Father's Day

About a year and a half ago I wrote an article directed towards fathers with daughters. On Father's Day today, I am revisiting it.
 

   

Question, men: what kind of man does your daughter want to marry? Before you go on, stop and ponder it a moment. Truly ask yourself, for each of your daughters, "What kind of man would she like to marry?"  

   Question two: What kind of man would you like her to marry? That should come a little easier for you; you're probably envisioning plenty right now. Polite, a gentleman, a good provider, an excellent father. A man who never once views any woman with passion but your daughter, that is "always ravished with her love". You hope for a man whose chief delight is serving God and his wife. A man who treats her with utmost respect. A man whose anger never oversteps his dignity. A man to whom you feel confident you can entrust whatever insecurities she may have, knowing that he, through the Lord's leading, will balance them out. You want a man who views your daughter as beautiful, both in body and spirit, and who cannot get enough of her insights into the Lord. You want a man who is committed to raising a godly family, who cherishes children. You want a man who honors your daughter and would never disrespect her to others. In short, you want a man who loves God above all others and your daughter more than himself.

   Proven fact: Girls marry guys like their dads. Time and again, studies have shown that the one greatest influence in a girl's romantic life is always her father. What he is, she (albeit often unknowingly) chooses in a mate. Flip back that page, guys, and read that list I made. Compare it to yourself. (Since it would take too space I won't write each question again). Big ones: do you ever disrespect her in public? Do you ever view her as a hassle? (If so, she'll marry a guy who wishes she would quit having kids). Do you hold her heart? Her insecurities? Does your anger ever overstep your dignity?

   You hold the key to your daughter's future marriage. The man she marries will be an expression of you.

   Challenge: be the man you would want your daughter to marry. You hold the fate of her love life in your hands. Do not dare to neglect such a sacred duty. Be proud for your little girl to marry a man just like her dad.

 

Last night I was at the Farr's house and Mrs. Farr and I were talking when she asked me a question that has prompted me to do a lot of thinking; she asked me, "What would you say the greatest lesson you've learned here while at ALERT has been?"
There are many lessons, and I'm sure I could go on for pages sapping bandwidth and relating the details of the incredible things God has taught me at ALERT, but when I opened my mouth to respond to her, I said the one that suddenly occurred to me as the most important to me. "I've learned to trust my dad," I said.
She wanted an explanation, and it took awhile, but I started from the beginning, from our relationship years ago and through the stages God has taken me through these last few years and especially the past months as I've learned what a great guy my dad is. Talking about it, I kept thinking of more and more reasons why I had learned to appreciate him, and how being 1900 miles and a world away had actually served to bring my dad and I closer together. We shared laughter and a few tears as we talked about my dad and what a great man he is, and I can think of no greater tribute for Father's Day than to publicly thank my dad for being the man that he is.
 
My dad is a man of integrity. Literally, I can't recall a time when my father has told an untruth or even a mistaken slip of the tongue when he has not come back to make it right. He cares so deeply about doing what is right, about bearing and living out a standard for the Lord, about representing Christ well in every single aspect of his life. When I think of my dad, I think of the most truthful and genuine man that I know.
 
My dad loves my mother and our family. We haven't always been perfect, but my dad has a great love for us even when we are not following exactly what we know. His love often manifests itself through a desire to see us restored to fellowship with the Lord, and he is tenacious in pushing, pulling, and shoving us to where we need to be. He is unafraid to tell us areas in which he feels we have fallen, and yet at the same time he is always there to pick us up when we fall. He loves my mother and has been unquestionably faithful to her as long as they have been married, relying on her as his satisfaction and resting in her for his love as Proverbs instructs a husband to do. He is an understanding father and great friend to all of us.
 
My dad is an excellent provider. He is one of the most hard-working men I have ever met, a challenge to my diligence at every level, and a great motivator. Sometimes, or should I say, most times, it is difficult to keep up with his spirited way of working, organizing, and accomplishing, but that is always our problem and not his. :-) During times when we have not been financially stable, I have been consistently impressed and thankful that my dad will equally work hard and rely on the Lord for the vision and direction that he needs to press forward. He has always pointed us to the God who provides, rather than taking matters into his own hands. Yes, we are well off. But even when we haven't been, God has been faithful, and my dad has been similarly faithful to point us to Him for our gratefulness.
 
