The Love of a Father

My husband works out of town a lot. When he flies home, the girls and I usually pick him up at the airport. Lew loves nothing more than when his girls are there to greet him with hugs and kisses. Lily and Emma go running to him, jump in his arms and give him kisses galore. He absolutely loves it. He will admit that he lives for moments like these. Being the stepfather of my girls has broadened his heart’s capacity for a whole different dimension of love.

The most recent pickup from the airport was right around Lily’s birthday. Lew asks Lily where she would like to go shopping with him for her birthday, just the two of them.

Now to give you just a little background on Lily’s thought process over the weeks prior to this event…She has been begging me to get a dog.  Lily is an animal lover and desperately wants her own dog. I keep telling her no because we just don’t have room in our lives right now for another animal. My proverbial plate is full and overflowing with living creatures to care for at the moment (2 cats, 5 fish, 4 kids, 1 husband).

So when Lew asks Lily where she would like to go shopping, with head tilted and a little smirk on her face, she declares…”I want to go dog shopping!”

Geez oh Petes! If Mom says, “No,” ask Dad, right? My eyes about roll out of my head! But I keep driving and let the drama unfold. Lew is half turned around in his seat and when she made the announcement about her choice of shopping, he put his head down and sighs out a weak, “Oh no.” He knows this is going to be bad. I can feel his distress.

“I know why you’re acting like that,” Lily says with her little pre-teen girl “I-AM-going-to-get-what-I-want” sweet as molasses voice.

“Why am I acting like this?” Lew literally groans like a cornered animal about to be eaten by a savage lion.

“Because I know you WANNA make me happy. You WANNA give me what I want. But, you guys don’t want me to have a dog, so you feel bad. You know I’m going to be sad because I can’t have what I want. But I know you WANNA make me happy.”

How’s that perception for a 12 year old? Look out Lew…

Emma chimes in, “Yeah, cause our Daddy Lew gives us whatever we want!”

Lew stares at me with a look that says, “Can you believe she just said that?”

I say to him, “Well, it’s your fault. You’re the one who has spoiled these girls and loved them to pieces. It’s because you have shown them unconditional love and adoration. They are 100% comfortable coming to you and asking you for anything their little hearts desire. These girls have you tightly wound around each of their little fingers.”

Lew is not impressed with my analysis of the situation and stews over it for days. I know he’s secretly pleased that the girls love him and know him so well. Of course, Lily did not get a dog. This queen rules supreme in our house, no matter what the princesses do to manipulate the king!

When I witness these little interactions between my children and Lew, I can’t help but compare their relationship to my relationship with God. Lew is not their father by birth, but he has taken them in as his own.  He clothes them, feeds them, shelters them, supports them and loves them. Obviously, they are so secure in his love for them, as proven by their requests for even the most outrageous things. And what can they, as children, give him in return? Love.  And that’s what Lew cherishes the most.

Our heavenly Father loves us so much.  We are the apple of His eye.  His sons and His daughters. I John 3:1 says, “Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called the children of God!”

Do you feel secure in your relationship with God today? Do you feel as if you could go to Him and ask Him for anything you need or want? What do you need from your Father today? Healing, peace, comfort, joy, finances, salvation? Go ahead and ask. He already knows what you need before you even speak it. (Matthew 6:8)

The Bible says, “Ask, and it will be given to you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man among you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask Him?”

Do you feel bold in your relationship with God? As His child, you have direct access to the throne room of God. Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

You have been given permission to ask whatever it is that you need of the Father. Jesus’ sacrifice on Calvary paid the price for everything. What is going through your mind right now? Don’t be afraid to ask. God loves you and wants to supply all your needs for you. All you have to do is ask! Philippians 4:19 says, “My God will supply all your needs, according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

And lastly, you don’t have to ask Him for ONLY things that you need, but also for that which you desire. He loves to give good things to His children. Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

How can we ever repay such a Father? By being thankful and loving Him back. Just like Lew, all God wants in return is the undying love of the children that He calls His own.

