Happy Father’s Day to You!

As I sat there preparing for Father’s Day weekend and enjoying a great lunch with my little family, we received a text from a precious friend who is about to say goodbye to the love of her life who has fought valiantly in his battle with cancer. Just an hour prior, I was speaking to a mom who tragically lost her husband last fall and listened while she shared her heart of the struggle, challenges and faith to which she clings. My mind thinks of so many more who will shed tears instead of celebrating this Father’s Day…

We are never guaranteed tomorrow. We are not even promised our next breath. Cherish the moments you have. Make the encounters account for more than just whispers on the wind…

Almost fifteen years ago, I said goodbye to the one man whom I loved as a Dad. He was my grandfather, but he was with me every step of the way. No one will ever be able to take his place in my heart. I miss him to this day, and I will always cherish the memories we made. 


After 40+ years of brokenness, my biological dad and I have a reconciled relationship of acquaintances being built. It will never become what it should have been, and even though, my heart still aches for the little girl who had dreams for what could have been, I appreciate the reality of what is. My soul breathes a little deeper with the hope we now have. 


Thirty-two years ago, a man walked into my life and became a father he’d never had the chance to be. To many, a stepdad is just a man, one who lives in the house, pays the bills and sets the rules. This man came in and became a father. He had his own mistakes, and I had mine. We kind of grew into this thing together. It might not be the best father-daughter scenario, nor one of perfection, but it is one of love. For that, I am grateful. 


No matter where you find yourself today, whether you are in your Daddy’s arms, or at the graveside, saying goodbye one more time, or saying hello to a new relationship, or trying to figure out what to do with all the pain and sorrow of those yesteryears, there is One who will be there for you always. Place your heart in His hands, for, He will carry you through, and He will never leave you. ❤️

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His Delight

Over my lifetime, I’ve heard so many people talk about how God is our Father…that He’s really like our “Daddy.” He’s the one who delights in us. He’s the one who thinks we are precious; we are the apple of His eye; we are simply like a treasured child in His sight. He loves us that much.
I am precious in my Daddy’s sight
This analogy is great… unless you never had a Dad who delighted in who you were as a child. This is a wonderful illustration for those of understanding; however, for those of us who grew up without a dad present, without a father who showered us with hugs and smiles, without a Daddy who daily convinced us of His love, this picture of a loving Father just doesn’t quite make sense. It doesn’t quite bring the measure of comfort and peace that those who propagate it may wish to convey.
So, how do we translate this kind of love to those with whom a father’s love is foreign? How do we paint a picture of “Daddy’s little girl” or “Dad’s little buddy” to that one whose own father was abusive, neglective or even absent all together? How in the world do we portray this image of a wonderfully, loving father who enjoys seeing His children happy and full of life? The only way I have found to communicate it is by learning about it myself and sharing my life experiences with those whom I encounter.
…He delights in me…
Sometimes, it’s revealed to me by a surprise, tangible blessing like what happened last year on two different occassions: I was on a mad-dash Easter dress hunt the night before Easter. At the very  last minute, I decided I was just going to drop by a store and see if I could find something new. As I was pulling into the parking lot, I had a little prayer conversation with God. I said, “It sure would be nice if I could just walk right in and just a cute pink jacket to go with my pants. I know, I don’t have to have it, and I’m okay with not. I can always wear that old suit I have. I just don’t feel comfortable in it, but it’s really ok, not a big deal.” I went in, looked at one rack, went to next, and there it was. Right size. Right fit. Perfect. Two weeks later, we were at a ladies retreat, and they had a white jacket on display that I just loved! I thought it was so cute. At the end of the retreat, I mentioned this to the lady who owned it, and she handed it right to me. She said, “You enjoy it!”
…I am His precious child…
Sometimes, His delight is shown to me by what others share with me. A widowed friend of mine told me one day, “I am spoiled. I asked Him to help me see Him, and He has. I see the little things He does all around me, the little blessings He does for me everyday, and I feel treasured by my Father. I am cherished by Him.” Another friend was recovering from major surgery. Someone brought her a quilt the very day she returned home, and the person didn’t even know she had had surgery. The quilt was made with scriptures on every square. She said she felt blanketed in The Word while she recovered, and it was a reminder her of God’s love for her. She said, “It was as if in that moment, I could feel Him saying “I love you, you’re my precious child.”
…I am the apple of His eye…
Sometimes, I am simply reassured of His delight in His love for me in nontangible ways…a prayer unanswered, a wound healed, a moment of protection, a feeling of peace through the storm, or a simple reminder of His faithfulness even when I am not. He loves us, and He delights in us, His children. No matter what type of earthly father you may have had during this lifetime, you can be certain that your Heavenly Father loves you more than you could ever imagine! You ARE the apple of His eye. You are His delight!
 
