Of Dads and Grandpas


“What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it–we’re called children of God! That’s who we really are. But that’s also why the world doesn’t recognize us or take us seriously, because it has no idea who He is or what He is up to.” 1 John 3:1 MSG

God loves families. That’s why He found it necessary and important to start one. He certainly didn’t need us. It’s hard for us to imagine what it must have been like before the creation, but we know it was a perfect union. Father, Son and Holy Spirit…..They could have gone on that way forever.

But because God is such a creator and a giver, He decided to spin out galaxies, and planets and stars and angels in the blackness of eternal space. And then, out of His vast storehouse of love He created all the animals and this home of ours, and us. I wonder…….I’ve always wondered, how much time passed in that perfect fellowship.

How many walks and talks were taken in the cool of the evening before it all went south? Before we decided to listen to the cleverly woven lies that turned God-perfection on its ear. I wonder.

Families are messy and God knew that. Even the angels argued amongst themselves about who was greatest. He created us at great risk, but He felt the risk was worth it. We were worth it. And we fell, as He knew we would in time. Since that time we have never stopped falling. Thankfully, He has never stopped trying to get us back.

When my Dad was a kid, my Grandpa left the family. After my Grandma passed away he remarried. My Dad and Grandpa did some bridge building through the years. As a result I have good memories of him. I passed the house on my walk just the other day. I remembered Christmas at the Elks Lodge and going through his box of rocks and staring at his geodes in the lit up cabinet. And ice-cream socials at the Methodist Church and picnics at the lake. 

I never knew my Grandpa on my Mom’s side but I hope he is one of the first people I meet in Heaven. We lost him to cancer when I was only two. I have a dim memory of him holding me up to his grapevines. He loved roses, and he had a cat named Fritz and he called me his “blond-haired angel” in German. I always wonder if when he held me he was thinking of Annie, his 4 year old daughter who was accidentally shot and killed by a neighbor boy. My Grandma never built that bridge of forgiveness back to him for leaving the gun out. My Mom heard him say quietly one day, “She has never forgiven me.”

I like to think of the three of them together in Heaven, all forgiven, all forgotten.

Sometimes the most important thing in life and also the hardest is to build a bridge back to someone who has hurt us. It’s a huge risk, and it’s scary and most times we don’t know what the outcome will be. It’s exactly what God did with Jesus. It cost Him everything, but to get us back he felt it was worth it.

It’s what good Dads do. 

Remembering the bread

In the midst of my “not so good” day, I saw when I opened my lunch.
And I remembered……
Yesterday didn’t start out so good. Shortly after I got to work, my supervisor came up and questioned me about “an incident.”
It seems there is one who has it out for us and this morning she left another nugget behind. It was a treasure she mined from somewhere, and then sent it out to her OM and ours. She wanted to share the wealth. We launched our own investigation and could find nothing out of the ordinary.
No doubt about it, sometimes the stress at work can be toxic. In every area I hear the same thing:
“So and so won’t do their job so I can’t take a break”
“So and so made me feel like an idiot last time she trained me”
“So and so wouldn’t even answer my phone, while I ran downstairs to get some food”
In every case, the complaints are valid and true. I know the people in question.
At certain workstations you can almost feel the tension crackling in the air, and yesterday, after “the episode” I was on edge. 
I have heard that the lady in question does this wherever she goes. We have notes left at our station. Nasty grams I call them. I haven’t had to deal with a personality quite like her before at work, so this is new to me, but I am determined to win her over.
I feel sad that someone is that determined to catch others in the wrong. Makes me wonder what she is hiding. Or what is missing in her life that she feels the need to do this. I am determined to be a peace maker in this situation.
And then I worried all day about my car. Something is wrong and it may be major. And I didn’t know whether it was still under warranty. Big dollar signs if it’s not.
I go downstairs and see the huddled masses crouched over their lunches, talking, eating…..some in meetings, some catching a break before they go back to work. All of them treasured by God, every last one. I am thinking of getting out of this crowd…….sitting in my warm quiet car sounds so good.
It is when I am unwrapping my sandwich that I see it. And suddenly just for that moment, God breaks through. I see the homemade bread and it conjures a sweet and precious memory. I think of the first time we made it together this year. Elaine had never made bread from scratch.
Oh how she laughed at me, getting all involved in the dough. Memories washed over me, of my Grandma in the kitchen. Of walking in and seeing every size and shape of dough creation piled on the counter. I thought of crisp fall days and bread just out of the oven.
She watched me knead…….”You gotta feel this,” I said. And as I felt that familiar texture when it’s still a little sticky but it’s just the right kind of elastic, I said….”Yeah, baby!” and then gave a huge sigh. She asked if I wanted a cigarette. Honestly it felt a little naughty. I never realized how much I missed it!
My heart lightens like it has been suddenly been caught by a helium balloon lifted into the clouds and a smile stretches across my face right there in front of the microwave at work.
It was a God moment.
And that evening I prayed as my relief came in. I was calm. And so was she. I brought up the issue. Turns out she was resending the same report she sent out a few weeks ago. There was no “new incident.”
I was a peacemaker, and it felt good.
Not only that, I found out my car is still under warranty.
God is good…….all the time.

