Sharing A Title With God

Dad and childMy pastor used that phrase this Fathers’ Day as he prayed for the dads in our congregation and I was floored. The truth and responsibility of that observation was sobering, as it should be. Father. Oh, how wonderful it would be if all fathers aspired to be worthy of sharing that title with God. And thankfully, many do.

But today I read a blog post by a dear woman who was only able to overcome the damaging influence of her own father by recounting the negative lessons she learned from him. She concluded that it was the lesson of stubbornness he modeled that ultimately saved her from him.

Reading the comment string on that post was wrenching. Readers shared about dads who had abused, dads who had died, dads who had left, dads who were just emotionally…missing. So many people have had negative experiences with fathers, and as fathers.

Fathers’ Day: It’s a holiday that is intended to rightly praise a valuable role and yet it inevitably surfaces raw emotions for many. Human fathers can never measure up to the expectations we idealize on this holiday.

Still.

I am touched to consider not only the dads who are giving it their best shot, but also those who perform the role of father even if “technically” they aren’t. This comes from a very personal place for me, as I raised my daughter as a single parent.

God was faithful to provide father figures for my child, men who modeled masculinity and kindness, strength and faith. She had loving grandfathers (both related and “honorary” ones), godly uncles, faithful male friends, and committed ministry leaders. She and I were both blessed to have a glimpse of our Heavenly Father through the examples of each of these men.

I served in the singles ministry of the church I belonged to when my daughter was younger alongside some amazing fathers and father figures. I was in awe of the struggles and triumphs of the single dads who faithfully stepped up to the plate with their own children as best they could. I was humbled by the single guys willing to lend a helping hand to the single moms and their children. Fathers to the fatherless? You bet.

And I’ve known so many stepfathers, men who are raising children who aren’t their own biologically, but who are rising to the occasion as though they were. Step-parenting done right is a difficult and not always rewarding role, but it is one that has long-lasting influence, even with adult children. I can never forget that stepfathers are fathers, too. My husband is one.

My friend Iris pointed out today that there is also honor due on Father’s Day to the moms (and grandmothers, I might add) who played – and are playing – the role of both mother and father to their children and/or grandchildren. I’m so glad she pointed that out. That, too, can be a crushingly difficult job but one with incredible impact.

Biology is only part of it. It turns out there are quite a few who have taken up the challenge of sharing the title of father with God. No one is doing it perfectly and the circumstances may not be ideal, I’ll be the first to acknowledge. But when their efforts reflect glory and gratitude back toward God, I believe He is honored.

Thank you to all the fathers. You know who you are. And thank you, Father. May we all know who You are.

 

About Diane Rivers

Diane is a native Floridian whose career as an FBI Agent got her transferred to the North. She's retired from that gig now and "repurposed" as a freelance writer, author, and sometimes poet who blogs about the bumpy, bone-jostling ride of her “workaround” life. She loves Jesus, her family, black coffee, kayaking, biking, and hiking, and she looks forward to eternity with the One who will make all things beautiful. (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

5 thoughts on “Sharing A Title With God”

  1. Your words are so amazing and spot on as usual! We are both so blessed to have earthly fathers who have taught us the love of our heavenly Father. And He has certainly blessed you with the talent to write so wonderfully. Thank you.

    1. A father who reflects our good God is a blessing to all who know him, beginning with his family. Such a man’s influence extends well beyond the walls of his own home, to influence all those who come in contact with him. You’re so right, Alice, we can be thankful for such dads.

  2. One of the most amazing days of my life was when Teresa asked me to meet her at the Court House. Of course I wondered “what has she done now”, but only for a short time. The court she was going to was Family Court. She legally changed her name to Rivers. Her comment to me was “you raised me, everybody calls me Rivers, and Fred was only a sperm donor”. She is now and always has been my daughter since I married her mother.

  3. Thanks Diane. Being a father is an honour, and having had a positive father is a blessing. I am always so very mindful of those who have to pull double duty. It is as if they should have their own day.,.. because neither moms nor dads know what it means to be stretched in this way,

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