Happy Father's Day - you are deeply loved.
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Father's Day is a bittersweet day for me.
When I was six years old, my dad moved out.
I was the only kid I knew that didn't have a dad living at home and for the first time in my life, I felt shame.
The kids on the street and at school were always asking me were my dad was, so I created a lie that he was a truck driver and was on the road for months and months at a time. I couldn't have them knowing that he didn't love me enough to stay with me.
Of course, just because he wasn't living at home with us didn't negate the love he felt for us....but try telling that to a little girl who believed with all of her heart that she wasn't good enough, and who would face a lifetime fighting against that inner voice that told her she just wasn't worth it.
I don't have memories of my father reading me bedtime stories, or tucking me in at night. I don't remember what it felt like to have my little hand tucked inside his big one. I don't remember what it felt like when he hugged me. I can't remember if he ever told me I was beautiful.
When I was 14, my father died suddenly. I never even got to say goodbye.
Oh Daddy... how I miss you. Even after all of these years, I miss you so much.
But the Lord is good. He sent me Ian.
I knew that Ian would be a wonderful father when I saw him with my 1 year old nephew for the first time. He was gentle, encouraging, loving and oh so fun.
Whenever we went anywhere, children would just gravitate to him. I don't think there is a child that has met Ian that hasn't loved him.
I can still remember how tiny Sam was when he was first born and he seemed even smaller in Ian's strong hands. He held him with such gentle care and I knew Sam would always be safe with him.
I remember the tears in his eyes when Julie was born. She was so small and delicate, and Ian held her so gently, as if she would break.
By the time Jordan arrived, I had had a front row seat to several years of watching Ian rocking the father role. I knew she would be well loved by him.
Like I said, I knew Ian would be a wonderful father, but he has exceeded my hopes, dreams and expectations in ways I can't find the words for.
He has coached little league baseball and soccer. He has kissed owies, and scared away monsters. He has played and encouraged and prayed over and loved these children.
Our Sam has grown into a kind and compassionate young boy under his father's loving care, and I know without a doubt that he will become a strong, compassionate and godly man. How could he not with Ian as his example?
Our girls, Julie and Jordan.... They are safe and secure in the knowledge that their father loves them. They know what it feels like to be told by their father that they are beautiful and worthy and delighted in.
Ian is tireless when it comes to loving on our children and he works so hard to provide for them, without a single complaint. He puts them before himself, so they always know they matter and are important.
He helps with school projects. He explains math. He builds bunk beds. He sources out the best video games. He brushes little girl hair. He taught Sam and Julie how to swim. He changes diapers. He blows bubbles. He shares his love for the Lord with them. He shares his beloved chicken wings. He cuddles them. He teaches the importance of laughter. He gives Sam girl advice. He reminds Julie that she will be a prize to the man she chooses to marry. He continues to take her to 3-D movies because he knows that one day she will overcome her fear and stay for the entire movie. He goes to Jordan during the night to soothe her when she has nightmares, even though he has to get up early to go to work. He hugs away the hurt when pets die.
He seldom says no. He spoils. He delights in his children and takes his role as father very seriously. He knows they are blessings from the Lord and he is committed to raising them up with a strong foundation in Christ. He encourages them to question what the Bible says, because he knows the answers are there.
Ian, I wish I had words to explain how you have healed the wounds in my heart, just by being such a loving father. Every time you hug them, or tell them you love them, or laugh with them, a piece of my heart is restored. I appreciate all that you do for us.
Thank you for being you, and for loving our children so well. You truly are the World's Greatest Dad, and we love you so much.