A Father’s Love

The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. Zephaniah 3:17

Our Heavenly Father loves us so much that there is nothing He wouldn’t do to get us back, to save us. I remember growing up with the knowledge that there was nothing my Dad wouldn’t do for me. I knew that by his actions. Over and over again, he proved that he would do anything within reason to fix whatever was wrong. He had my back.

I remember a strong hand lifting my head to place a pillow under my head if I fell asleep on the floor. And stories that he would make up, and tell again and again. I remember all the camping trips…..every time we had to pick up the tent and move it, because he had found yet again, the perfect spot. I remember so much. He wanted the best for us.

Even this morning, as I started my run I heard his voice. I remember when we used to run together and one day he said, “You have a good stride.” Good words are so important……Fathers should never, ever underestimate the power of words of encouragement to their kids. Those words will follow them all their lives.

Maybe what you heard from your father was much different. You heard shouting…….you heard annoyance…..you heard many things, everything but love. Maybe there was only one compliment you can ever remember him giving. And you remember it to this day.

Maybe he was never there, or you never knew him, or maybe when he was there, you wished he would leave.

Maybe he is gone and you hold sorrow in your heart because you never got the chance to say you were sorry, or give him the chance to say he was.

Even good fathers are not perfect. But I know one who is.

And today, you can celebrate a Heavenly Father who paid your ransom to get you back. Because He loves you with a perfect love. An all-consuming love……A love that would go to the ends of the earth to find you.

And He can fill that hollow in your heart, all those empty places your earthly father should have filled.

He has inscribed your name in His palm, counted the hairs on your head, called you by name. He is Super-Dad.

And today, when He thinks of you, He looks down at His own nail scars and smiles because He knows He did all He could do

Just as any good father would.

The Dad you never had

Father to the fatherless, defender of widows—
this is God, whose dwelling is holy.
God places the lonely in families…….Psalm 68:5,6
That’s Our God!
I am blessed, truly blessed. I had a real Dad. We were pals, and still are. My Mom was the disciplinarian in the family, Dad could never do it. I never doubted that he would have walked through fire for me. His own Dad left the family when he was very small. That day haunted him all his life. I don’t think he has ever fully recovered, even at 82 the memory is as clear now as it was way back then. He determined that when he had kids, it would be different. I can never think of a time in my life when he wasn’t there for me.
But I know that is not the case with many.  
This post is for you. For all of you who longed desperately to see a face in the crowd rooting you on, and for everyone who was crushed and disappointed when Dad broke a promise……for the hundredth time. For those of you who never had a Dad who cared enough to make the promise in the first place, and everyone who ached for love and kindness and got harsh critisicm instead.
Or angry words……
For those who longed to hear, “I am proud of you!” You might be all grown up now but even so, the child in you still wants to hear it.

