I turned fifty years old the beginning of the month. I tried to let the event come and go quietly, but those who call themselves friends couldn’t let that happen. I’m not sure how the tradition began but fifty seems to be one of those milestone moments when we find special ways to tell someone how very old they are. Well, it seems I have lots of “friends” who are quite creative with how they communicate – thanks for the “Golden Years” vitamins and the slip on things that help with those embarrassing leaks.
My wife did her part with keeping the “Old” theme going, but she also did something very special. She organized a memory book which contained cards and letters from lots of friends and family. These same people who took many opportunities to remind me that my productive years are probably gone, also took the time to write cards and letters filled with encouragement and love. I have good friends and a great family!
A note which caused these old eyes to blur and fill with tears came from my 24 year old daughter, Melissa. I met Melissa when she was four years old. Her mother and I had both come out of very difficult marriages and were living in the same housing complex. I had two children and Sherry had Melissa. Sherry and I dated, fell in love and decided to bring our families together in marriage. Blending families is extremely difficult – but that’s a message for another time. I just needed to give you some background so you will understand the note.
Where do I begin? Thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. For finding mom and I and making us yours, thank you. You have blessed mom and I, you have changed our lives, you have given us a better version of a man than we could have ever hoped or asked for. Thank you for taking me as your daughter and loving me as nothing less, for saving me the pain of not having a daddy in my life, for saving me the heartache of not having a man to help raise me. You are my one and only Daddy, and you are the world’s best. I don’t remember life before you, I really don’t have any memory, and for that I’m grateful. You’ve always been there. The knowledge of your love for me runs deep, and it did right away. Because of that my respect for you runs deep, and it grew rapidly. Your words mean more than you know. Your advice is always listened to, and intently. Your hug, your embrace taught me what a God-fearing man and protector should feel like, so when I found Josh (her husband) I knew. Your sacrificial, unending love taught me what Jesus’ love really looks like and what a husband’s love should look like, so I knew how to receive love from both. Your adventurous spirit brings life and brought curiosity to me, something I will always be thankful for. You are the reason I found my love of the African children. You encouraged me to explore the world abroad, and I learned so much from those experiences. Thank you for your trust and belief in me, it has helped give me confidence. Thank you for now trusting, believing in, and loving Josh the way you have always loved me. For walking me down the aisle and giving me away. For blessing our marriage, cause it is truly blessed. You helped instill in me the need to wait to find the type of man that I have found. I could not have asked for a better daddy to sweep into my life and make me who I am. I love you so very much. Let me say it again, I love you so very much! You are an incredible father. Happy 50th. Melissa.
“Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”
I’m afraid I’ve failed many times with the “do not exasperate” command, and I often failed (especially in the early years) with keeping Christ the center of home, but I dearly love my family. I have made many mistakes, but for the last fourteen years I have tried to teach, by word and by example, what it means to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:30) and to serve Him as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1).
So though I can’t be sure how many productive years these “old” bones have left, I know I will continue down the path which has now been set. For a note like this reminds me that our life priorities must always be on the eternal things of God; “For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18). Leading others to an understanding of the Kingdom of God is eternal, everything else will fade away. I’ve accomplished many things in the first fifty years of this life, but few will ever bring the eternal reward I receive from being my daughter’s daddy.
Have a Christ Centered Day!
God’s Daily Word Ministries