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 “In a desert land he found him, in a barren and howling waste. He shielded him and cared for him; he guarded him as the apple of his eye, like an eagle that stirs up its nest and hovers over its young,
that spreads its wings to catch them and carries them aloft.
The Lord alone led him; no foreign god was with him.”
Deuteronomuy32:10-12

Wednesday’s Ode #37

Today, I would like to dedicate this Ode to a man who has always been very special in my life, and who will always hold a special place in my heart; even though, I had to say goodbye to him 13 years ago…my grandfather, aka Pa”T”.

Although, it has been 13 years ago (October 6), it feels like forever since I held his strong hands and kissed his cheek. My heart still yearns to see him again. My ears long to hear him say, “I love you, baby.”  My arms still desire to wrap around his big ol’ frame and receive a great big bear hug from him. I miss him so much. Time doesn’t erase the pain; it just makes the pain tolerable to live through.

You see, Pa”T” was not just my grandfather, he was like a Daddy to me, the only dad I really knew until my mom married my step-dad when I was 12. Pa”T” always looked out for me. He always made sure I was doing ok in school, at home, at church; wherever I was, he wanted to make sure I had everything I needed or even wanted.

He was always proud of me, and he always wanted me near. He taught me how to listen to a good story (and he could tell some great ones!), catch and clean fish (well, at least how to watch them get cleaned! ha!), how to take care of my money and even how to act around strangers. He taught me how a man should treat a woman, and how he shouldn’t. He even taught me how to pay bills by buying my first car and then sending me a check each month to deposit into my own checking account so that I could send off the payment.

He loved going on an adventure, exploring a new town, finding a new experience, and never met a stranger. Often, my grandmother and I would go in a mall or plaza to shop for a while, and we’d always come out to find he had made a new friend. He would proceed to introduce us to this person and tell you some of the most interesting things about them, as if, he had known them for a very long time. He liked meeting all sorts of people, but he had standards of character. He didn’t care for rude, hateful, lazy or user-type people. He believed in hard work and earning your own keep. He believed a man should provide for his family, and a wife should love and take care of her babies; yet, he didn’t believe so much in tradition that he would look down on a couple whose momma had to go to work either, just so long as those babies were taken care of!

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He sure loved his “little buddy!” (2001 – Pa”T” and JGrizz)

I’ll never forget the moment he met Joey. We were all kind of nervous, because he could “size someone up” real fast, and if he didn’t like my new love, it sure would be hard for me to continue to like him and stay with him, not because Pa”T” would be hateful to him, but because I cared so much what he would think and say. He shook Joey’s hand, looked him eye to eye, and said, “Well, he sure looks like a fine, upstanding, young man.” At that moment, I knew I had a keeper, and years later, I realized these two men are so much alike. 😉

He was a real man’s man, a “John Wayne” kind of man… Well, I won’t be redundant for those of you who might have already read my post about him last year…If you’d like, you can read more about him in Bigger than Life. I hope you enjoy…

Today is his birthday, and if I were able, I would say, “Happy Bday in heaven, Pa”T”! I know you’re having a blast, and you’re probably telling somebody a good ol’ tale today. I love you, and I miss you so much. Life just isn’t the same without you!! Thank you for all the love you gave, character you taught and wisdom you passed along. You didn’t miss much, and for that, I am so grateful. I am, also, so thankful that I’ll get to see you again one day…and I sure hope it’s sooner than later! 😉 “

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I always felt safe and secure in his arms. (1990 – me and my little cousin)

 

What a Girl Needs

Speaking from a place of experience, there are some fundamental needs that only a Daddy can give. When a girl misses out on these essential, especially in her young, tender years, she can struggle with self-worth, significance and love for the rest of her days. She may survive through it. She may have enough fortitude to square her shoulders, clinch her jaw and stare down these challenges for her emotions; however, even if she’s the toughest broad you’ve ever met, she’ll still walk with a limp.