And that thing you were really really good at, that God made you good at?  That thing you stopped doing because nobody was in the stands? When you gave up on yourself? God saw that. He was cheering from the stands and saying…..I knew you could do it!

He was proud of you then and He’s still proud of you now. Feel His love wrapped around you today.

He’s the Dad you never thought you had.

If you always longed to feel the strength of a big hand wrapped around yours, letting you know that everything in your world was safe, take heart. God can fill that void perfectly. He can take all those empty spaces and replace them with His great love and protection.

Oh, how He wants to do that for you today.

And Daddy, remember how you shopped for weeks looking for that perfect Christmas gift for me? You must have been so excited for me to open it, that beautiful hat and matching scarf. Back then I thought I was too cool to wear it. Forgive me for being too childishly selfish to fully appreciate your gift of love. I wish I had it back now. If I did I would wear it proudly and never let it go……I love you! Happy Dad’s Day.

A Father’s Love

Photo by Google images
How blessed I am to have felt the touch of a loving father’s hands growing up. They were working hands, strong. Made that way by many hours of county road work, but always soft and gentle with me. I can still remember the way he would tuck covers in around me, or lift me high above his shoulders and then act like he was falling. I was safe in the security of his love and protection and I knew he would always be there just when I needed him.

But others have much different memories of fathers, ones you would just as soon forget. Or maybe you have no memory at all, just a gaping hole where he should have been. Knowing that it was all on you, no father there to set things right or be your safety net.

For all of you I bring you the Father’s love today……for we have a loving father who steps in to be your Dad…..”A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.” Psalm 68:5

Maybe you never felt like you were wanted, but know this today, Your Father in Heaven did want you. He wanted you because you are here, breathing life right now. He is longing to wrap His loving arms around you and fill all those empty places in your soul where a Dad should have been.

He can bind up every wound, heal every hurtful memory. He can be all you never had right now.

I pray that Father’s Day be something different this year, a time for embracing the Father’s love, letting go of what could have been, and letting God fill you with everything He longs to give you.

2 Corinthians 6:18 “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”

Happy Father’s Day!

Dads, we salute you! There is a wonderful place in a family that only a (good) Dad can fill.(That goes for Grampa’s too!) I am so thankful I had one of those good Dads. There is a unique bank of memories that I treasure reserved for Dad alone….For instance, I knew when he went into the store, he would always bring me a bag of planters peanuts, or a hershey bar. I remember many times, he would head out the door on some errand, he would ask, “You want to go?” And then the light in his eyes when I said, “Yes!”

I remember him stopping the car at a little store in the county and bringing back “grab bag” prizes, and making me wonderful beds by the fire on a cold winter’s night, tucking the blankets all around. When I got older, we shared a passion for reading, the same love of jazz and John Denver. We loved discovering magical secret places, walking down little alleyways, and haiku. After he came to know God, we shared Him too. My Dad introduced me to so many different things without even knowing it. He never turned away someone who needed help moving, or doing anything else for that matter. He was a champion who would always take my side, to my Mother’s chagrin!

Father’s Day always takes me back to Yosemite, our favorite place. We would always go in June and usually Father’s Day was spent there. Each year, I would walk across the meadow in the morning mist and buy a Sunday paper and an Almond Joy candy bar and present it to him. Every year he would act just as thrilled to get it! Well, Dad, I am thankful for you today and I hope the Almond Joys I sent in the box along with the paper survived the merciless Arizona heat! Today you will be celebrating with Mom, along with my brother (happy Dad’s day to you too) and your current fave, Granddaughter Lauryn, who never leaves your side.

“The most important thing a father can do
for his children is to love their mother.”
Fathers Day Quote by: Unknown