Saturday, June 19, 2010

To my kids. Thanks for letting me be the dad.

I suppose the typical Father's Day blog would find a person writing to his father. Or perhaps about his father. Tonight I am blowing away all trends. I have something important that I need to say.

Kelli. From the moment they lay you in my arms in the deliver room I was a changed man. I fell into your deeply piercing eyes and my life has never been the same. With your first breath my life was altered for all eternity. You have brought things out of me that no other person could have ever brought out. I was so thrilled to have a daughter. A daughter. Those words rang in my ears when the nurse first spoke them to me. They ring to this day. I could write so much about the in-between days but I would much rather fast forward to today. You were the first one to make me a father. You were the first one to choose a mate. You were the first one to make me a grandfather. And I am so proud of you. But those are not the only reasons why. I watch you live your life, love your family, serve your God, and I can not think of one thing that I would change. You are everything that I dreamed you would be. Everything I prayed you would be. It thrills me to know that you serve God as a ministry leader in your church. But that is not what thrills me the most. It is simply who you ARE. At your core. You are a woman of integrity and honor. You are purposeful. You are loyal. Dedicated. Incredibly resourceful. Independent. Shockingly beautiful. I could go on. But let me say to you one more time what I have told you many times before. If I could have talked to God and designed my own daughter she would look exactly like you. I love you with every fiber of my being and am honored that for all eternity I will be your father. Kelli, you are wise beyond your years and gifted beyond you ability to have learned all you know on your own. God has His Hand on you. And I cannot wait to watch what He does with your life. I love you, Kelli, far more than I love my own life.

Scott. You came into my life wearing a little yellow sock hat. It quickly morphed into a blue Cubs cap. How many baseball beatings have we taken together? More than I can count. Watching you grow up in our home brought me joy I had never known. My first son. Somebody to play catch with. Somebody to teach the letters "ESPN" to. You use to cry and scream when I would get on a bus or into a van to leave on a youth trip. You just wanted your dad. Those moments ripped my heart out. But I walked on and did what God told me to do. Now I understand a little bit about why He wanted me to demonstrate that faithfulness before you. It would not be long until you would be the one climbing on a bus. You would be the one leading the charge of teenagers in a well planned attack on the gates of Hades. I remember the days we "shared a wall." I was a pastor on one side and you were the youth pastor on the other. Those were some of the best moments of my life. The day came when you sat in your room, on your bed, and stared at the walls and the memories they contained. You didn't know I was watching from a distance. You walked outside where your mother and I were waiting to pray for you as you drove off of our drive way for the last time as a resident of our home. I will forever remember you wrapping your arms around my neck and saying, "I never thought they would say yes!" I have to tell you, Scott. I knew from the first moment you began filling out applications that they would say "yes." Because I knew you were called. Scott, I am incredibly proud of you. Of the man you have become. I love you and all you ever have to do is make the call and I am on the road, heading to wherever you are. You are my son in whom I am well pleased.

Chris. I scarcely know how to say to you how much you mean to me. You completed God's gift of children to your mom and I. When you first showed up we realized that we were now complete. Until you came it always felt as though someone was missing. You were that someone. God designed you specifically to be the final puzzle piece to our family. Oh how I loved raising you! Oh the challenges you sent my way! You always did things your own way. I often had to express my displeasure (while stifling a belly laugh) but I can now be honest with you. Almost every time I found out what you had been up to deep in my heart and soul I was thinking, "This is one amazing kid. Magnificently creative. Totally independent upon his own wit and skills. Raising him is going to be a BLAST!" And none of that was wrong. And I look at you today, Christopher, and I stand thrilled and humbled by the man that I see. Overnight you went from "the learner" to "the teacher." How did you do that? I should not be surprised. It is typical Christopher. I have no idea what your future holds, my son. But I know this. It is brighter than the brightest sun. You have grown a heart after God and He is going to use you beyond your wildest dreams. Maybe it won't always be fun or easy. Maybe it will sometimes hurt. But it will be a ride that you will never regret taking. Thank you for calling me "dad." When my phone rings and I see your picture on the screen my heart smiles. And I never know what I am going to hear! I love you so deeply, Christopher. Remain faithful. I will be here for you whether you need me or not!

It is Father's Day. And I am one blessed Father.