I consider myself to be one of the lucky ones. My parents will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary next year! I never knew the pains of divorce. I never even thought about it until I married my husband, who came from a divorced home.
As children, we take parents for granted. They are just always there. They feed us, clothe us, comfort us… A person never fully realizes the amount of self-sacrifice a parent goes through for their children until that person has a child of his or her own.
My father began practicing self-sacrifice as a child. He was the youngest in a large family. His parents were sharecroppers in the deep South. It was a hard life that was made even more difficult by the fact that my grandparents spoke only Cajun French. When my Dad was in the eighth grade, his father suffered from a disabling stroke. Because he was the only child left at home, my Dad quit school and went to work to support his parents who had aged prematurely due to their poverty and labor.
By eighteen, my Dad had bought his first house. At twenty-five, he married my mom. Together they raised four daughters and started a plumbing business. My grandparents lived nearby and were always watched over by their youngest child.
Life was pretty routine. Dad worked Monday through Friday. Mom gave up a nursing career to stay at home and raise the children. She cooked and cleaned during the work week. Saturdays, Dad was fixing things, working in a garden; still not relaxing. Sundays were different. We all went to 10:00 am mass. After mass, we visited Mom and Pop. After the visit, Dad took us out for lunch. When we returned home, Dad relaxed. He took the seventh day off.
My Dad was the man of the house. He expected his girls to be respectful of all adults and he made the final decisions of the household. Of course his decisions were based upon my mother’s influence. He was the disciplinarian. We knew our place. Our parents were the parents; we were the children. If we were spanked or punished, it was with love and out of love for us. In those days you just did not question your father!
I know my parents had times when they must have struggled. I am sure my parents’ marriage had good moments and some not so good moments. But they kept us oblivious to any stresses or concerns. When times were really tough, we girls were unaware of any problems. We were allowed to be children; care-free, filled with wonder and faith. What a gift.
I can thank my earthly father for my relationship with my heavenly Father. My Dad taught me to honor my Father and follow His guidelines and His good book. I know that He created me. He actually formed my soul and He has a plan for just me. I know that all I have to do is surrender myself to His will. There will be suffering and bad times in my life. I have faith that these times only draw me closer to my Father, who only sends what I need out of love. Loving my Dad made loving my heavenly Father so easy!
There are many children who are not as lucky. For many different reasons, they are growing up with little time spent with their earthly father, or have no father at all. These kids long for that father figure in their lives. It is so important they find that connection with God the Father. They need to understand His love and mercy for them.
1 John 3:10 “This is what love is: it is not that we have loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the means by which our sins are forgiven.”
People very often take their heavenly Father for granted. Worship can become routine. We go church, say our prayers, call upon the Lord when we are in need. Take a moment to really ponder the greatness of our God. If one really understands all the wonderful things the heavenly Father does for each of us, then worship becomes true worship. We can be care-free children, full of faith and awe. We can face each day and each struggle with confidence and strength, because we know that our FATHER KNOWS BEST!