As Father's Day approaches, I wanted to share this letter I wrote for my dad. My hope is that it serves as an encouragement to parents.
Thank you for loving me unconditionally from day one. No matter how dramatic, selfish, or unkind I was, your love for me was constant and full of grace.
Thank you for telling me often enough that I was beautiful that I believed it and felt confident, but not so much that I believed beauty was all that mattered. Thank you for telling me more often that I was smart, creative, kind, and unique. Those are the qualities that last and are most important. You encouraged me to learn, be creative, and serve others. Because of that I have been able to go through life confident in who I am deep down inside, no matter what others may say.
Thank you for not spoiling me (at least not too much!) and telling me repeatedly I was the princess of the world. I knew the world did not revolve around me. You did not give me everything I wanted, but you did give me what I needed (and more). You taught me to work hard, to live a life of humility and kindness rather than regality. You taught me that I was important, but not more important than anyone else.
Thank you for loving mom so faithfully. Thank you for showing me by example what marriage is. It was not perfect 100% of the time, but it was filled with love, forgiveness, and service. I never doubted your love for mom and your desire to love her as Christ loves the church. When I became an adult and considered what to look for in a husband, I knew I needed a man with so many of the qualities you have: a love for God, a love for others, humility, kindness, and graciousness. And I am thankful I found a man who shares those qualities with you!
Thank you for listening to me. Really listening. Not just nodding as I spoke, but truly listening to my heart. You sat with me from an early age, whether it was me talking about my dreams, my fears, or my favorite music. You were always there, even when I would come into your room late at night needing to talk about something that was heavy on my heart. I knew my words had value to you. I knew that you wanted to encourage me in my dreams, calm my fears, and share my interests, even if they were not your own.
Thank you for teaching me that my body was not something to be flaunted like the world was telling me. Thank you for encouraging me to dress modestly and find my worth in who I was rather than in my looks.
Thank you for teaching me that time is important. This is something that is obviously important to you, and I know this is why people love you. Your relationships are deep because you take the time to get to know people. You find out who they really are, what’s important to them, and you share your life with them as well. You did this with others, and you did it especially well with all of your children as we were growing up. Family vacations, daddy “dates,” family time at home, there were so many wonderful times we shared together.
Thank you for loving my husband and immediately accepting him as a member of the family. He loves you dearly and enjoys the times we get to spend with you. I know it is because you believed that love, not intimidation, was the right way to treat your daughter’s husband.
Thank you for loving Jack. He loves spending time with “Pop.” You shower him with love and fun! And what a blessing for him to have such a godly man to look up to!
In this world so many fathers are either absent, or if they are present, they pay little attention to their children. You have shown me that being a parent is about not only showing up, but getting your hands dirty, serving your children, disciplining them, and loving them.
I am the woman I am today because God entrusted me to you. Thank you for never giving up on me. I never doubted your love for me.
I love you.