In Everything Give Thanks

One Saturday, recently, my kids and I were out and about in our town. We stopped at our local Petsmart because we all love looking at the doggies and kitties that are up for adoption each weekend from our area’s animal shelters. The kids and I spent time at each cage, talking to and petting each dog and cat. Nathan begged me for a dog. “Please, please, please, Mommy. I’ll take care of it myself.” The girls and Scott begged me for a kitten. “Please, please, please, Mommy. Midnight is lonely and needs a friend to play with. He’s sad and lonely when we’re not home.” I’m sure you can see where this is heading…we left the store with a new kitty that we named, Luna. I’m such a sucker… Now we already have one cat, a beautiful Norweigan Forest cat named, Midnight. As you can imagine, we are going through an adjustment period. Luna grew up on the streets as a stray, had 2 kittens and was rescued by the animal shelter people. Midnight, on the other hand, has lived a life of leisure and is spoiled to the max. She’s a tiny, petite little cat and Midnight is a monstrosity compared to her. I’m sure she’s a little frightened by his size and tries to show that she’s tough by growling at him, hissing and arching her back. It’s so funny to watch them interact. Midnight just looks at her with a confused look on his face. It’s like he’s thinking, “What’s your problem, lady? I didn’t do anything to you. Relax!” I’m sure they will be good friends soon.

With the addition of another cat also comes the addition of the amount of food consumed by our little feline family members, as well as the contents of the litter box. Now, I will freely admit, that I loathe cleaning out the litter box. It actually makes my eyes water and my gag reflex go nuts. Therefore, I delegate this task to whichever child is walking by when I notice that it needs cleaned. (I know, I rock as a mother.) Scott, the oldest, is usually a willing candidate for this job. I would have to say he’s become the “unofficial” designated litter box cleaner. But yesterday, I noticed that Lily, the 3rd child in line, was cleaning the litter box, without even being told or asked to. I commented to Lily on how nice it was that she was cleaning the litter box without me even telling her to and how responsible it was, etc. She said she noticed that it was all yucky now since we have two cats and she wanted it to be clean for them. “I don’t mind cleaning it,” she stated. I am SO okay with that, of course. But, what she said to me next is what I can’t get out of my mind. I just have to make it the quote of the week or something! She said, “I like cleaning the litter box, Mommy. It’s like digging for buried treasure!” I seriously laughed my head off when she said that. Leave it to Lily to find something fun and positive in a disgusting, not-so-fun situation.

Don’t you wish you could be more like that? Instead of drudging through the day moping around, dwelling on the negative, thinking about how bad a situation or task is, don’t you wish you could see the bright side of every situation you find yourself in? I want to be more like that! Isn’t it funny how God can teach us His lessons through our children?

Paul says in Philippians 4:11 that no matter what state he finds himself in, he is content. And in I Timothy 6:6 he talks about how godliness WITH contentment is great gain.

Are you finding contentment in your life today? Or are you waiting for your husband to get that new job, for more money to come in, for your children to be grown, or for you to lose that last 10 pounds to “feel” happy and content? Are you finding happiness and peace in your day to day life right now? If you’re not, then it’s time to count your blessings. Count my blessings, you say? Yes. “In everything give thanks.” I Thessalonians 5:18

When you look at what you already have, you realize you’re blessed. When you start thanking God for the house you are blessed to clean, the kids you have the privilege to raise, for the husband God has given you, you begin to see how blessed you truly are. Understanding this brings contentment and happiness in your life.

Instead of complaining about the massive mound of laundry that needs done, praise God for blessing you with an abundance of clothing for your family to wear. I thank God that we have enough clothes that I don’t REALLY need to do laundry for nearly 2 weeks, if I so desire. LOL!!!!

Instead of complaining about how your husband is always working, thank God that your husband has a job in this economy. There are plenty of families suffering financially because there is no work to be found.

Instead of losing your mind daily because your kids are fighting with each other and messing up the house and driving you BANANAS, thank God for these little blessings, these little lives He has given you, entrusted to you. I have been blessed beyond measure in this area! I wasn’t even supposed to be able to have babies, but God blessed me with 3 and a stepson, too! Thank you, Jesus for my sweet children!

Do you catch my drift? Be content no matter where you are in life and give thanks! Give thanks out loud. Speak gratitude. The more you speak it, the more you will feel it. When you feel like complaining, thank God instead.

Now, to go practice what I’m preaching…I thank God for my warm car that I have to drive, to purchase whatever food I need, at a heated, local grocery store, with money my husband has earned at his job, to bring home and cook for the family God has blessed me with, in the kitchen He has provided for me. Praise God, from whom all blessings flow!

Be blessed and have a thankful, content Thanksgiving day!