My dad is a man of boldness. It always amazes me how many people my dad speaks to about the Lord. He talks to his coworkers openly, he will speak to anyone from a street bum to a mayor about his faith, without reserve and without timidity. He is quick to make decisions in any given situation, and will carry them out even if it means facing obstacles. I am very different from him in that I am a nonconfrontational person and would prefer to go along with a crowd, so my dad is always such an inspiration to me as he charges ahead even when it means that he will suffer for it.
 
My dad is a man to be trusted. This lesson has snapped into focus for me this last year as the Lord has shown me, and as I related to Mrs. Farr last night, what a man of honor my dad truly is. This year especially, while I've been at ALERT, I have found that the more I trust him, the more trustworthy he becomes in my eyes. I remember last fall being home for furlough from ALERT and the Lord laying something heavily on my heart that I felt I simply couldn't talk to my dad about, but that God wouldn't let me rest on until I did. We went to lunch and I remember being afraid of being vulnerable before him, of allowing him to see weakness in me, because as a person I tend to be very self-sufficient and even when I come to him it is usually with the attitude of letting him in on what the Lord is doing in my life instead of letting him be the tool that God uses. Even when I mess up, I tend to present this neat portfolio-style reckoning of exactly what I've done, how I plan to remedy the problem, and suggested disciplinary measures that he can take to ensure that I won't be guilty of further infractions. But God used this situation to begin to pry that mindset from me. I remember thinking of Mally, when she was first beginning to walk, and how it was our pleasure to watch her walk, and yes, to watch her fall and get up again and keep going. We were never disappointed when she fell, we were never discouraged or displeased at her, but rather encouraged when she would stand back up and keep toddling. God was asking me to view my father as he must have been when I was beginning to walk----rejoicing over me, pleased to be a part of my life, and thankful when I took steps, no matter how small and no matter how often I fell. I thank God for pursuing me until I was exhausted of resisting him, and last fall I remember finally just blurting a whole bunch of things out before I could chicken out, and then sitting there in this pregnant silence and waiting for him to say something.
He actually teared up, and said, "Nicole, I am so glad that you trust me with this."
In my journal I wrote,
 
>And I realized…..God, how mysterious is daughterhood. The
>thing that I felt sure would bring me his disappointment had only given me
>more of his trust. The thing I wanted to be perfect on had been something he
>never desired me to be perfect on. He wanted to trust that I trusted him. If
>he believed that I trusted him fully, he didn't care [about the situation]
>because he knew that whatever happened, I would trust
>him to do what was best.
Being imperfect was okay--as long
>as I was his trusting little daughter, mentally climbing up in his lap and
>resting in the place where I had so long ago climbed out of to make
>everything perfect before coming to him. He wanted me to be his little girl
>again, trusting in his decisions, resting in the fact that he would do what
>was best for me. He never wanted me to solve my own problems. He instead
>wanted me to believe in him and to trust him.
>
>Any dad can solve their daughter's problems. But it takes a special dad to be able
>to solve them well. When I trusted that my dad was big enough to do that,
>he became big enough to do that. I now not only respect and love my dad,
>but, above all, I trust him. And let me tell you, it is the greatest place
>that I can ever imagine being.
 
The months following that day have only proved more and more what a man of trust my dad is. I am astonished at every turn; the more I trust him, the more trustworthy he becomes. I am grieved when I think of the years that I have lost in not trusting him, and the times in the days to come when I will fall, but what a joy  to live my life now, knowing that I do trust him and that he can be trusted to do not only what is best in a situation, but to explain and guide me to come to a similar decision myself.
 
Earlier in this post, I copied an article I wrote with qualifications for a man who my father would want to marry his daughter.  Today I am thankful to give honor to a man who has met all of those qualifications and more. As II Thessalonians says, I ought to follow him, because he has acted honorably. I am proud of the man that my dad is. I am proud to call him my dad, and infinitely undeserving that Heaven should have allowed me to be born into the world at the hands of such a man of God.
 
Many girls must trust in their heavenly fathers when their earthly fathers have failed them, and many girls must look to a higher standard than the one that their fathers have set for them. Not me. I am blessed beyond description to have an earthly father who faithfully teaches me why I can trust and love my heavenly father.
 
I love you, dad.
Happy Father's Day.