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Saturday, February 6, 2010

Happy Birthday, Dad!

At my Bible study retreat several weeks ago, we watched an Andy Stanley video series called "Go Fish," focusing on evangelism. Andy asked us to write a letter to the person that led us to Christ, and tell them how thankful we are for their influence.

That person in my life was my Dad. I believe it was a Sunday afternoon in April of 1988. I was about to be seven years old, and I think I asked questions that prompted him to tell me how to have a relationship with Christ. I remember Dad emphasizing the eternal importance of my decision, and then leading me through a prayer. I also remember him telling me how proud he was of me, and that I should go tell Mom. I was baptized about a week later on Sunday, April 16, 1988.

Today is my Dad's birthday. I am so thankful for him, and here's why:

My Dad has always been the spiritual leader of my family. He made it a priority for my family to be at church on Sunday morning. He encouraged us to read our Bibles, pray, ask questions about our faith, and get involved in ministry. Dad taught me to swim against the current, and to pursue righteousness and holiness. I credit Dad with laying and cementing key bricks in my spiritual foundation.

My Dad dearly loves my Mom, and he dearly loves Ben and I. There were times when Ben and I were growing up that Dad was pulling 70 hour work weeks. However, he still managed to coach my basketball team, lead Ben's boy scout troop, help me with my math homework, and so much more. He always put us first, and I never doubted it.

My Dad always believed in me, always encouraged me. I've mentioned this before, but around nine years old, I decided I wanted to be the first female President of the United States. Some of you (myself included), are probably rolling your eyes, but Dad never did. He said, "do it." In fact, he said "do it" for anything that I expressed interest. He gave me way more credit than I ever deserved--believed in me much more than I'm capable--but it was given to me nonetheless. Dad never put limits on my success. As a result, I'm always excited to call dad with good news, especially when it involved school and now, my career. His approval means so much.

My Dad always makes me feel special. He never fails to ask me what's going on in my life, and he remembers the details. I can tell that it's important to him to be involved in my story. How extraordinary is it for a single girl to have a man in her life who loves her this much?

My Dad has a heart of gold. He is kind to the core, and aims for servanthood. Mom and I laugh because Dad always seems to find himself in situations where he is helping complete strangers, even though it may be incredibly inconvenient. But, he never complains, and I love what this says about his character.

My Dad impressed upon me the importance of mercy, grace, and forgiveness. He taught me to manage expectations with people, and to always give someone the benefit of the doubt.

My Dad was a strict disciplinarian, and set strong boundaries in his household. I was constantly challenged growing up, and Dad didn't put up with any misbehavior. But, he also knew when to bend, and when to give.

My Dad manages his family finances responsibly. He always advised me to default to saving a dollar versus spending a dollar. Dad encouraged me to open a savings account at an early age, and to live within my means. And, maybe even more importantly, he led me by example in tithing. As a result, I've always been able to joyfully follow suit.

My Dad is the funniest person I know, hands down. He has this unique ability to make me double over in laughter with the simplest facial expression. I can't be in a room with him without giggling. I get him, and he gets me.

Freud, say what you will, but my Dad is the yardstick, to which all the other men in my life must measure up.

Happy Birthday, Daddy. I love you!


Anonymous Mom said...

Dad and I are so proud of who you and Ben have become! Being a parent was and is the most rewarding job in the world. We continue to be blessed each and every day! I love you--MOM

7:03 PM

Blogger Natrudy said...

This is the sweetest post Mary Anna. I love it.

9:31 AM


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