“Children’s children are the crown of old men; and the
glory of children are their fathers”
As I think of my father today on his birthday, my mind goes
to a snippet of my memory when, as a boy, I remember noticing his shadow on the
ground. I remember noticing how long his shadow was and how that when I stepped
into it, I disappeared. Today that memory makes me think of that shadow as a
pattern, a model. Yes, a shadow isn’t the same as the real person; it is only a
representation. Shadows easily hide the frailties and the blemishes of the real
person. However, it depicts what the real person is like and gives us a
starting point; a reference if you will.
More importantly, the shadow tells me the real person is there.
Then there is the spiritual representation in the shadow. As
I think of my dad, these thoughts fit in his influence on me:
First, it speaks to me of the importance of walking in the
light. One cannot possess a shadow if he is not near the light. Jesus is the
Light of the world. I am thankful to know that my dad’s influence on me was
based on his close relationship with Christ.
Secondly, in order for his shadow to be accessible to me, he
had to be near me. Influence comes from the same root word as influenza.
You catch influenza or the flu by being close to someone who has it. I am
grateful for so many memories of my dad (and mom) BEING THERE. One of the
greatest things I am thankful for is going to church as a family. I am so
thankful for being brought up in church. I laugh at people when they say, “I
used to go to church when I was a kid.” As if to say that now that they are
grown up, they don’t need it. What a joke! No one ever outgrows going to church
– no one ever outgrows the Bible! What an absurd concept! The truth is, it is a
Godless concept. So I’m thankful for the spiritual guidance of my dad (of
course my mom also)! And even though we are now separated geographically, his shadow still touches me!
So this year on my dad's birthday I center on the gratitude for a father
who knew the importance of his shadow – physically, emotionally, and most of all
spiritually! Dad, your shadow
(influence) has impacted what I will do and what I will not do, what I say and
what I won’t say, where I go and where I won’t go, and basically, who I am –
especially who I am for the glory of God.
Well, it is hard to believe, but the time has come that our
daughter, Katie, is graduating from high school. It doesn’t seem that long ago,
as we were renovating the church auditorium – fastening down the last few
church pews to finish – that on the next Sunday morning, Sandra would give
birth to our second child, a little girl we named Katelyn Nicole.
So many events have filled the time between that Sunday in
1996 and the Spring of 2014 – many great times, many fun times, many happy
times, and a few hard times. I’m thankful that Katie has some great memories of
big events as well as small ones. Small
things like the foam disc wars our family would have with those battery-operated
shooters, the rubber band fights in the living room, running cars down the
basement steps on the home-made ramps or the hot wheel tracks. She had just as
much interest and just as much fun as her big brother, Michael. Of course none of us will ever forget the good times we had with Buddy, our Black Lab.
And none of our
family members will ever forget the development of a star softball pitcher or
the lightening serve of a volleyball.
It was exciting to see an 8th
grader pitch a 45 mph “drop ball” (equivalent to 60 mph in baseball) on the varsity
team to help bring home the regional trophy...
then do it again the following
year, only as a 9th grader, bringing the heat with a 55 mph pitch (80
mph in baseball).
Our elation was
equally matched with sadness for her high school career to be cut short due to
having MDI (multi-directional instability) – a fancy name for a loose shoulder.
With hopes of diminishing the pain, she
chose to try surgery. Unfortunately, the surgery didn’t
help. A surgery that paled in comparison to what she experienced through her
journey and God-given victory over a brain tumor at the age of 10 (http://www.katiehealth.blogspot.com).
Thankfully, she doesn’t remember most of the details surrounding that event.
However, she does know that the Lord worked a mighty miracle in her body and
she gives Him the glory for that victory.
Now she has come to the end of this segment in her life’s
journey, with the eagerness as well as the excitement of the unknown details of
the segment to come. I pray that as she enters this portion of her life that
she keeps in mind: #1-She is loved eternally by her Lord and Saviour Jesus
Christ and that He has a perfect plan for her life. I pray that she will love
Him with all her heart and soul and mind, and that she will serve Him with her
whole heart her entire life. #2-The love her mom and dad have for her is second
only to the love God has for her, and we are here for her to give her continued
love, support, encouragement, and Biblical counsel. We look forward to sharing in the joy of God’s
future blessings. #3-Her big brother, setting aside the entire “big brother” nuance,
loves her and will always be willing to step into the role of “body guard” and/or
confidant. #4-We owe Katie much thanks for being a fantastic big sister to God’s
extra gift to our family, Abbie.
And yes, Michael has been an awesome big
brother. We know those two wanted another dog, but we have to admit, this was
another one of those times that the Lord exceeded – WAY EXCEEDED our
expectations! And the Lord used Katie’s experience with being a BIG help with
Abbie to turn her to a desire to care for children. As soon as Katie graduates,
she will begin working as a full time Nanny; caring for the children of a very nice
family. I know she will do well.
Of course, Katie will continue to live here at home for as
long as the Lord wills. In fact, her mother and I will be fine with her living
at home until the Lord brings her to the place where she gets married. Of course that will happen after her and her fiancé
receive a few years of pre-marital counseling. (JK) Well, after the Lord reveals who that fiancé is, then a courting period, then
the pre-marital counseling (really it only lasts a few months). In the mean
time, she will continue to serve the Lord here in our church family at FRMBC
through music and singing, as well as prayerfully developing other gifts and
abilities the Lord has blessed her with.
Katie – we love you and we are so thankful for the young
lady you have become. Keep growing in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour
Jesus Christ. Our prayer and desire for you is found in two Scripture passages:
Proverbs 3:5-6 5 Trust in the Lord with
all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In
all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
Romans 12:1-2 1 I beseech you therefore, brethren [Katie], by the mercies of God, that ye
present your bodies [body] a living
sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the
renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and
acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
(bold = my emphasis) We love you Katie, and we are very proud of you!