Friday, June 13, 2008

Fathers We Honor You

Fathers, we honor you.

I dreaded Father's Day for years. I wanted no reminders of my father, and looking at the loving relationship of fathers/daughters just made me yearn for what was never mine. My birth home was dysfunctional by anyone's description. I have no memories of my father since he moved out when I was four. Unfortunately he died when I was ten, so I never had the opportunity to reconnect with him as an adult. In my thirties I began a quest to learn all I could about my Dad. Through photographs and family stories I have a sense of some of his best characteristics.

Through prayer and counselling I am at peace with my father. Psalm 27:10 written by King David was a breakthrough scripture in my recovery: " When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up." I was tied up in emotional knots when I was four. By court order, my father had to leave my mom and me. My mom was overwhelmed, and she needed extensive residential medical care. So, to that 4 year-old only child, Mommy and Daddy had abandoned her. Recalling Psalmist David's word, forsaken; I must have felt like I was forsaken. The 4 year-old brain has no way to process the absence of both parents and never going "home" again. I did bounce back to become a healthy toddler. As the Lord did take me up; I was loved and compassionately cared for by my maternal grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. My mother recovered to be a strong single parent in a time when she was a rarity.

In I Samuel 16 the prophet Samuel is led by the Lord to go to Bethlehem to Jesse's home to anoint the next king of Israel. Jesse gathered seven of his sons for the momentous event. Verse 11 "Are all your sons here?" asked the prophet. Perhaps Jesse usually sent David to a far away sheep pasture and rarely considered him for significant occassions: out of sight, out of mind. Samuel sent clear instructions prior to his arrival: Gather all your sons together. What part of "all" didn't David's father get?

When this Bible verse came alive to me everything in my life was transformed. I do not feel deprived or left out. I know God as Father as well as Savior.

Never do I read in David's writings any negative words directed to his parents. Why would he? He was convinced the Lord took him up when he was forsaken by his father.

So, this weekend my desire is for all of you to think of the good and honorable things about your father, the father of your children, and all the fathers in your life. I’ll begin this time of honor with my proclamation, “Dad, I honor you because you were a strong innovative worker. The world needs faithful trustworthy capable workers and you were that. I salute you, Dad.”

Randy Kilgore wrote this on the Marketplace Moments website yesterday:

“What makes our labor holy, what makes it eternal, is not just the work but the state of our hearts while performing that work. When we comprehend that truth, then we realize washing dishes is as significant to the Kingdom as operating on a patient; driving a truck is as eternally triumphant as leading a company. Then, even in the zig-zags of our careers, when life seems more random than ordered, when it feels like we're running in thick mud with heavy boots, we can rest in the knowledge we're serving God as we labor faithfully and diligently."-- Randy Kilgore, Marketplace Moments

Honoring your parents is directly connected to living an abundant thriving life. Growing up I worried about the 5th commandment, "Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee." Honor means what? So much "stuff" had happened in my childhood that I was very confused about exactly what the Bible meant by honor. Fearing I was failing in honor, I didn't expect a long life. Most people get depressed when they hit thirty. I was jubilant because I had exceeded my expectations of longevity. Now, in my sixties I desire to honor my Mom, Peggy, and my Dad, Melvin. I delight to thank God for both of them being my parents. I see great things in them; and this will be my focus in remembrance of them. These honorable qualities will be told to their descendants for generations.

This weekend honor your Father. As you do, may you thrive and your days be long.

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© 2008 Kay Martin

Thrive In Christ

Who I Am In Christ by Neil Anderson

For several months we will center on this book to pursue Thriving in our Christian journey.

Neil challenges us with: "Do you know who you are in God's eyes? We are no longer products of our past. We are primarily products of Christ's work on the cross. Who we are determines what we do.

You are not who you are in Christ because of the things you have done, you are in Christ because of what He has done. He died and rose again so that you and I could live in the FREEDOM of His love."

That's just the introduction. More to follow.