Faith, Parenting

My Dad’s Legacy

I love women so much, but today I find myself incredibly grateful for the men in my life.  Do you have any guys in your life who just make you a better person, mom, woman?

This morning, as I was stressing about whether or not the kids would like the sandwiches I was packing for their lunches, my husband walked over to me, gave me a bear hug, and simply said, “You’re a good mom.”  Bless this precious man.  He cut through all my feelings of inadequacy and mental flogging.

Then two hours later, after dropping kids and backpacks off and driving circles all over the county, my dad invited me for coffee, and I had face time with the guy who’s responsible for all the faith inside me that steers my life, all the Bible verses tangling around inside my soul, all the love I feel for Jesus.  He probably would tell you he really didn’t do that much.

Here’s what I saw, every morning of my life.  I plodded down the steps and into the kitchen and saw him every morning, with his Bible spread open in front of him, a pen, a ruler, and a really cool yellow highlighter with a skinny end and a fat end.

Every morning was the same.  Dad, Bible, reading while I crammed breakfast in my mouth and glanced at For Better or For Worse and Calvin and Hobbes in the funnies in the newspaper.

He didn’t ever preach any of it at me.  He didn’t start reading out loud so I’d hear what he was reading.  He just sat there with his Savior, and I watched.  Sometimes I asked questions.  He modeled this quiet life of getting with God and reading His words, and with those big, observant eyes of a child, I noticed.  I took it all in and these quiet mornings influenced me more than any conference or retreat or song with hand motions, although obviously hand motions are completely the bomb and a personal fave.  Long live hand motions.

Whenever I’d hit something in the Bible that I didn’t understand or that threw me for a curve, I’d ask my dad and we’d talk.  We had these great conversations where I learned to read for myself and figure out what I thought about everything.

He didn’t tell me what to think, but he taught me how to discover what I think.

Now that I’m a parent, I’m struggling to find the time and the brain capacity to get into the Bible every day.  With small children and this season of upheaval at home, I’m so far from highlighters and organized study.  Can anyone relate?  It’s so hard amidst backpacks and lunches and permission slips and shoelaces.  But.  One thing that I continue to fight for each morning is that time with my Bible.

I used to try to grab a few verses in private, but then I remembered my dad and how significant it was for me to see him with his Bible every day.  Now I perch on the end of our counter with my Bible, devotional, and a pen.  As my kids swirl around me and we get ready for school, I sit down with my faux-buttered faux-toast and plant my eyeballs on a few verses.  Sometimes I read them again and again until my foggy mommy brain can take them in, but each day I try to start with my God, my Bible, and these few stolen minutes.

I hope I’m passing on my dad’s legacy to my own kids who will learn to open their Bibles and read the words for themselves, wrestle and figure out what these words mean in their lives.  I see my husband, my huggy, affirming husband, passing on another legacy as he takes our girls on separate daddy-daughter dates this weekend.

I love these men in my life.  The one who taught me to read for myself and still takes me on coffee dates, and the one who believes in me and is raising up another generation of daughters who feel loved by their dad.

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