I’ve been crying on and off all day, for two reasons:
1. I miss my Dad. I wish I could have spent today with him.
2. I live with six beautiful children. Four of whom have no idea who their Dads even are.
It’s just one of those things that sucks, you know? God is their Father, absolutely. But by not having their Dads they are totally missing out.. and I know this because I have 23 years of silly memories with the man I call Daddy, and if it weren’t for this man I call Daddy I really don’t think I would understand as well as I do the way God loves us as a Father.
T is nine, she lives next door and she recently asked me, “Did you meet your Dad?” just like that: in a weird verb tense which implies that meeting your Dad is only something that happens once in your life. That makes five out of seven children who don’t know their Fathers… and there are many more kids in this ministry who have the same issue.
And it is an issue. Fatherless. That word is in the Bible SO many times, and it’s almost always, if not always, accompanied by a mandate from God saying “Care for the Fatherless!” Today in church I was sitting next to our 17 year old, whose biggest dream is to meet her Dad, when the pastor said something about children without Father’s having damaged hearts, which made me angry because I was feeling protective of the girl beside me and how she was feeling, but it is true. It is so true. God created us to need our Moms & Dads.
There’s a man in our church here who has a lot of love for our seven year old boy, J. I was with our two boys in town one day when we ran into this man, and he was so excited to see us and be able to buy the boys some juice & snacks. They had already had snacks but the whole situation was too sweet for me to say no, because I could see it: God providing a Father figure for one of our Fatherless children. Because that’s how He rolls, dawg… He loves us so well.
I used to ride around all the time in my Dad’s truck, windows rolled down, dog in the back, out in the country on the way to Gramma’s house.. and my Dad would always start a game with my sister & me that goes something like this: “first one to see a red barn (or brown horse, or white house, or black dog..) wins!
And I used to accompany my Dad to the video rental store… and every time I would pick the same movie, over and over and over again: Cinderella. And he would let me, every single time.
And I have seen my Dad go to work every day to teach kids who don’t want to learn, but who do swear, and do fight, and do talk back, and do sleep through class, and have even brought guns to school. But my Dad has committed his career to being someone that accepts and believes in these kids, and they love him because he has loved them.
J and I were on a bus a few weeks ago, just watching all the cool cars go by, when I thought of my Dad and I said “Let’s play a game! Whoever sees a cow first wins..” and he loved it.
And every single time we want to watch a movie J screams “CARS!” and uses his persuasive skills to convince everyone else that’s exactly the movie they want to watch too. And I remember Cinderella and my Dad, and I let him watch it.. over and over and over again.
And here I am with these kids… who are beautiful and I love them, but sometimes they scream insults at me, and tell me I’m fat and my breath stinks and to go back to my country or better yet to go to hell, and pull out my hair, and refuse to eat my cooking, and leave bruises on my body. But I’ve seen my Dad refuse to give up on his difficult kids, and so with a whole lot of God’s help I do the same.
I still think it’s sad and sucky that these kids don’t know their Fathers… but I also know that I am a better caretaker to them because of the Dad God has given me. Fo Sho.
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The artwork below is something one of our four-year-olds drew: it says “My Mommy, & My Dad (I don’t have a Dad)” and the picture is me with my Dad: the man who gave me my Ojibwe name, Bineshii (Little Bird).