A woman must have a sense of security in her life. She’s got to know things are going to be okay, even in the midst of a storm. If she can envision peace after the turmoil, it is easier for her to stand tall and face the wind. If she can imagine joy after the sorrow, she can lift her chin, clinch her jaw and laugh at the danger in front of her.

A woman has to have someone be captivated by her. Yes, you’ve heard the old saying, “every girls dreams of being a beautiful princess.” This is actually truth. She must have someone in her life who thinks she is something special. Someone by whom she is thought to be valuable, a treasure to be cherished. If she is found captivating, she finds herself fulfilled, satisfied, even having a sense of completion.

Lastly, a woman must have a sense of belonging. If she can feel as if she belongs to a group, a cause or a certain person, she will stay committed, at times, even to her own detriment. If you don’t believe me, just look at every woman who stays in an abusive relationship for years on end, or a youngster who stays committed to a certain peer group even when they are, frequently, mean spirited toward her. As long as she has an overall feeling of acceptance and a sense of belonging, she will endure what she must to keep those feelings alive.

A man can provide these feelings for a young girl, a teen and even for a full grown woman. He can give these genuinely out of the abundance of his heart, and he can, also, fabricate these out of the fantasies of his mind; however, on both accounts, he will eventually disappoint and let this little girl down. Skeptical, you say? Cynical, maybe? Well, actually, I am being neither; I am simply being truthful.

No man can always give a girl total security, unending captivated eyes and a solid sense of belonging. He will eventually give into his own fleshly nature and be unstable, oblivious and detached.  The only way a man can give a woman all that she needs is when he is allowing Christ to be His center for life. When He allows Christ to be the center, he is able to lead her in the same direction. His leading can never fulfill all her needs; yet, when he leads and she follows, they can, together, reach a place of fulfillment of God’s purpose for their marriage and their lives. When she and he both place Christ at the center of their lives, it doesn’t mean their lives and their relationship will be picture perfect; however, it does mean it will be closer to perfection.

So, if you are a Daddy who longs to fulfill the needs of his little girl’s heart, let God guide your heart, and help your baby girl to fall in love with Him. If you’re a dad who maybe feels like you “missed it” with your little one and are now faced with a teen, young woman, or even a grown daughter who is searching for security, admiration and acceptance, run to Jesus, and encourage her to follow. If you are a husband whose wife longs for fulfillment, allow Christ to become the center of your life and lead your wife in a better way toward Him.

In following Him, you will be able to provide those things which the young and grown women in your life need, not because of your own abilities, but rather, because of Christ who is living inside of you. She may not always follow, and your life can never be the source of her fulfillment; however, as you seek Him, she will see a better way, and when she finally yields to Him, she will find fulfillment in Him, and then, she will find everything she needs.

Thank You, Dad

I wrote this several years back and never shared it, but in light of Father’s Day, I decided to post it today. I hope you enjoy…


Thank you, Dad

For teaching me to listen more than I know how

For training me to love nature, for it’s God’s gift to us now

For directing me in the way that I should go

For correcting me by your firm, but gentle, “No”

Thank you, Dad

For all the long distance phone calls just to hear me chatter

For all those endless weather reports, no matter where you were

For all the deliberate actions to avoid my discouragement

For all the little words of heart-felt encouragement

Thank you, Dad

After all those endless bills have been paid

After all the late night advice has been laid

After all the flowing tears have been cried

After all the growing years have passed by

I’ll still be thanking you. 

I love you, Dad.  ❤

Penned – MG – 10/30/03

Happy Father’s Day

*Lengthy post alert (just a little 😉)*

Father’s Day invokes so many thoughts, feelings and emotions for so many. To look through social media lately, you’d think every woman is “Daddy’s Little Girl,” and most men are “Dad’s Best Bud;” yet, for many, like myself, Father’s Day is filled with a pure mixture of emotions.


