Grandfather’s love for a little girl lost and birthdays at the fair…Day 10 First comes Love

FIRST FAIR

CHERYL MA and ME

Great Danbury State Fair, CT

We always celebrated our birthdays under the Big Top, all red and white stripes with sawdust underfoot.

And the sun bright warmed my skin as autumn air crisped my cheeks a delicate pink, and the sights and sounds of the Great Danbury State Fair called to my little girl heart with all the romance and fun that a state fair can hold.

DANBURY FAIR 1

DANBURY FAIR 7

DANBURY FAIR 8

The Great Danbury Fair Parade, CT

And he would hold my hand.

IN POPPYs ARMS

And hold my heart, too, and he holds it still.

My Poppy.

My mom’s dad Mickey who would have been 105 today, but he died the morning I was laboring life, birthing my third son, although they didn’t tell me until after my baby was born.

ATLANTIC CITY

Poppy was my stand-in dad during those dark days all swirling crazy when my daddy’s drinking made our home less than peaceful. And it was Poppy who took us to the beach, and the amusement park and New York City.

POOL FUN

FERRIS WHEEL with POPPY

ROCKEFELLER CENTER

And him and me, we spent a part of every day together, us living downstairs in my grandparent’s two family house.

Only thing that separated us was October 9, the day between our birthdays, and me his first grand baby and him always saying,

“Us Octobers…we’re the best!”

Me believing it!

And I don’t recall birthday parties with little friends, although there are snapshots.

All I remember is the waiting all year and wishing for the fair, and leaves turning and days growing short, and Poppy driving us — my mom, my sister and our Ma — for what seemed like hours and hours until we finally caught a glimpse of the great Big Man waving us welcome.

DANBURY FAIR MAN - Copy

And from the Big Top to candy apples, Joie Chitwood’s daredevil driving and stomping-huge Clydesdales, sizzling sausage sandwiches and cotton candy, time stood still for a little girl, and there was no darkness at all that day, only joy and love.

So much love.

Love from one of the sweetest men I have ever known.

My grandfather, a simple, humble man devoted to his bride, besotted with his only child and crazy about his two grand girls.

Full of love and laughter, practical jokes and crazy physical stunts — like the time he climbed a church during his boyhood to retrieve a football lodged near the steeple. A football deflated that he kept all his days and used as a prop, inflating his story with color and life.

And it was Poppy who brought my imagination to life with his tall tales and spooky stories.

Saturday mornings always found me sitting at his kitchen table eating a buttered hard roll and sweet coffee-ish milk. And the story I loved best was the one that frightened me the most.

ROLL

The Hairy Man.

As the story goes, a large, furry man-creature had jumped out at Poppy’s car, the only vehicle on that long, lonely stretch of road in the wilds of New Hampshire that afternoon in the early fifties.

And this Big Foot-like being gave chase, yelling unintelligibly.

And my grandfather drove faster.

Calculating in his mind how he would protect his wife, mother-in-law and daughter asleep in the back seat should the car get a flat and this beast reach them.

And always, always as the tension mounted with the story nearing its denouement, he would stealthily reach behind him with me too absorbed in the telling to notice, and flick the shade on the kitchen door with such suddenness and rattle that I would jump in my seat and shriek.

And how he would laugh.

And me, too.

He loved to laugh.

And he loved to love. And was loved by all.

He adored my grandmother, his Esther.

POPPY and MA

Their marriage was full of love and respect and lots of laughter {and only a little raising of his voice once in a while if us ladies were late in getting ready to go somewhere!}

He told me that he and Ma had gone to bed one night with him telling a joke only to forget the punch line {very rare}.

He remembered it at 4 a.m.

And woke his wife, and the two of them talked and laughed till dawn when they had to get up and get ready for their factory jobs. Jobs they toiled at for decades and him with a nasty boss whose wicked ways he defused with humor, and neither having been able to graduate high school for their large families were poor and needed them to work.

And their fairytale love story — from meeting as teenagers at Coney Island to marrying in 1931 during the bleakest time in America’s past, her giving birth in her mother’s bedroom in Ansonia, Conn., after her dad was unexpectedly killed by a hit and run driver, and ultimately her leaving him all broken when she left this earth after 39 years of marriage and a very brief illness that took her at 62 — made me want one just like it as I dreamed of wearing white, and showed a little girl with a broken heart from a breaking apart home that there was another way to do life with your mate.

