When my wife and I were first discussing when to have children, I was quick to avoid the topic (much to the annoyance of my wife). It’s not because I didn’t want kids but because I was simply unsure how soon I wanted to be a dad.
Being a dad felt like a scary proposition. Think about it…for some reason, God was going to entrust me with the privilege of raising and caring for other human beings. That scares me because I know I am not doing it perfectly, but even in that admission, I am reminded of how much I need the grace of my heavenly Father.
In fact, God’s unconditional love for me is exactly what I need to embody as I raise my two boys, Laker (our spunky, energetic, and strong-willed toddler) and Tate (our smiley, peaceful, and always-eating infant).
I’ve drawn a lot of inspiration about how God as our heavenly Father informs earthly fatherhood from Henri Nouwen’s book, The Return of the Prodigal Son. In this short book, Nouwen describes God as the all-loving author of redemption who does not just sit back as an idle character in history; instead, God, as the selfless, welcoming Father, invites me (and all of humanity) to be and remain at home with Him.
Nouwen goes to write that when we belong to God…we can live as he does. In other words, as I step farther into fatherhood, my goal is to simply belong to God more. I must remain at home with Him, learning and imitating the welcoming Father’s joyful, fully expressive love, which I feel especially challenged to embody now as a dad of two boys where most days it can feel like I am refereeing more than parenting.
So to all the dads out there, and all those anticipating fatherhood, I invite you to draw closer to our heavenly Father today. Remember, it’s through Him that you will find the strength and peace to take each day as it comes. Being a dad is a privilege and an honor in every way. I am so grateful for this opportunity, and my prayer is that all dads know how special it is give our children even just a glimpse of the amazing love our heavenly Father has for all of us.
Happy Fathers’ Day from all of us at River Valley Church!