In a home where alcohol rocks the cradle it’s hard to have a carefree childhood.
There are no paternal hugs, sweet I Love You’s or bedtime stories when you’re living a loaded nightmare.
So you run real fast to grow up quick and escape the madness. Along the way you disappear into books — your absence is hardly noticed — and the stories soothe and the words make you wonder if there isn’t something better.
And you bookworm your way to the dean’s list, and one day realize that Daddy never taught you an alphabet that spelled love…
While I wish Happy Father’s Day to dads everywhere, not everyone wants to celebrate this day.
Fathers have a profound effect on our hearts and the power to impact our future for good or for bad. And for those who have been wronged, the fallout may still be felt decades later, but may we mercifully remember they also may have suffered as children with dads who did bad.
Whether our biological father was wonderful or dysfunctional, we have one Father in heaven who draws us to His heart every moment of every day because we are His.
And I thank my Abba for rescuing me and filling the cracks in my psyche from a wounded childhood by pouring a new foundation of unconditional love.
And to my own dad in heaven and my late grandfather, Poppy, who was even more of a daddy to me, I love you both, very much.
I am who I am today because the Great I Am chose them to be mine.
And to the many wonderful dads who are sacrificially loving their wives and kids day in and day out, laying down their lives, I salute you from the bottom of my heart!
I don’t remember Father’s Day being full of celebration aside from my mom buying a Carvel ice cream cake, but I do recall the emptiness of growing up without an emotionally healthy relationship with dad.
So for all dads and the pivotal role you play in a child’s life — and for the men who will someday become dads — I gift you with an Alphabet of the Heart.
Here are 26 ways to model for those youngsters entrusted to your care the Father’s heart.
A — Affirmation and attention. Affirm your son or daughter’s preciousness by paying attention to them every day. You are busy and tired from work, but they need you more.
B — Begin again. If you mess up, God and children are very forgiving. And if you’ve not been a good dad so far, reach out to a male friend who is and buddy up. Everyone needs support and mentors along the way.
C — Come to Christ. Surrender yourself to Him if you haven’t already. Study His holy life in the gospels to learn what love is and then choose to become like Him.
D — Discipline, but always in love and not in anger. Discipline yourself first. Discipline for the purpose of training up your child in the way he or she should go. It is not punishment. Fathers, don’t over-correct your children, or they will grow up feeling inferior and frustrated. Colossians 3:21 Phillips
E — Every night let there be time for tickles and tucking in, bedtime stories and prayers, and always good night kisses.
F — Fun is good so let the kid inside you come out to play with your kiddos. They will never forget those moments. And when you are old, these moments will warm your heart.
G — Grace. Abundant, extravagant grace. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed. 2 Corinthians 9:8
H — There’s no place like Home, so make yours a safe haven as you make your heart His home and let Him guide you in all ways. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Ephesians 4: 31-32
I — Is the last person you should be thinking of…
J — Juggle your schedule to show your kids that they are a priority.
K — Keep your husband-heart and eyes only for your children’s mother. I once read that the best way a parent can love their child is by loving the other parent really well. Protect your marriage provides your children with security.
L — LOVE, LOVE and more LOVE! Love others the Jesus way. Love others with 1 Corinthians 13 love.
M — Make memories not money. I hear ya, dad. Those bills do need to be paid and in all things there must be balance, but store up treasures of the heart more than building a bank balance. No matter how rich you are, money can’t buy love.
N — is for the umpteen Number of times you’re gonna blow it, dad. And when you do, humble yourself and ask God and your children’s forgiveness.
O — You are only given so many Opportunities to make a difference in your child’s life while they are growing up so that you leave a lasting legacy which can make a holy difference to future generations. Please don’t miss this. But if you have, and something’s gone amiss with your children then keep on …
P — PRAYING without ceasing. Prayer changes everything. And God is so faithfully for you and for peaceful reconciliation.
Q — Be Quick to listen to your children. They want to share with you the activities of their days, their little and big dreams, their fears, their sadness. Be there for them when they want to talk — for teens that often means 2 a.m.! A day will come when they will be grown and gone, or when they no longer want to talk to you. Remember the cat’s in the cradle for a very short season.
R — Read aloud to your children. Let them read to you. Readers are leaders. Read bible stories and bedtime stories and silly stories to make you all laugh. And laugh a lot!
S — Sadness and loss are a part of life and children are not immune. You can mitigate the effects of loss through your loving leadership, and by modeling a living, growing relationship with God who loved us so much He did not spare His own son.
T — Another way to spell love is TIME. Don’t spend time unwisely, but rather invest time in what matters most — your family.
U — Unforgiveness is ugly and creates bitterness that defiles many. If you are unforgiving, the trickle down effect can be children who hold grudges.
V — Never Violate your wife’s or your children’s trust. They are counting on you, dad, and they are looking to you for healthy, loving leadership and protection. You are an ambassador for Christ and you are their hero on the home front!
W — Words have the power of life and death. Please don’t kill your kids with unkind or harsh words. Let wisdom and self-control dictate a flow of loving words instead.
X — Examine your heart often and keep it clean so that your prayers may be unhindered. Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. James 5:16
Y — The years will slip away more swiftly than you realize. One day you are bringing home a baby and the next day you are unloading him or her at their college dorm or walking your little girl down the aisle. Hold onto each moment and live every day on purpose. Have a game plan for your life and by God’s grace, put it into practice. Begin with the end in sight.
Z — Some days life with kids will seem like a herd of wild animals have bolted from their cages and are running a muck. Well, dad, you’re the Zoo keeper. So keep your head and your heart focused on Father in heaven and no matter how hard it all may seem, you will find yourself more than a conqueror through Christ.
Keep holding onto Him and hold onto your wife and children. Do all things well by His grace. Live your life without regrets, for the glory of God, so that the thousand generations that follow you may follow Him…
Blessings and Happy Father’s Day to dads and dads-yet-to-be across the planet. Fatherhood may be tougher than the Marines, but you can be victorious so never give up being a great dad!
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A to Z and whale cake images from Bing Free Images.
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