A true romantic, he returned with his bride to Atlantic City every year on their September anniversary. It was where they had honeymooned.

And every February found him in a little candy shop in downtown Yonkers with arms that were never too busy or too tired to give great big bear hugs full of heart shaped boxes of chocolate in descending sizes.

And he loved on all of us like this despite the fact that his own childhood had been disrupted.

With a father from the Old Country who drank too much and beat too hard, loving too little.

And great grandfather helping to found the first Russian Orthodox church in Yonkers, down in the Hollow where all the immigrants from Eastern Europe had congregated.

Yet not living or loving like Jesus.

And my Poppy, he told me when I was older about the night my great grandfather almost beat him to death as he caught him, a young boy, sneaking back into the house after having stayed out too late, or perhaps that beating was the night my Poppy tried to intervene on his mama’s behalf as her husband took out his frustrations upon her back.

Details may be a little fuzzy, but one thing is clear.

I’m forever grateful to God for sparing Poppy’s life and making him my own.

And I am who I am in part because Poppy loved me.

And love covers over a multitude of sins and love heals hearts. And it is love shared that shows us Christ, even if we don’t speak His name.

For when all the words have been spoken and all the deeds done,  in the end it is only love that lasts…

Happy Birthday, my darling Poppy. See you someday…

~sheila

Today’s post is Day 10 of a #31days series called First comes Love…

All the posts in the series can be found here. And so you don’t miss a single one, please subscribe here.

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Some fair images courtesy of CardCow.

 

Love begins with God…Day 1 of the First Comes Love series

God is love. 1 John 4:8  

We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19

Until we understand these simple, profound truths we won’t fully know the joy of love in our lives. We can’t receive love or love others well unless we really know the Author of love. For to know God for who He truly is, is to truly love God.

Yet how often false impressions of God create barriers between us and Him.

There was a time in my life when I thought of God as a big meanie. Shrouded in black vestments and never smiling, He was all too ready to dole out punishments in the form of multiple Hail Mary’s and Our Fathers. God surely had some of the dysfunctional and unloving patterns I witnessed at home as my wounded dad turned to drink in an effort to ease his own pain. No warm fuzzies here. And I am not sure he ever understood how deeply he was loved by the Father.

And I felt like God was a million miles away. 

I wondered if He was real and maybe up there somewhere, but ranting and raving in His anger towards me, belt in hand, and me wanting to run far away and hide from Him. Like so many times when I needed to run out of my childhood home, hiding until my dad’s drunken storm had passed.

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
1 John 4:18

I was ashamed, too, thinking I didn’t measure up to God’s standards, unworthy to receive His or anyone’s love. I had done bad, sinful things. Wrongly assuming He wanted to restrict my fun with all those bothersome rules and regulations because He just didn’t care about what I needed or wanted. I felt very alone. Decades would pass before I realized that God is crazy in love with me.

Just like He is crazy in love with you.

No matter what I’ve done or where I’ve been or even when I declared there was no God as a college freshman, God’s love for me was steadfast, unchanging and forever. And He used all of it to woo me to Himself because He wants me to share with Him a lifelong love affair that is the grandest adventure I have ever known, His heart soft and warm, oozing love.

I have loved you with an everlasting love;
    I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.
Jeremiah 31:3

Deeply and tenderly He cared for all my needs, using the pain and darkness in my life to draw me closer to Him, and in hindsight and with a heart now open, I can see His hand always there. Him always for me. Him always for you. Always. He loves me and you in the most intimate way. He knows the number of hairs on our heads and everything else about us.

You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me.
Psalm 139: 1-5

And in knowing everything there is to know about us — past, present and future — He loves us still and will never stop.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38-39

Our Father in heaven loves you, loves me. Loves each and every one of us. And that truth stands even if you may not believe it at this moment!

When I was a young woman I couldn’t wait to have babies. I wanted to have children so that I could love and care for them and so that they would love me. And this is God’s heart for us. He created us in love so that He could love us as a good Father forever. The desire of God’s heart is that we love Him back. And then that we love others like He does.

