When I was three, my elbow was dislocated as a result of an airplane ride gone awry.
Despite the agonizing pain, I fought against going to the hospital with every ounce of my three-year-old being. I remember being in the back of our Barney-colored van exclaiming through tears, “Dad can just pray over it! I don’t need to go to the hospital!”
Maybe fear was part of the reason why I didn’t want to go. But a significant factor was also the sheer irrelvency of the hospital. Why go to the hospital to get a doctor when Dad could just pray over it?
Prayer was normal in my house. Expecting the unexpected was expected growing up. Radical trust was a common theme.
This is why I thank God for my dad. My dad embraced his spiritual leadership, creating an environment of unceasing prayer. Growing up, I saw my dad strive to surrender everything to Jesus. I saw my dad take steps that he didn’t understand and make hard decisions because he understood that God would provide.
In everything, he pointed us to prayer. In every heartbreak, every knee scrape…prayer. Literally, every knee scrape. There was nothing too insignifcant to call in God involved. In all things, my dad brought us to our heavenly Father.
My dad has shown me how to relentlessly pursue Jesus in prayer. He has shown me how to live a life of prayer but moving boldly, by loving radically. I have seen my dad wrestle with hard decisions. In that, I have seen how God is the God of clarity and that He does reveal Himself. My dad has taught me that God is not outdone in faithfulness. That when we step with faithfulness and boldness, God will bless. When we are taking everything to prayer, we don’t need to agonize over what is the right step we just need to go.
I have seen my dad radically love. I have seen him love people who have wronged him, who are not easy to love. I have seen my dad radically forgive and I have seen him sacrifice his pride to build bridges that perhaps would have been more comfortable left unbuilt. I have seen my dad be the first one to apologize and work tirelessly to repair relationships, even when he is not in the wrong.
I have seen my dad feel righteous anger towards mediocraty and apathy in the Church. He has shown me that emotions are a good thing, that it is okay to feel. He has taught me that God uses emotions, we just have to continually surrender them over to Him. He has taught me how to deeply emphathize with the poor and the marginalized. He has taught me how to channel emotions into getting major stuff done. I have seen him press on when victory seems impossible and exhaustion is all consuming.
My dad taught me that vulnerability is a good thing. I have seen him work through his own flaws, acknowledging them and continually surrendering them to His Savior.
I have never ceased to be amazed by the selflessness with which my dad lives his life. So many times upon passing a homeless person has he stopped and talked, provided meals. Once, he even gave a homeless guy a ride some place on his way to a friend’s house. Actually, it was probably more than once.
The word that best describes my dad is “radical”. He loves radically, serves radically, prays radically. He dives into life wholeheartedly, especially God’s call to fatherhood.
Lots of dads dance with their daughters. But not all dads introduce their daughters to the King and teach them how to dance with Him. My dad did. He does.
Daddy, I love you a lot. Our relationship isn’t perfect because it doesn’t have to be. I don’t have to be perfect and you don’t have to be perfect because we both have a Dad who is. I love living life with you and I love learning from you. I am so grateful for your life and can’t wait for the ways that God is going to continue to work miracles through you.
God is so proud of you, Dad. So many souls are going to be in heaven as a result of your yes. This blog post is so little and my words fall short to express my gratitude to God for giving me to you. Each sentence could exapand into twenty different stories…but just know that I incredibly love you. And miss you a lot.
And really just…thank you.