A Father’s Day Reflection

The first email I read this morning was from a godly, prayerful man at church. He had sent a mass email, asking “What is the best advice your father ever gave you?” My first response was to think he might feel bad if I wrote him back and said my father died when I was 10 weeks old and I never got any advice!

But I reflected a little longer. When my dad died, God met every need that my mother (who became a widow at 25 years old), my sister (who had just turned 3), and I had. We never lacked. God was faithful to us.

And the gift that I had because of this was that I always had a strong sense and understanding of God being my heavenly Father. My mother made sure we understood what the Bible said about widows and the fatherless, how He cares for them. And we experienced that. I never had to try to understand God through the lens of an earthly father. I knew God cared for me and loved me and was faithful and would take care of me. I felt a strong and direct connection to God.

So that’s what I replied to my friend’s email:

For me, the absence of my father (he died in a car wreck going to work when I was 10 weeks old) left me with a strong sense/understanding of God being my heavenly Father, so in a strange way, that was his gift to me. I always felt God’s love and care for me very much. 

And it struck me as I wrote him back. What could have created doubt or anger at God did exactly the opposite. It gave me confidence in His love.

Don’t misunderstand, I’m sure my mom wrestled with questions as she started to raise two little girls without her husband! Confusion, pain, grief. And I recognized once I had children and watched my husband with them that I had missed something and understood perhaps for the first time that my father had loved me like that. Yet God can handle our heartbreak and our sorrow and our questions. We bring those to Him.

Over time, in continuing to seek God, to trust Him, things begin to emerge. Faith continues to grow. We see things we otherwise would not have known and others can’t understand. God gives compensating mercies (as my mother talks about) that we could never have expected in the moment. My mother’s testimony–through the loss of two husbands–has always been the faithfulness of God, how good He has been to her.

That short email exchange today reminded me there is beauty from ashes, glories from devastations. It may take time to see, but we will stand in awe of all God does in the midst of our broken and painful world. Jesus has won the victory, defeating sin and death, conquering the grave, and giving us eternal hope.

On this Father’s Day, I remember and give thanks for my earthly father; for my step-father (who came when I was 14 and went to Jesus 12 years ago); for my father-in-law who faithfully follows and serves Christ; for my uncles (my father’s brother and brother-in-law) who always stood in the gap; for my friends’ fathers who showed me love; for godly men from our church growing up who remembered the widow and reached out to us; for a dear older man my mother worked for who included us in so many things (he told me when I got older and thanked him, “I knew you didn’t have a father”); for my husband who represents all these things to my children; for my mom who acted as a mom and a dad and raised me to understand these truths and pointed me to Jesus; and most of all to God for being my perfect heavenly Father. What gifts, what grace, what mercy, what kindnesses! On a day meant to remember one, I get remember many who have blessed and impacted my life! Thank you, Father. You’ve been so good to me!

A Good Friday / Easter Poem

Father, thank you for sending your Son
to “save a wretch like me.”
Lord Jesus, thank you for giving your life on Calvary.
And Spirit, thank you for filling me.

What wondrous love is this?”
You felt the betrayer’s kiss.
Our sinless Savior—despised, rejected, a man of sorrows,
carrying our sin upon your shoulders.

On the cross, you bled and died,
yet three days later you would rise,
defeating death and giving new life.

You’ve shown us what abundant life is like.
A life of surrender, obedience, and faith in Christ
leading to great joy and blessing,
everlasting life and peace.

This is what true love looks like, you upon that tree.
But will we deny and reject you, too?
Will we doubt and question you?
Or bow our knees and worship you,
with all the praise that you are due?

Soften our hearts, wash us clean,
give us faith to believe, for you are our saving King.
I rejoice and thank you and proclaim your praise,
may this be my song all of my days.

Sovereign God

I wrote this 12 years ago and refer back to it every four years!

  • I’m thankful for a Sovereign God who is seated on the throne in the heavens and whose kingdom rules over all (Psalm 103:19).
  • I’m thankful to know that He alone raises up and brings down leaders and rulers (Daniel 2:21).
  • I’m thankful that He alone is great and worthy of all praise (Psalm 145:3), worthy as the Lamb who was slain to receive all power, wealth, wisdom, strength, honor, glory, and praise (Rev. 5:12).
  • I’m thankful that He sets my feet on the Rock (Psalm 40:2) and keeps me secure.
  • In Him, I have complete confidence and hope, and I have no cause for fear.
  • He is my Rock, fortress, deliverer, strength, salvation, and shield (2 Samuel 22; Psalm 18).
  • He will not forsake those who trust in Him (Psalm 9:10).
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Mentoring and Discipleship – Part 2

Today, I’m pleased to introduce you to one of the friends I wrote about in the earlier piece on Mentoring and Discipleship. Jenny Bernthal was my daughter’s 2nd grade teacher. I was also working at the school at the time. I remember some of us from school doing a Bible study together, I believe on the Psalms of Ascent. Years later, Jenny would lead my daughter and her friends in a Bible study in her home, and now my daughter has the gift of babysitting for Jenny’s children every so often. Her husband likewise has invested in student ministry at church and even came over to help move some furniture when my mom moved here a few years ago. On goes the circle of generational mentoring, discipleship, and friendship together. 

I asked Jenny if she would be willing to share with us, and she has written how God used mentors in her life. Thank you, Jenny, for this challenge and encouragement, and welcome to the blog today!

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