Therefore My heart yearns for him;
    I have great compassion for him,”
declares the Lord.
Jeremiah 31:20

And one of the ways that I have come to fall more deeply in love with the One that loves me best of all is by choosing to forget everything I ever learned in churches along the way or from some of the people in my life, and seek God as if I’ve just heard about Him for the very first time. The gospel accounts of the life of Christ are where I have turned to learn about our good God and His great love for us.

The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
Colossians 1:15

When I think of Jesus I think of His pure, sweet love for all He came in contact with like the woman at the well, and the woman who poured perfume on His feet, the man with the withered hand, the son that ran away wild, the shepherd king who killed his lover’s husband, the hungry multitudes, the terrified disciples tossing about on the sea, the woman who struggled with health issues for years, the ten lepers, the man whose daughter had died.

His is a love that never leaves us. Not ever.

God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
Hebrews 13:5

He is compassion, goodness, forgiveness, and I am overwhelmed with such extravagant love. And then He hung on that tree.

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
John 15:13

So I urge you to open your bible to the Gospel of John asking the Holy Spirit to show your heart how much God is love and how much He loves you. More evidence of His great love for us can be found in Little John 1, 2 and 3. Read a bit of John every day for a month. Then go on to the other Gospels.

Read the words of His love letter like it’s the first time, beloved, and…

May the Lord direct your heart into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.
2 Thessalonians 3:5

Do you doubt God’s love for you? No worries. If you will ask Him to reveal Himself and help you understand His great love for you, He will! And as you grow in His love that swallows the deepest wounds of your heart, covering them with healing grace, be amazed at how your life, marriage, future will begin transforming with true and lasting change. Be assured God will use your pain to get your attention. He loves YOU, wants to heal your heart, and desires a growing relationship with you as a true daughter or son disciple. A free mentoring session can help you begin to understand the depth and power of God’s love for you.

Sheila Kimball Mentoring encourages you to heal your heart and move forward from where you are today through an abiding relationship with God. CLICK my image now and get started on healing your heart and mending your marriage or life.

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My journey of healing includes 12 steps…

HAMMOND STAIRS

But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation. Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:8 and 11

 

My dad was a drinker.

A violent alcoholic born into a line of violent alcoholics where one more drink intoxicated to the third and fourth generations.

And it wasn’t only the ones that picked up the bottle themselves.

It’s the ones like me who can look good on the outside, but inside there’s a thousand inebriated pieces piercing my heart.

I grew up with fear as my constant companion and lots of screaming and cursing and running out of the house to get away from all the craziness. And I grew up a bit twisted, and it can be a journey of 12 steps for many miles.

HAMMOND ARCH

Jesus saved me. Jesus heals me. And thank you, Jesus, I don’t know where I would be today without You, my precious Lord.

But please, dear Christian, don’t just hand me a scripture verse when I say that I am struggling.

Allow that God may work differently in me than He does in you. And that He is a big God who has it all under His control.

Please don’t tell me “just forget the past” and everything will be fine.

Yes, there is a time to forget, for God tells us He makes all things new.

There is also a time to remember. And in remembering comes releasing and moving on, unhindered by the ghosts of the past.

HAMMOND POOL

To be fair, perhaps only someone who grew up with the chaos and dysfunction of an alcoholic or mentally ill, abusive or extremely controlling parent gets it.

For me healing has come in many ways: private prayer times, and during sermons; Christian counseling sessions and the practice of journaling.

It arises from Sola scriptura or a Christian self-help book.

And it also comes during a solitary walk in the woods or from listening to an evocative piece of music.

And I am not ashamed to say that I have also received healing from a 12 step program for Adult Children.

Someone recently told me that the Red Book, the Adult Children of Alcoholics fellowship book, is untrue.

I did not feel the need to reply for I know the Truth.

I also know the truth I lived as a child and how it has affected me into adulthood. I see my story printed in Red Book testimonials and realize that I am not alone. And I am not insane, even if my childhood was.

Reading someone else’s story helps me unravel my own and in so doing, let it go. I may not agree with every word in the Red Book, but by God’s grace and direction I can take what I need and discard what I don’t.

I know that I am a child of God, set free eternally. And I am secure in this.

But I’m also an adult child of an alcoholic who sometimes struggles with my past.  

