As many of you know, my dad passed away when I was young. There are countless other people who struggle to get through each Father's Day without their dads, whether it be due to death, divorce, deployment, abandonment, mental illness, miles of separation, or some other extenuating circumstance.
Whatever the case may be, it makes for a tough day. Awkward. Painful. Silent. Lonely.
But, that's actually not what I want to write about. I want to talk about a story of redemption. A story of blessing after years of pain.
You see, I loved my dad so very much and I miss him everyday. But, even in the loss of my father, God always managed to bless me with Godly men in my life...men who cared for me as their own daughter/sister/friend.
I obviously can't list them all here but I have to give a few examples because I don't think I could ever really express how thankful I am to have had them in my life. (I'm going to try to go in chronological order)...
- My grandfathers, Ted and Ralph, for being strong, steadfast, gentle, hard working, loving, and kind.
- My uncles: Dan, Tim, Daryl, and Mike for loving my dad and being willing to tell his story or tell me that he would be proud...even when it was very difficult to say.
- My brother, Jim, for acting like a big brother even though you are younger than me! :)
- Jim Ott. He was the pastor at my church camp,and was/is an incredible example of a Godly man. I will never forget the conversation we had one summer about how I was struggling with not having my dad in my life. He told me to go read the book of Joel...what I found was that God plagued the land with locusts, and then repaid them the same number of years with blessings. That brought me so much hope.
“I will restore to you the years that the locust has eaten.” Joel 2:25
- Very appropriately next: my amazing husband, Joe. I never say enough about him, but he is hardworking, sweet, and the best dad ever. Our boys are so so lucky! He is a thoughtful and helpful husband, he is always willing to serve. He is my hero. Dream come true. :)
- Some pretty amazing guy friends: Adam, Ryan, Phil, Jon, Andrew, Dameon, Jeff...the list could really go on and and on...and could include some of their dads - i.e. Mike Babbitt! :) These guys have treated me as their sister, have done so much for our family, have been good friends to my husband, and have shown me a lot about true masculinity.
- My brother-in-law, Tony. We like to call him "the creepy man in the basement". :) Yes, he lives with us. He is hilarious, tender hearted, and we will miss him when he moves out...especially Roman and Judah...they so look forward to lunch with him everyday!
- My father-in-law, Tony. If you could dream up the best father-in-law ever, you would get Dad. Joe gets his servant's heart from his dad. He is willing to do anything for his family and you will never meet a sweeter man. He has so much character and is the best Grandpa ever. He has always treated me as his own daughter and I will never forget our "father-daughter" dance at our wedding. Cutest ever.
- Joe's uncles, for accepting me into the family!
- Fr Dennis, Fr Richmond, and all kinds of other priests that have been spiritual fathers in my life!