I was about twenty when I realized that my life-long tendency to seek out ministry involvement was more than simple happenstance. I began to grasp that “ministry drift,” my tendency to spontaneously flow into ministry situations, might be a sign pointing to God’s calling for my life. I then opened my heart to the possibilities God might have for me in ministry, which led me to my vocation as a minister in the church.
As natural as full-time ministry has felt to me, it wasn’t until I was thirty that I discovered an even greater passion: fatherhood! Perhaps it’s because I am a born nurturer. Perhaps it’s because God graced us with three terrific daughters. Perhaps it’s because I naturally enjoy long-term relationships. Whatever the reason, becoming a dad agreed with me from day one.
It’s not that I’ve always been comfortable being a dad. I remember loading Jenna into our car sixteen hours after she was born and thinking, “What on earth have we gotten ourselves into!” I remember when Jenna had colic and I questioned my sanity for ever wanting children. And there have been plenty of moments since when I’ve questioned (as I’m sure my daughters have) whether I really knew what I was doing as a dad.
I have not been the perfect dad. On more than one occasion, I’ve had to apologize for losing my temper, for hurting tender feelings, or for being late for pick-up. There were too many evenings in which a lack of energy dampened my fatherly enthusiasm for playing a game, reading a book, or studying for a test. And despite preaching sermons to the contrary, I have sometimes longed for my girls to get past various difficult stages.
Yet despite my fatherly shortcomings, I love being a dad! In my early days of being a dad, I loved waking my girls in the mornings and tucking them in at bedtime. I loved coaching their teams, serving as their photographer at concerts and sporting events, cheering them on in their successes, and comforting them in their heartaches. I have loved our dinnertime conversations, Yosemite camping trips, and Christmas treasure-hunts. As they have moved into adulthood, I have enjoyed reflecting together on deeper faith questions, helping them negotiate adult challenges, and continuing to share the ups and downs of life. I have especially appreciated getting to know their guys and helping them (when invited to do so!) prepare for married life as couples. And starting this July 10, I look forward to welcoming sons-in-law into our family, while trying not to think too much about the possibility of becoming a grandpa!
With that said, I wish all our dads a happy Father’s Day! Whatever your favorite job in life may be, may your life as a dad reflect our heavenly Father’s grace and strength to your kids.