Dysfunctional patterns of thought and behaviors that arise from that kind of childhood can trip me up in the present day.

Yet I am not blaming my past for any choice to sin in the present. Rather, this realization is an opportunity to grow more Christ-like.

I share my story because maybe your dad drank, too, or your mom was mentally ill and emotionally unavailable or maybe your uncle sexually abused you or there was some other awful messy secret in your family home.

Reading my words may perhaps shed light and help you take a further step on your own healing path.

HAMMOND WINDOW

And didn’t Jesus heal in varied and unique ways, as different as the one-of-a-kind people He was making whole?

In many instances, God called the person seeking healing to do something that may have seemed unusual like Naaman washing in a dirty river.

Earlier this year during prayer, God whispered in my ear to Google the characteristics of Adult Children of Alcoholics.

And when I did I saw a number of my own struggles clearly listed. So I found a local group that’s a good fit.

Sitting round the table in a safe and confidential venue and sharing my story with fellow sojourners who want to improve their adult lives and relationship with God and others, is an incredibly healing process the simplicity of which can almost be confounding.

And as the candles on the table cast flickering shadows, the stories in the group help chase away the shadows of my soul.

Like working out my sanctification in fear and trembling, I walk out my healing by doing that which can be a little uncomfortable or unfamiliar at first but is the very thing that Abba, our Great Physician, prescribes for me.

There is love and acceptance in this group where no one tries to fix me, blame me, shame me or tell me to get over it already.

When it is my turn to listen, my heart is touched through recognition, expanded upon through community and healed by stories, many of which are worse than my own.

I feel the Lord with me in the rooms.

And my heart, holding hard to hurts from a long time ago, softens as it realizes that the behaviors I adopted as a method of survival don’t serve me well anymore. As an adult they have caused problems in past marriages that failed. And can even create a rumble in my good marriage today.

And as I listen and learn, I let go of control.

God sobers my heart and makes it more mature, and I am better able to follow Him more closely with increasing acceptance, patience, and grace for myself and others. Not for one moment do I forget that my healing is from Him.

With just enough light for the next step, I follow the 12 steps for a season as God directs and He holds my hand along the way.

The God Man of the gospels that hung on a cross and bled out empty makes it possible for me to be filled with love’s freedom.

The One who was divinity and humanity left the tomb empty as a symbol of the fullness of His eternal power and love.

And this love of His intoxicates me with healing and joy as I journey to wholeness for a thousand generations to come…

~sheila

Adult Children of Alcoholics

With praise to God, ten years before my dad — deeply wounded in his youth — died he quit drinking cold turkey and became a much kinder, gentler person and a blessing and great help to me and my boys. God’s grace allowed for me to forgive him and I love him. I share the story of the secret I grew up with so that others may find healing from their darkness. Thank you.

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Are you a control freak? Or do you love one? {Plus a checklist of questions to help you evaluate controlling behavior}

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There is chaos in control.

And there was a time in my life when all I knew was chaos because to live meant to control.

Just about everything. Just about always.

No matter if the issue was big or small the dysfunctional dance of fear and control was always the same. What mattered was that I felt I knew best and I wanted my way, rarely allowing for noble discourse to discuss opposing sides of an issue.

And forget about respecting a husband’s headship.

I controlled because I was afraid, but I didn’t learn that till much later. I just knew that for me to feel okay about life, I needed to micro-manage everything.

Fear is the mother of control, and she births a squabbling baby that wrecks havoc and hurts hearts.

And fear, I began to realize after entering into a relationship with God and reading His word, is not from Him. Fear is from the dark side.

But as a little girl growing up in a home ruled by the darkness of alcohol, violence and fear, I learned to control what I could such as keeping my room neat as a pin, getting straight A’s in school, being super helpful and always trying to look pretty. Having control over some things helped that little girl survive the chaos and drama of those early years.

Unfortunately, little children grow into adult children who carry their survival skills with them into grown up relationships not realizing that it is safe to lay down their arms and relax into His.

For only God is in control and without Him all that exists is chaos.

But instead of looking to God when I was afraid, I played god and tried to fix and manipulate outcomes all with a highly self-interested motive of which I wasn’t even aware.