You see, as a small child, I hardly ever saw my biological Dad. He was an alcoholic, worked as a merchant marine and was off to sea more often than he was at home. His father wasn’t really present in his life, and he didn’t know how to be present in mine. Sure, he promised to call, promised to come, and I’d watch and wait for hours.  At four years old, I’d even have my bags packed by the door, waiting for hours on end, only to realize, in the moments of crying myself to sleep, that he wasn’t coming, once again. I do have a few fond memories of him from my younger years, and I still hold those tightly in the treasure chest of my mind, but I don’t call him Daddy anymore. As an adult, some things have changed, and we have slowly begun a new relationship, but those days of “Daddy’s little girl” have faded; for some things are simply lost over time and just can’t be regained. The emotions found here are disappointment, forgiveness and resolution.

There was another man in my life with whom “Daddy’s little girl” took on a totally different meaning… My grandfather, or as I affectionately called him, Pa”T,” stepped into my life and became the daddy I never had and of whom I’d always dreamed. He was bigger than life, purely a man’s man, rough and tough as leather but tender as a rose petal when it came to me. He treated me as a jewel and loved me with a fierce, protective love. I grew up learning what true love in a marriage should look like, what kind of man to look for in a lifetime partner and how that man should treat me through the years. In 2002, I had to say goodbye to my Pa”T, and my life was forever changed. The emotions found there are admiration, devotion and respect.  

Steve came into my life when I was at the young age of twelve. He married my mom and tried to become the father figure I had never had and the dad he had never known to be. He taught me so many things over the years. He taught me a love for the Smoky Mountains and an appreciation for God’s creatures and all of His creation. He learned to listen to my teenage chatter and helped me to see beyond my selfish adolescence to the beautiful scenery of God.  He taught me kindness and patience, but most of all, he taught me about the miracle love a father can have for a child who is not biologically his. He became the earthly father I needed who would, one day, give me away to my lifetime love. The emotions found here are appreciation, recognition and acceptance.  

Not to overly extend this little list, but I’d like to add another, if I may…my father-in-law. I guess, there are some who wouldn’t really want an “in-law” on their dad list, but I choose to, because what he has brought into my life, few other men have. He has taught me a spiritual wisdom far beyond his years, a sense of authority and confidence in God which conquers fears and intimidation, and a love for his children that surpasses personality differences, life changes and even direct conflicts. The emotions I have found here are encouragement, fortitude and honor.

 On this Father’s Day, all of these men and all of these emotions turn me to the one father figure who has been present throughout my life and even before I took my first breath. He has been here before the beginning of time, and He will remain beyond the time frame of my understanding. He is the Author and Finisher of every life ever known to be, and He is the picture of pefection. He is the best Daddy that could ever be hoped for or even imagined. He is God. He sees our faults and our failures, and He still loves us! He knew us before we were born, and He makes great plans for our future. He thinks of us as His precious creations, and He longs to have strong, unmovable relationships wth us. He redeems us from our sins, and He’s promised to come back for us again one day. I’d have to say, He thinks we’re pretty special! The emotions I find when thinking of Him are so many of these I’ve already mentioned all wrapped up in awe and wonder for who He is, who I am not, and how He could love me so much!

I have found that no matter the emotions I may uncover for the earthly fathers I have, my Heavenly Father is beyond amazing and beyond my comprehension. He is worthy of all my praise and all my adoration, and with Him guiding me through this life, He is the only Father I need for all the hopes, pains and dreams I may encounter. He is all I need.

No matter the emotions this day may bring to you, remember, you have a Heavenly Father who loves you and longs for you to come to know Him. Just talk to Him, spend time with Him, and you’ll soon find out what being a real daddy is all about.

Happy Father’s Day to all dads out there. I say thank you to the ones who have played such an important part in my life, and I say an extra, great big thanks to the One who has taken the most vital role of all. He holds my hopes, my dreams and my very life within His hands…My heart just stands in awe. ❤️