Abraham was the father of our faith. “Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed — because — he was fully persuaded that God had power to do what He had promised (Romans 4:18-22 abridged) This past week, I took the time to read extensively and to listen deeply to what the media is writing and broadcasting across the airwaves. I also read my Bible and worshiped and prayed for 3 hours every morning at my favorite chapel. Guess who I decided to believe?
Fathers call out the gifts and talents they see in their sons & daughters.
Fathers help provide resources & training for the dreams, visions, mission & destiny their children carry.
Fathers champion the call upon their children’s lives & are their biggest fan and cheerleader.
Fathers love well, discipline when necessary, and model sacrifice & servant leadership.
Fathers point to & represent God the Father in ways that grace, wisdom, faith and the Holy Spirit enable them to.
Fathers live out the highest excellence & integrity possible in all that they do.
Fathers leave a legacy to their sons and daughters & take a primary role in equipping them for success.
A few months ago, I met a dear friend of mine named Joshua for lunch at Chili’s. His excessive workload caused him to be a few minutes late which provided me with the opportunity to observe a father with his young teenage daughter who were seated diagonally across from me. After they were escorted to their table by the blonde, college-age host and then sat down, I was immediately struck by the joy and pride of having a “lunch date” with your father written all over the wiry, athletic girl’s face (my guess is she loves to run!) I could feel her anticipation in the air, like a sudden gust of wind, nudging me to listen in. What would her father say to her? What connection might they make heart to heart? Would this be one of those lifetime-memory-making moments? I joined in on her energetic expectancy by looking up from the ancient book of wisdom I was studying at my table and glanced over at them from time to time while my businessman friend’s arrival was delayed.
Then it happened. I saw her slender, chiseled face dim from its hopeful bright light to a disappointed shadow. Her father had just pulled out his smartphone and then locked his gaze and full attention upon it. When it was revealed where this prime time encounter with her father was headed, the daughter reached for her own pocket device and mimicked her father. Was this role modeling at its finest? Or was the girl shielding her heart from further rejection as she slumped down low in the booth? Throughout their forty-five minute “unhappy meal” they played a game of chess. Take a bite, then engage the dumb phone. Back and forth. Tick-tock swings the pendulum. I wanted to yank the lever on the restaurant’s fire alarm to arrest the attention of the distracted father: “Please, don’t be blind to the gift in front of you.” Seize this sacred opportunity to touch your daughter’s heart and speak into and affirm her unique beauty, identity and destiny.
Joshua arrived at half past the hour and very quickly I got lost in our lively conversation about his work and our similar faith adventures. He shared about his most recent and challenging ministry to broken and hurting youth at a camp a few hours away. I talked about the adversity inherent in my attempts to equip the next generation of leaders, visionaries and cultural influencers. I forgot all about the father and his daughter until the moment they walked awkwardly past our window full of tension on the way through the parking lot to their bright red SUV. He had chosen to talk to her now.
His facial expression seemed to indicate he had tasted something sour and hers looked almost tortured. An hour before her countenance was a brightly lit canvas just waiting for her father to paint it with extraordinary colors of affirmation, beauty, inspiration, wisdom, and loving-kindness. Instead, he had taken a black Sharpie and shaded her face with indifference, making her feel that he was almost completely absent from her heart and from her world. I am desperate to know what the parent said to his child in the parking lot. I can tell you this much — it was not what she had been longing to hear nor was it anything akin to what she dreamed a “father-daughter lunch date” would be like.
Hello, dads. We have an impossible job and I know that! But would you permit me to share a message from my troubled soul to yours. I believe our daughters are aching to hear from our hearts! They want to know how we see them; actually that we do see them. They long for us to call out their talents and cast a vision for what they can achieve. They desperately desire to hear us say they are beautiful and that we cherish them. Much of their perceived identity will often come from how WE see them and how WE speak over them. We must look closely. We must speak wisely. Like an artist, we play a monumental role in the masterpiece our daughters were created to become…
A Father’s Legacy To His Daughter
- Cherish our precious daughter like she is the most important person in the world (She is!).
- When we are alone with her, let’s give her our full and undivided attention. Especially on father-daughter dates.
- Listen to her with our whole heart.
- Tell our daughter she is beautiful. (She is! God made her in His image).
- Call out her talents. Name them and value them. Cast vision for them.
- Ask her about the dreams she carries in her heart and tell her she can achieve them.
- Champion who she is!
- Provide the resources she needs to pursue her dreams. (Specialized training and talent development where needed). Money need not be an issue. Almost anything can be found on the internet. Connect her with a professional in her field of endeavor who is also a person of rare character and integrity.
- Ask questions and listen. Don’t judge. Don’t criticize. Don’t critique. Ask and listen some more. Offer wisdom.
- Inspire her to servant leadership and helping others achieve their dreams while she is pursuing hers.
- Be our daughter’s most vocal cheerleader.
- Discipline when necessary but ALWAYS WITH LOVE.
- Be real, transparent and vulnerable. Share our life lessons; including both our successes and mistakes. Tell her stories.
