Wednesday, April 17, 2013

F is for Father


Again today, I need to shout-out to The Practicing Catholic (my friend/former colleague’s blog) for inspiration. Lisa wrote about Pat Gohn’s newest book, “Blessed, Beautiful, Bodacious: Celebrating the Gift of Catholic Womanhood.” Pat discussed what it means to be a daughter, the gift of fathers, and the gift of being a daughter of The Father. It’s a great 10 minute listen.

Have you listened? Great. Here are the items that stood out to me:

A beloved daughter knows she has been chosen, is highly regarded, and much loved. It is a deep blessing to trust a parents’ love. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, parental love has a deep impact on how someone will respond to the love of God the Father. Parents are the first representative of God for man. Though human parents are fallible, God is the origin of human mothers and fathers, yet transcends them.

I have been blessed to have great parents. I have been really blessed to have a wonderful relationship with my dad. Since college, people have commented on the relationship my dad and I have. I trust him. I look to him for wise counsel, for a good laugh, for encouragement – to protect, to provide. I know that when I call him and ask for his take on a situation, he will be honest and fair, judicious and discerning of the situation. I love my dad. I love making him laugh when I say witty things. I love the way he says “Hey there, kiddo!” when I call on the phone.

I love making him proud. The other day on Facebook, he shared my “day C” post, stating “From my daughter, in whom I am well pleased.” Even two-thousand miles away, that man knows how to make me feel loved.

Is my dad perfect? Of course not; he isn’t God. But the way that my dad built a relationship with me definitely has influenced, and led me into a relationship with God, my Father. I have always felt that when my heart is troubled and I am in need of answers that I could turn to my dad. In middle school, I was troubled by a lot of “what if” questions. By nature, I’m an anxious soul. My dad is, by nature, a night owl. His office was in the basement; so was my bedroom. I’d lie awake unable to sleep and would walk into the office and pose my questions. He would consider; he would answer. I don’t recall that he ever said, “That’s stupid, Jessica. Go to bed.” He was patient. He took time. …and I learned that I mattered; that my concerns were his; that I could trust him with my heart, my soul, my deep anxieties. This made it much easier to transition into a relationship that trusted God the Father.

One of the most profound ways that my dad spoke truth to my heart was my freshmen year of college. You know that moment in college where you are trying to find your place? You are ‘trying on’ different ways of living…and I was flailing. I bought into the deception that partying every weekend was the epitome of college of life, and chasing after boys would eventually lead to love. My dad sent me a letter one weekend in February, thanking me for coming home that weekend to stay with my brother. Then, he expressed some concerns that he had for me, as a father, knowing that most college guys have anything but honorable intentions. The line I remember distinctly is that he treasures that light that I bring to life – and “that light is catching, so don’t put it out.”

A well timed letter that reminded me who I am, the worth I possess, and to the purpose I am called. I have often wondered how I could be such a strong-willed woman, able to know unwaveringly who I am, whose I am, and what that means to my daily life. I realize now that so much of that is due to the influence of my dad.

How did he do it? I’m not even sure if he knows. By the grace of God may be the only answer that comes close.  We know that the will of the Father is to draw all to Himself, that all may know Him and relate to Him.  How generous of Him to use fathers to accomplish this.

Thanks, Dad. All my love, always.

1 comment:

Lisa Schmidt said...

So beautiful, Jess! May God continue to bless this inspiring father-daughter relationship.

You are Blessed, Beautiful and Bodacious ... you know that, right?! :)