Monday, June 10, 2013

Watching Dad Grow Up

With Father’s Day coming up, devotionals this week will be all about dads.  Included are some personal accounts from some of our staff.  Their thoughts are honest reflections on fatherhood with the struggles, strengths and weaknesses of real-life dads.  Enjoy. 

Submitted by Keith Warren
“He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse.”  Malachi 4:6 NASB

I remember, almost like it was yesterday, the day my dad grew up.  He might not remember it the way I do, but it was a very real transformation.

You see, my parents were very young when I was born.  My mom and dad were married on September 30, mom turned sixteen on November 6, and I was born December 17.  The entire world changed for them in just sixty-eight short days.  Of course, as a baby I didn’t notice their youthfulness.  In fact, they were probably great parents.  They both had the support of their parents of which I’m sure I am a beneficiary.  The parts I do remember, as I got older were not always that good.  They would argue, yell and scream at each other, sometimes one of them would leave, but they always came back.  My dad had a temper.  I think it had more to do with being a frustrated young man than being angry, because he is not an angry man today.  But I remember having to explain to friends that would come over how we got holes in our walls.  I would lie and say that I hit a ball, or that my brother did it with a hammer.  The truth was, it was my dad taking out his frustration/anger on our drywall and doors.

I can’t really say what happened with my dad, other than to say that I watched him grow up.  It happened when I was about twelve.  Because he worked in the oil business, his job would sometimes come and go with the price of oil.  During one of those dips, he was laid-off from work, and mom had taken a job with JCPenney.  For the first time in our lives, mom was the breadwinner and dad was hanging around the house.  Whatever caused the switch to go off, it was something to see.  Almost overnight my dad became Mr. Mom.  He was cleaning house, cooking for us, taking me to practice and picking me up from my games.  His demeanor changed, and I saw how he was serving my mom by doing what she couldn’t do because she was working.  It was like a calm, sweet breeze had begun to blow over our house.  I don’t mean to imply that life was bad before this moment, because it wasn’t.  I never doubted that my dad loved me.  But I did notice when he went from acting like a trapped teenager, to being a man who loved (and served) his family.

In some ways, this was a life-changing moment for me, because this is the version of dad that I was shaped by as a young adult.  My adolescence was softened by a man who had found his peace with the family that God had given him.  It was not a storybook tale for sure, but it was his storybook tale, and the fact that he embraced it is what mattered most to my brother and me.

I learned from watching my dad mature, that maturity was better than immaturity, so in many ways I simply skipped that as a teenager.  I learned that everyone can do something to make any situation better.  Dad didn’t like being out of work, but he didn’t sit around and complain about it either.  He picked up the broom and the vacuum and learned how to do laundry, because that is what he needed to do at that moment.  I also learned what a blessing it is when a father serves his family out of love, not duty.  Those were some of the happiest days of my childhood.

My goal as a dad has been to make every day that kind of day for my family.  I don’t get it right every time, and I’m quick to admit my failures, but that is the goal.  With God’s grace, and the Spirit to guide me, I pray that my girls learn some of these same lessons from me.

Scripture to Claim:
“But by the grace of God, I am what I am.”  1 Corinthians 15:10a  

Devotional Archive