- Pray with her. Introduce our daughter to the God who created her. The God who loves her perfectly and faithfully. The God who suffered horrifically and then died for her so that she could be restored to intimate fellowship with Him. The God whose wisdom is absolutely necessary for a meaningful life of purpose. The God who is always faithful; always keeps His promises; and whose ways and timing are best.
- Who we are, dads, will be the starting point for how she sees the One Who is the ultimate Father. Right away we know we desperately need God’s help to be the father He created us to be. We should ask Him for help. Daily. We ought to pursue a relationship with God as our Father and as we grow to truly know Him and to be His son — we will then become more and more equipped to be an amazing earthly father. As we learn and experience Who Father God truly is, we can share and model that for our own daughter. Yes, really, we can!
- We were created to love our daughter well and inspire her to greatness. To guide her in discovering Who God genuinely is and who He created and designed her to be. By His grace and wisdom we can do exactly that! We must remind ourselves often that love never fails. And it’s never too late to try. Each day offers all of us a new beginning…..
Fathers, let’s pursue THE FATHER with all our heart, mind, soul and strength. As we do, He will supply us with all we need to be the fathers we long to be and were created to be for our daughters.
At the end of the day, dads, our daughters do not want things. They wants US. Fully present and fully alive to them.
Let’s love them well. Listen fully. Provide, protect, and engage. Instruct and inspire.
God created us to be able to do all the above. Therefore, by His grace we can! Not perfectly. No one ever does it perfectly. Choosing a heart posture of humility fully dependent upon Him will release all the wisdom, insight, grace, power, authority and provision we will ever need. We should read His book too. Often. It’s the number one best-seller for a reason! He says: “We can do all things through Christ who gives us the strength.” (Philippians 4:13)
God the Father is cheering us on! Now, let’s go champion our daughters.
Copyright 2015 by J. Robb Kelley
From his book LIFE LESSONS: God’s Unique and Mysterious Training School
In Kansas, people keep their word. They intentionally perform everything with the highest of excellence, taking great pride with anything they are a part of. My small-town of Marysville just won the state championship in basketball, repeating the feat the girls had accomplished a few years ago and capturing the crown a second time like they did when I was in grade school there. A few weeks ago, my basketball mentor was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame alongside Bill Self and Tracy McGrady. He tutored me in many of the same character traits I had seen modeled and taught by my own father and my teachers, coaches, pastors and community leaders.
When Kansans face trials or obstacles, they do not wine, complain, or look for a handout from Entitlement Row or make excuses. They persevere, buckle down, endure and overcome. If they need help, the neighbors step in without ever being asked. If you or your friend ever found yourself in a winless streak after facing life’s curveball, knuckleball or change-up time and time again, you fiercely grabbed hold of your faith until that distressing, confusing and mysterious chapter of your life passed. And you intentionally sought to mine all the gold you could from those trials so you were then equipped to hit a home run the next time life’s filthy split-finger heater tried to make you look silly and helpless.
I absolutely cherish growing up in Kansas — and traveling, studying and working on five continents over five decades only caused me to deeply appreciate Kansas even more. I loved knowing your word and the word of another meant something. I loved knowing someone always had my back — usually several people actually. I loved the superlative joy of a hard day’s work that produced something of value and when life got especially tough — the added pride of overcoming trials and set backs to achieve something seemingly impossible or extraordinary. We respected and honored our elders in those days and they responded in kind to us. Integrity was the currency everyone pursued along with dollars and sense, not cents! We trumpeted Gale Sayers and his wing man Brian Piccolo’s motto and role modeling of: “God is first; my family and friends are second; and I am third.”
The second First Lady, Abigail Adams, summed it up perfectly: “To be good, and to do good, is the whole duty of man.”
America sure could use “a Kansas history lesson” about now. In fact, the whole world could I think. The generations following us are unconsciously crying out to see it now more than ever. Their personal behavior speaks volumes. Ultimately, it is what we do, not what we say, that makes the lasting impression and reaches the heart.
Happy Memorial Day!
The Lion of Judah is a believer’s best friend. Now that’s some amazing company…
John 15:15 New International Version
15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.
I believe in MIRACLES. They are all around us every single day. They flow from LOVE. They are expressed through FAITH. They spring from HOPE. From Father God’s extraordinary loving-kindness to us and then in us and then through us to others. Are we praying for a miracle today? Then let’s go love someone well, especially the hurting or the broken. Today is a perfect day for a MIRACLE…..
Absolutely love Tozer’s writings. “The Pursuit of God” has to be one of the most revelatory books of all time. An unschooled man who grew up poor and was self-taught through being a voracious reader, his legacy is truly eternal.
“What I am is all that need matter to you, for there lie your hope and your peace. I will do what I will do, and it will all come to light at last, but how I do it is My secret. Trust Me, and be not afraid.”
“With the goodness of God to desire our highest welfare, the wisdom of God to plan it, and the power of God to achieve it, what do we lack? Surely we are the most favored of all creatures.”