A father's responsibility is not to make the child's decisions, but to let the child watch him make his.
Fathers play a very important role in their daughter’s lives. I was born in June 1978, just two days after my dad Warren turned 25. We’ve been buddies ever since.
When I was a child, my dad was my hero; as a teen, my challenger; and when I became an adult, he became my ally. At every stage of life, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that my dad was there for me. I know a lot of women in this world are not able to say that about their fathers. Mine, however, earned the right to be called “Daddy.” He reflected my Heavenly Father’s heart.
When I was little, Dad applied himself to reading books to help him be better at parenting and disciplining. Dad himself was disciplined. He spent most mornings lifting weights and most nights reading God’s word in bed after he joined in on our bedtime routine. He would read my siblings and me Bible stories, teach biblical truths, and pray a heartfelt prayer before tucking us in. Great conversations and deep things of the heart were often revealed in this nightly regimen in the shelter of home.
My two sisters and brother can attest to the many wrestling matches on the living room carpet, where we'd somehow almost always win as dad cried “Uncle!” His fun personality was at the the heart of it all. He worked hard to provide for us. Following in his own father’s footsteps, he built a land development business.
His dream was to become a missionary, but Warren chose to follow God’s plan and became a businessman instead. God blessed him with the gift of giving, and he has used that gift to build the kingdom of God by giving millions of dollars to worldwide missions! He taught me the value of money — that it was all God’s anyway and you could NEVER out-give Him!
Dad took every opportunity possible to teach us the Bible. I still can recall sitting on the living room stairs at age five as he told me about heaven. I looked up at him and said, “I wanna go there!” Dad and I bowed our heads, and I asked Jesus into my heart that night.
Our faith was real and active. I was in a wonderful youth group growing up, and as I became a young adult and ventured off on my own, I wanted to learn more about the Holy Spirit. I felt a tugging on my heart to discover more about the crucial role that this third mysterious part of the Godhead was all about.
When I asked Dad about it, he told me that it was time for me to figure out who I was in Christ. The way that he spoke was very empowering – life-giving, actually. He didn’t try to impress rules on me anymore. I needed to think for myself and not ride the coattails of my parents all the way to heaven. My faith had to become my faith. Letting go of the past and moving forward into the unknown can be hard. I had to let go of the hero-worship I gave to my dad when I was young and embrace the challenger-dad he had also become.
He was always my challenger and cheerleader! I wanted to be a Christian recording artist, and he did everything he could to help me get there! He bought me my first guitar and sent me across the world to sing for Jesus. He purchased the first 100 CDs when my album was released. He was proud of me, and to this day my dad continues to cheer me on. His influence has made all the difference in my life, and I don’t know what I would do without him.
On October 27, 2017, I almost found out. My Dad suffered a complete blockage in the lower ventricle of his heart. I could have lost him, but as I like to say, “He conquered that heart attack.” I cried out to God in desperation telling him that I still needed my dad. There was much more that Dad needed to do for this world, and more importantly, for me.
Fortunately, God answered those prayers. My heart is filled with thankfulness to Him for giving my dad a second chance. That night, when I asked God to spare my dad’s life, I rested in His perfect peace. The Holy Spirit came to my aid! I felt his embrace and cried tears of joy. I knew that Dad was going to be okay.
That’s the grace of the Holy Spirit, my counselor and best friend who leads me into truth. The Spirit reminds me of all the good stuff that God has said and shares new insight into situations in the most tender and intimate ways. He knows me more than I know myself, and this is greatly comforting to me.
I will be forever grateful for my dad, who has always pointed me to my loving Father and taught me to depend on Him and to walk in the power and presence of the Holy Spirit.