As an aspiring father (Lord willing) one day, I hope to love and serve my children as God has done for me. The more I see God in His word, the more I understand His expansive and unconditional love for the world. This love overflows in my heart, longing for the day it can be poured out on my own children.
I've had the privilege and honor of being raised by one of the greatest men on earth. He isn't perfect, but I can confidently say that he has shown me the grace of God.
Following his example in this unusual season of life, I attempt to "raise" the nine high-schoolers the Lord has given me to oversee. This ongoing experience has stretched and grown me in many ways. Every day is a new adventure and the challenges seem to be endless. More than ever before, gratitude for my parent's love, grace, and mercy, for me and my four other brothers resound daily in my heart.
The love of a father is vitally important. The father's love should expel all fear, and point to the One who is Love: Jesus.
Below are anonymous letters written to their fathers from friends, students, and staff members.
I don't think I'd be able to thank you enough for the sacrifices you have made for the family. Thank you for loving me through my hurt, trials, and for being a crucial part in my healing. Seeing the way you have loved Mama through all seasons has shown me the kind of love that I should pray for a husband. I know it hasn't been easy but thank you for being a devoted husband, faithful father, and for loving your family as Christ does. I love you Dad. –Female, age 22
Were you really so unhappy with me that you could forget me and go on living your life as if I never existed? For so long, I sought the affection and approval from males underserving of my live to fill that hole you left behind. It took me years to understand my value and my worth and that though my father and mother forsake me, my Lord shall keep me. But I can't help but wonder how differently my life would be had you been there to show me what a love of a father looked like. –Female, age 27
I wish that I could see you every day. I'm looking forward to seeing you soon. Sometimes it's hard that we are away from each other. This separation has caused me to value you more. Also, thank you for loving me limitlessly. I love you very much. You are my hero, always and forever. –Female, age 29
I wish that you cared more about me, to know me, and to know my deepest fears, dreams, and burdens. I wish that you would stop choosing to abuse and manipulate the family and me. I wish that one day I would be able to have dinner with you and not see you lust after every woman that passes by. My prayer for you is that all the lies and lusts you have would be put to silence by the Father's love. Everything you aren't my Heavenly Father is, and I consider it a great joy that Jesus gets to fill those voids. –Female, age 16
I love you so much. I want you to know that no matter any struggle you're going through, that God will always love you no matter what...even if you fall! The love you showered on me from when I was born makes me the young lady I am now, and you taught me so much throughout my life. –Female, age 15
Thanks for all the things you have done for me. You stayed patient and helped me though one of the hardest times of my life. Even through the times we fought and the times you almost lost me, you stayed persistent in love in many different ways. The example you've set me has helped me be a better person spiritually and physically. –Male, age 15
Thank you, Dad, for your time you have put into me. Dad, I love you so much. Thank you for correcting me when I needed it even though I didn't like it at the time. I understand now that I needed it. Thank you for trusting me to be where I am now. Thank you for being the best father. I love you, Dad. –Male, age 14
To my Daddy,
Thank you for introducing me to Jesus and the richness of His Word. Thank you for teaching me to pray and to seek His presence daily. You've molded what it looks like to be a servant to all and to live with opened surrendered hands and heart. Thank you for teaching me to be a daughter to our King. –Female, age 23
By reading these letters, I hope to encourage fathers and future fathers to seek the Lord for wisdom, strength, and love for your families. May God equip, provide, and bless you as you seek to represent His love.
Aaron serves in Murrieta, CA and is a pastor at Cross Culture Ministries and is also the director of On The Edge.
Aaron Sabio's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/aaron-sabio.html