It is Father's Day! I know many of you may feel the same way I do, but I truly had the best father in the world! Now, please note that this doesn't mean that we didn't have our moments! He was known as the "most strict" dad when I was growing up, the "most unreasonable" dad, the "meanest" dad, and yes, there were days when I felt that. Yet, there were more days when I felt his incredible compassion, his unconditional love, and his ray of sunshine. The song I remember most with my dad was "You Are My Sunshine", and with that, were sunflowers. The two seemed to go hand in hand.
You see, Daddy is where I got the name of this blog, Simple Faith. My dad had a very simple outlook on faith. You believed in Jesus, Our Savior, who did something so incredible as to die on the cross for MY sins, and you ensure that you treat others with respect and a smile. He always left an impression on others that they remembered him for his generous heart. He loved his God and wanted to make sure we all did as well.
My dad was many things, one of those was definitely a disciplinarian. There were many things that other kids "got to do" that my brother and I were not allowed to participate in. My dad didn't believe in sleepovers, he didn't believe in wearing jeans to school (it was a while ago), he didn't believe in "hanging out" at all hours of the night. My dad believed in family and relished our time together. I remember more of my childhood with my family than anything else - and they are great memories. Probably the greatest impression Daddy had on my brother and me was with his incredible garden. He loved his vegetable garden, his rose bushes, his fruit trees, etc. Yet, I now fully believe what he was 'pruning' most was his children for the world ahead. He shared many life lessons while we weeded the garden, plucked dandelions, harvested the vegetables, etc.
So what life lessons did he teach? Simply, our faith should include the following:
We should be "weeding our gardens" daily, looking at our lives and ensuring that the sins we will inevitably make aren't consistent - that we learn from our sins and create a garden of life that produces more "good" than "evil". We should be "fertilizing our gardens" daily, providing food for our lives - not just the type of food that will keep the bodies God gave us healthy, but the type of food that will feed our souls (reading God's Word, daily devotion, Bible studies). We should be "talking to our gardens" daily, praying to God in praise for all He has given us, in requests for all that we and those around us need, and in hope for our days to come. We should be "sowing our gardens", planting seeds of faith in those around us. This is where Daddy's Simple Faith was strongest. His actions to others were generous and compassionate. Our actions can sow seeds of faith to those around us as well. We should "harvest our gardens", giving thanks to God for all that He has blessed us with - each and every day.
Yes, I loved my earthly father dearly. Although I miss him every day, I know he is with my Heavenly Father, the true gardener. Our Heavenly Father is the one who created us, knows us, guides us, disciplines us from afar, and blesses us. Our Heavenly Father grants us life on this earth, but more importantly, promises us a grand room that awaits us in our eternal life in heaven. I look forward to the day when I get to see my earthly father again - and get to finally meet, face to face, with my wonderful and gracious Heavenly Father.
Remember, Gardening and Simple Faith. They do go hand in hand. Weeding, fertilizing, talking, sowing, and harvesting our gardens yield lifelong rewards of a faith that is rich in blessings and eternal forgiveness. To all the dads out there, Happy Father's Day. Continue parenting in God's will - your children will be forever grateful. To my dad, Happy Father's Day. I will always love you and will never forget you.
"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful." (NIV) John 15:1-2