HAPPY FATHER'S DAY TO MY DAD AND MY HUSBAND. 2 COMPLETELY DIFFERENT WAYS THEY HAVE LOVED THEIR CHILDREN, BUT I CAN HONESTLY SAY I AM SO GRATEFUL FOR BOTH OF THEM!!
I am glad my husband focuses on relationship above ALL ELSE, (especially as the mother of his children), but I will never discount what my own dad offered and gave to me, especially after being raised without a dad until the age of 12. The addition of him into my life restored so much that was just not capable of being present under the circumstances of which I had been raised in the first decade of life.
When my mom remarried, and I was adopted as his own shortly thereafter I quickly learned that he worked tirelessly (still does) and provided well for us with a very comfortable life that had no financial lack. His job is extremely demanding and the expectations of others in their time of need (as a funeral director), presents a life that he cannot dictate the pace of. He was raised by a father who, at the age of 8 was a water boy serving those building a main highway during the depression, which had created a standard as a very young boy for "what it takes" to make it in this world to an entirely different level than many of my friend's fathers. The investment of his time was into others and their emotional needs came before all else. His other title was lieutenant colonel in the Army and he served a standard for our country as well as himself that set a precendent for everything he was called to.
My husband, on the other hand, grew up in a gregarious Italian family with an incredible focus upon others. While Danny's dad too, grew up during the depression and had a tireless work ethic, he came home after a long day's work and was wisked into social scenes involving food, cards and family gatherings. Imagine what it was like marrying me (an only child) with little interaction with family or others, and certainly no interest in serving at the level that his mom had served his dad or their extended family?
God CLEARLY had other plans by giving me 5 children (a number that would dart out of my mouth when asked how many kids I wanted one day) in which there was/is ample opportunity to serve as well as teach service for ultimate surrender to a life well lived where God is concerned.
The more experiences that life gives me, the more I realize that there is much humor to be found in the incredible circumstances of life if it is perceived that way. That is a choice we will all have to make at one time or another as life ALWAYS throws us circumstances beyond our expectations. There is also much to be learned during the process that enables a perspective to be gained that is unable to be taken away as well as irreplaceable value to be added for the benefit of the life that God has called each of us to live.
After a series of unique challenges, beginning with my husband's "bizarre and unexplainable" illness that began 12 years ago (but which led to an understanding of the diseases of the new millenium), a sudden and unexpected addition of twins to our family 8 years ago and then brutal allegations that led to significant financial loss but replaced by increased advancement of what ignites our soul (which is my husband's impact upon a world rapidly losing ground and often hope in the area of health), as well as 5 very special children who have learned at a very young age to trust God when life is not what you expected it to be, I have learned that remaining riveted to God's call upon our lives is the ONLY way to stay afloat with nothing but hope and faith and overcome the obstacles, no matter how awful they may seem at times.
I can look at my husband and see how much he values the return of the investment he has given to each of our children. I can see his eyes light up when he catches glimpses of their appreciation of him. I can feel his pain when they are not grateful for the sacrifices he has made through our difficult and unexplainable reality or when they have watched the course of his life shift to a new direction that satisfies his soul while the circumstances aren't yet connecting to the immediate needs of life. I know his heart for pushing forward each day and I also know when it overwhelms his spirit at times and forces us to trudge through extremely uncertain circumstances with a few paramount goals that drive our days: to make a difference in this world and shape our children's hearts by reminding them that we have a responsibilty as God's children to trust Him and Him alone and that family is forever and the value that we have for one another will only increase as the years go by. We understand that circumstances change, but we also KNOW that God never does. His word and His love of those who trust in His purpose and His provisions as that purpose is called forth are nothing short of incredible tests of faith.
Faith is what releases God's promise to work on our behalf. If we are His, then He will see us through as long as we surrender to Him. He has a purpose for each of us. He reminds us through the challenges, that the call that is placed upon our life is not for our enrichment, but His. As we surrender and trust Him, He shapes our hearts to endure, He rewards us through our pain, and He releases even greater results than our efforts deserve.
This Father's Day I can look at 2 men in my life that, while easy to compare and contrast, have both been used by God to remind me that throughout the seasons of our lives, being aware of God's blessings often comes through reflection and not the current reality that is limited by time and space.
Today, I realize that the greatest gifts we ever receive ALWAYS come from the Hand of God.