When I was a twenty-something and even into my early thirties — as are so many of us regardless of age — life was pretty much all about me.

And what I had to prove.

And if I didn’t get my way, watch out!

I would like to say this is when Jesus entered my life and everything instantly got better. But that’s not what happened. I would need a series of very difficult situations before I became willing to relinquish control.

My Elder Brother Jesus watched and waited while I spun one dizzying circle around myself after another, allowing the natural consequences of unwise choices and bad behavior to wear me out until I was ready to wave the white flag.

But not without a great amount of collateral damage along the way, the scars of which remain to to this day.

CONTROLLING WOMAN

Are you a controlling person?

  • Do you need to have all the answers right away or can you wait and see how things will turn out in a given situation?
  • Are you able to make a suggestion or share your point of view and then let it lie, or do you brow beat another until they acquiesce and do it your way?
  • As a spouse do you value give and take in your marital relationship or is it “my way or the highway”?
  • As a parent of young children do you love them unconditionally providing godly discipline, or do your precious babes need to perform for you according to a rigid criteria or a highly controlled schedule where nothing is ever good enough?
  • As a parent of young adult children living outside your home, do you believe you have the right to tell them what they should do with their lives, believing that you know what’s best and often demanding that they do as you say?
  • Can you trust God or others to take care of the details, or to take care of another person who needs help but may not want it, or do you have to handle everything yourself so it’s done “right”?
  • Can you take instruction well, or do you rebel against authority preferring to do it your way since your way is faster or “better”?
  • Do you behave in a domineering manner? Are you short tempered? Impatient? Easily irritable?
  • Is you home, work or social environment full of chaos and drama and discord? Is there lots of screaming and cursing and crying?
  • At the end of the day, do you feel peaceful or continually keyed up?

If you can answer yes to these questions then perhaps you need to ask yourself if you have an issue with control. Perhaps you need to seek help.

I have seen in my own life that when I struggle with control it is because I fear, pridefully believing that I know best. This  reveals my lack of trust in the Lord, a sinful heart condition.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6

And when we control out of fear and our lives keep spinning out of control it is ultimately because we do not understand how much we are loved by God.

For in His perfect love there is no fear and where there is no fear there is no need to control everything.

In our ignorance or willfulness we act like god, yet only He is sovereign over all aspects of our lives. Only the Lord above truly has all the bases covered. Only He knows the end from the beginning.

So fellow dust bunnies, that means we can relax and surrender to Him who created the cosmos out of chaos and us out of dust, breathing His spirit into us. And I don’t know about you, but being a control freak is an exhausting occupation.

PEACEFUL TREE

How can you overcome the tendency to control and regain serenity?

Admit that you are powerless and hand your life over to God. When you feel yourself start to quake inside and begin to act out in a controlling manner, stop and pray.

Ask God to help you. Ask God to heal you. Let the power of the risen Lord Jesus Christ free you from all that holds you back.

And then let go and trust that in His way and His time it will all work out. He will not drop the ball.

Begin each day with the Lord and speak to Him in heart prayers all through the hours. The more you know Him, the more you will trust Him. And that makes letting go easier over time, so keep up the practice of sitting at His feet as Christ sits on His throne.

And one day soon you will feel the freedom that He died to give you.

You will feel lighter, happier and life will be less difficult and frustrating.

Plus, as you relinquish control your relationships usually improve.

We often cannot see ourselves as others see us.

This is especially true for the controlling person who may control in an effort to win love or not be abandoned. This only pushes the other person away because control is suffocating. And then the controlling person may demand to know why others “don’t love me” or want to be around them.

Lay down your need to control and lock the door on your difficult, manipulative personality.

Open your heart to Him and let Him lead your life.

Stop all the breathless running and fighting. You don’t have to anymore. Jesus loves you and you are safe and those controlling coping mechanisms you developed during a stormy childhood or somewhere along your path don’t serve a purpose anymore.

So please let them go and let your loved ones off the hook of always needing to please you.

The time has come to stop being scared.

The time has come to let God…

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7

~sheila

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ABC’s for dads…26 ways to love your kids on Father’s Day and everyday

alphabet-bookshelf-for-kids

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!

 

FudgieWhaleDad

 

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!

~sheila

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A to Z and whale cake images from Bing Free Images.

 

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