on the field to that moment? My precious grandfather... with the BIGGEST SMILE you have ever seen in your entire life. It's one of the most precious moments in my mind. 2 of God's men reminding me that I was a queen in God's eyes... a prized possession of the Most High. THIS is why I say EVERY woman should have a tiara. We need to be reminded of how He sees us, ladies.
There's so much more, but I'll wrap with this. God has used the absence of my Daddy and now my grandfather along with my single parenting journey to teach me one main thing. He put these men in my life to show me a face to face sense of how He loves me. That was their whole purpose in being my Daddy and my JJ... to show me His love. They did it differently, but they did it.
As I venture through single parenting now, I hear a lot about stats for "fatherless homes" and things like that.
Last year that threw me for a loop.
Granted, the stats are real. They are an issue. Men, we need you to be active, loving, and involved. Your kids need that and a great many of you are rocking it like my Daddy and my grandfather did. To the ones who are rocking it, I salute you. JOB WELL DONE! Thank you, thank you, thank you. Continue being the standard. Continue teaching your peers to be the same. Don't condemn them when they are not measuring up in the Daddy department. Instead, I challenge you to LIFT THEM UP and teach them to do what you do. I challenge you to replicate yourself.
To the fathers who just aren't there, yet, for some reason or another, I pray today is a day of stirring in your soul that INSPIRES you to be everything God has planned for you to be. He chose YOU to be a father to your children. No matter what has happened, He picked you. If you don't know how to be a father, yet, that's okay. God is an amazing teacher and there are Godly men in your local church that would LOVE the chance to mentor you in the same. Reach out. There is no shame in reaching out and saying, "I don't know how to do this deal." Matter of fact, that's the manliest thing I can think of. Your kids deserve it. They deserve you being a loving role in their lives. And you know what? You deserve them, too. They are DELIGHTFUL, I'm most positive! :)
But as for the stats? I put them UNDER MY FEET. I'm not raising stats. I'm raising JUST what God had in mind... miracle men made in the perfect image of Jesus. Keep the stats. They don't apply here.
I have the coolest step-father. His name is Paul and he has a quirky, fun sense of humor. If choosing new school or old school, he'd likely choose old (part of his charm). He loves Jesus. He loves us. He helps me quite a bit with my boys, and I'm so very grateful. "Papa" (Paul) is totally different from my Daddy. They are nothing alike. And you know what? I love that. Because he's never tried to take my Daddy's place. Ever. He's always just tried to be Papa to us... his flavor of Daddying. He's one of God's gifts to me this Father's Day, for sure.
Finally, my Mama. She was the first single Mama experience that I ever had. I watched this woman lose the love of her life in a moment... and she instantly turned into a warrior. She always had it in her, but I saw it rise up that day when she came to tell her children that "Daddy just didn't make it this time." I saw her make decisions that no woman should ever have to make. I saw her learn about running a household on her own and knowing how to handle EVERY detail that entailed. When I was in college, my Mom called me one day to say she was opening a business.... a dance studio. I thought she was crazy. (I'm not much of a risk taker, so this blew my mind.) She, on the other hand, could CLEARLY see the dream and she went for it... and she spent 10 years changing the lives of young women and young men in our city and beyond. She rocked single motherhood like none other. So, on this Father's Day I take nothing away from the men we celebrate, but I hope it's okay that I celebrate her a little, too.
I'm grateful today that my boys love their daddies. I'm grateful today for the seasons that put the dream of my boys in our hearts and that they are here. I would not change one single thing.
I'm grateful for the men in the paths of my boys. I very intentionally prayed Godly, strong, compassionate, Jesus-loving men into the lives of my boys. I unwrap a gift daily as I watch God provide just that through the friends we've made and our membership in a dynamic local church that is knee deep in relationships, service, and the love of Christ.
So, this Father's Day, I REFUSE to look at what's not here. I'm going to full blown CELEBRATE what is and what was. My God has been a GOOD, GOOD Daddy to me. He's a beautiful Father to my boys. He wrote the book on parenting, and my friend, He does it well. I hope that, no matter what your circumstances are today that you will celebrate the Father who celebrates you daily. He is enough, and because of Jesus, you are, too.
ChristieAitken@gmail.com , 2014
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