My fears grow each day. My panic mode goes into effect at least once a week. Not because I fear she will make the wrong choices, not because I’m afraid she will fail, not because I’m nervous and don’t feel I can handle things. I panic because each time I look at her, an alarm inside my heart goes off that simply says, “You’ve been entrusted to raise her, to show her the way, to show her God’s way, to prove to her God is real through your faith, to show her how a mom and dad love each other and to display godliness and holiness in your actions, your speech, and your direction.” These things make me panic. These things make me feel unworthy while at the same time feeling like I’m privileged for some reason.
My oldest daughter, who is an amazing young lady. She is a girl with dreams and a girl who is who she is…like it or not. What you see is what you get with her. I love that. I love that 13+ years ago God knit her together in her mother’s womb so that we might have the honor of being presented with her on the day she came into the world.
I often picture God standing there as my girls came into the world. Kind of like when you buy your kids something great for Christmas and you can’t wait for them to open it because you know the look on their faces will bring you great joy. God…the creator of all things. The one who placed the stars in the sky. The one who created the smallest insect and the largest animal. That same creator is giving me a gift that is bigger than those things. How could this be.
One day, she will be all grown up. She will move out, go to college, get a career, get married and have kids of her own. When that day comes have I taught her the things of God, have I showed her real faith, have I shown her how she is to be treated and how she is to treat others? Have I done enough? Those questions do and will continue to resound through my mind for the rest of my life.
I’m writing all this down because I’ve noticed a change over the past few months. This little girl, my little girl, who used to run to me and jump in my arms and beg me to throw her in the air, this little girl is growing up. She’s a teenager now. She’s no longer that little girl. She is now a young lady who thinks for herself. She is young lady who loves to make people happy. She is a young lady with convictions. She is an example of purity, an example of love and an example of kindness.
It’s amazing that 13 years ago, when we named our oldest daughter, we jokingly said we named her because we needed mercy because she was a tough little kid to deal with. She was a difficult baby and wore us out as new parents. Today, I think back on that name that God led us to and realize that name wasn’t for us…it was who she was. Her name is Mercy. The name Mercy means “Compassion.” When God was standing there (in my mind) giving us this gift, little did we know he was giving us a child who would grow up to show compassion, to show love, to show mercy to others. She loves to give. She loves to make people who are hurting feel better. Her heart breaks when people (or animals) are being mistreated. She is absolutely one of the greatest blessings in my life. It is my honor to be called her dad.
Father’s Day is this weekend. I challenge all dad’s to reflect on your kids. To look at them and think about the gift they truly are to you. You should feel honored this weekend not because you may get a cake or a card or a gift, but because you were chosen, by the ultimate Father in heaven, to be that example every kid needs in their lives. Happy Father’s Day to all who are worthy to be called daddy.