This is the best Father’s Day I’ve ever had. There are many reasons why, but I want to highlight a few.

My marriage is more wonderful than ever

[pullquote_left]I could not have married a more perfect woman for me. I knew her before I even knew her. I knew she could be trusted.[/pullquote_left]I can’t tell you the joyful peace I sometimes feel when my wife and I are united in love and purpose. It is discovering a fulfillment you didn’t know you longed for. I am so grateful that Heather is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh. We are one, and I’m so blessed to experience her. I could not have married a more perfect woman for me. I knew her before I even knew her. I knew she could be trusted.

My father’s heart is growing

This has been the year that compassion for the fatherless has sprung out of the earth of my heart. I am moved with compassion for those who have been robbed of a father. Children are the most innocent victims. They do not choose nor deserve to be abandoned. They had no influence over the faithfulness of their parents. These precious ones learn to understand the world in a crippled emotional state, robbed of the vital love and protection and discipline God created to be essential for proper growth and maturity.

[highlight1]It’s not good enough for the Church to FEEL bad for the orphans and the fatherless. ACTIVE love (i.e. actually doing something) is required.[/highlight1]

I appreciate my father more than ever

Now I know what it means when a father tells his son how proud he is of him. I have been a father for two and a half years. I have one more year of experience feeling the emotional surges and strains on my heart. I experience deep, powerful pleasure from the loving expressions of my daughter. I am rich because my heart is full of these moments of affection.

The words of affirmation my father has given me make even more sense today than ever before. Because now I have a context. Now I know what it means when a father tells his son how proud he is of him. I feel that same pride and affection for my daughter, and it is warmth to my heart.

It is my experience that greeting cards and American traditions call for a Hollywood version of expressing appreciation. I don’t want to say grandiose things that either aren’t true or aren’t quite as epic as we tend to make them sound.

My dad is a real man who has chosen to really sacrifice for his family and has also chosen to focus on the joys of having a family rather than to be bitter or absent or self-absorbed. He’s NOT perfect, and that’s why his life has meaning. He’s given of himself WHILE being imperfect and lacking, and he’s shown me what it means to apologize, to be kind, to forgive, and show affection without regard to false dignity.

But there’s something else. I now know what it means to go to great lengths for a child who doesn’t really appreciate the sacrifice. This is the truest expression of fatherly love I know: to give joyfully without expectation of appreciation. May God richly bless my father for giving when it wasn’t appreciated.

But what about you?

I want to close with a sincere offer. If you’re reading this and you don’t know what it means for a father’s heart to be a source of joy and rich love, send me your story. I will only share your stories with my wife – and I’ll keep them anonymous. I will pray over you and ask God to send someone to be the expression of Father’s love to you.

No one should go without the experience of a father’s love. It is strength. It is identity. It is the glue that helps us stand firm when tempted to doubt.

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