Father to the fatherless

“Mommy, I made daddy a mug at school for Father’s day, I can’t wait to give it to him!” 

Completely caught off guard, hands full of lunch boxes and back packs. Another morning grind, barely keeping it together, and in a hurry to make it to school on time. Deep breath, how do I do this? How do I look into those big blue eyes so full of joy and completely break his heart. How do I navigate the innocent grief of a four year old, who just plain misses his daddy.

I slowly slid the backpacks on the front seat and closed the passenger door, “wow Jet, that’s so special! I wish so badly you could give it to him, he would love it buddy.”

Without skipping a beat he already knew what to do, “Daddy is going to be so happy, I am going to take it to heaven with me when I die.”

I picked up Brave and gently sat him in his car seat, tears streaming down my face, and head spinning. I wanted to skip past this moment, I wanted to offer some easy answer like, “uh huh, that’s great,” or “sounds good buddy.” But I didn’t, I couldn’t, I had to tell him the truth. I closed Brave’s door, bent down on my knees and stared into those big blue eyes, my Jet, he looks the most like his daddy, so crazy handsome. 

“Buddy I am so sorry, but we can’t take anything with us when we die. I wish we could babe. Daddy would love the mug you made him. I am so sorry he isn’t here for you to give it to him. It hurts my heart too, we all miss him so much.” 

Jet didn’t have an answer this time, just tears. I pulled him in and held him tight, both of us crying, grieving, hurting, hating our reality together, wishing we could just make it go away. 

It isn’t just the one day it’s all the days leading up to the day. It’s the advertisements on the radio, the commercials on TV, the aisles lined with cards and gifts, the crafts at church and school, the matching T-shirts with cheesy catch phrases, “Rad like dad,” proudly displayed at the mall. Each one a bold reminder of who is missing this year and how this day is different now.

But today we made a new Father’s day memory, one we can look back on every year. 

I don’t think it’s any coincidence that we just so happened to be in Israel this week. And I don’t think it’s by chance that today just happened to be the day we would have the opportunity to be baptized in the Jordan River, the same place where Jesus declared His love for His Father. 

It’s not a coincidence, it’s a beautiful gift. God knew this day would hurt, and He wanted it to be different. Not because we’re special, or because we deserve it at all, but because He is full of grace and love. 

So today we threw on some baggy white robes and walked hand and hand into the water to receive the beautiful gift of redemption. It was my absolute honor to baptize Jethro and Smith to Father on Father’s day. The Father who loves them even more than Andrew ever could. The Father who knew them before they were born and will be with them wherever they go. The Father they can always count on no matter what life throws their way. I am so grateful for the gift we received today, a powerful new Father’s day memory.

If this day and the days leading up to today bring pain and grief to your heart, I just want you to know you are not alone and I am so deeply sorry. I hate it for you just as much as I hate it for my family. Everyone deserves to have an epic earthly Father, but the raw truth is this place is broken. Dads aren’t always as invincible as we would like them to be and sometimes they get sick, or walk out, or let us down. But we serve a God who will never let us down. He sees you today, and if you’ll let him, He wants to write a new redemption story in your life too.

“To the fatherless he is a father. 

To the widow he is a champion friend. 

To the lonely he makes them part of a family. 

To the prisoners he leads into prosperity until they sing for joy. 

This is our Holy God in his Holy Place!”

(Psalm 68:5 TPT)

You are seen, you are heard, and you are loved.

In it together,