He is a quiet man of few words, who listens a lot before he speaks, but when he does, he has a lot of wisdom to share. He didn’t wait for the reception to give me a toast at my wedding, he spoke over me the most beautiful and powerful blessing right there in the church, at the altar, with everyone on their feet listening.
One of the things I love the most about my Dad was something he did for me when I turned 14. I had begun to developed some friendships with a few girls from youth group that he saw were not encouraging me in my faith and our family values, so one day he kindly let me know I would not be going to youth group anymore and instead he would be descipling me from home.
“Seriously Dad?! That is so uncool! Nobody’s parents do that. What am I going to tell everyone when they ask where I’ve been?”
He just smiled. Didn’t mind one bit. Wasn’t afraid to confront me and save me from what this could become. Wasn’t afraid to take his God-given responsibility as servant leader of the home seriously. I remember people warning him a lot about 5 kids and saying, “Wait ’till they all get to be teenagers!” He would always smile and say, “They’re going to be blessings as teenagers.”
So Dad began to meet with me every Saturday at 5pm and instead of taking me to youth group, he would take me to McDonalds. To the park. The first few times I pretended to be sick and just wanted to lay in bed and not go anywhere. He smiled and said “that’s okay” and sat on the foot of my bed and right there opened the Scriptures and read to me. The next time we went to McDonalds and sat in a booth and over milkshakes he began to teach me about the importance of making wise decisions that honor God, how to do it, and how to stand alone in those decisions.
Sometimes we would go to the park and sit on a bench and the second topic he covered was courtship. This made me turn red. “I’m not even going to get married anytime soon Dad I’m only 14!” I would say. He said “Yes but someday you will be married and the seeds you sow today will reap good fruit or bad. So preparation for marriage starts now.” He taught me what qualities to look for in a guy who would be “husband material”. Not just a churchgoer but a faithful disciple-maker and spiritually mature to be able to lead our family in the ways of the Lord. He taught me how to guard my heart and put all my hopes in the Lord until that day would come. Such wisdom! I began to treasure those months spent with Dad.
Today I am happily married to a godly young man, who has a heart for the lost, and we are both serving the Lord together in Taiwan, and expecting our first baby in September! Dad was so right. I don’t know where I would be or what messes I would be in, or if I would even be following the Lord today, if my Dad had not taken the time to sit down with me, let everything else slide, cancel meetings and other ministry, and show me with gentle, patient, persistence, in words and actions, his love for me, and that nothing else in the world was more was important than my heart following Jesus.
Happy Birthday Dad! I love you.