June 2003, was the very first Father’s Day that was different for me. It was the first year that I was going to have to endure the day without my father while everyone else in the world got to see and spend time with their father laughing, cooking out, and reminiscing about their lives together as father and child. My Father died when I was 17 years old in December of 2002. I was angry and pretty much hated the world and everyone in it. I didn’t care what other people were doing, I just knew that I didn’t want to be a part of it. I had lost a huge chunk of my heart and soul on that bitter, cold, December day and nothing was ever going to repair those holes.
As I grew older, and as the years of Father’s Day went on and on, even though the sting was still there it didn’t feel like it was going to suffocate me. I used that day to remind me of how amazing my 17 years of life were with him. Everyone says their parents are the greatest, and they are correct. People’s parents a lot of times are the heroes of their story and the heroes of their life and they are correct because it’s their story, it’s their life. Mine is no different. My dad was the absolute best. He was truly the World’s Greatest. (In my eyes anyways!) He was my best friend. Even among the health issues that he struggled with, he was always there cheering me on along with my other four siblings. He never missed a sporting event, scouting event, party, holiday, you name it, my dad was in the front row. Every. Single. Time. He was tough but fair, strict but kind. He demanded respect, patience, kindness, and selflessness from each of us. He loved God above all things and loved my mom like she was a queen. He was right about everything too, even though I thought differently in my teen years. Every time I wanted to hang out with a new friend or boy he always had them come over to our house first because somehow within ten seconds he knew if they were going to be a positive or negative influence on me and then sought hard to make sure they stayed out of my life if they were the latter.
His role as our father was that he was the head of the Grima household. He taught us right from wrong, and most importantly he taught us about God. My father made selfless sacrifices and had big responsibilities as the pinnacle of our family. Isn’t it ironic how much a father mirrors that of God Himself. God commissions a father to care for the children that God has entrusted to him. To teach them God’s ways and leading by example.
Today, like it is every year for me, may be challenging for you. Maybe your father walked out on you; or maybe like mine, he is your Guardian Angel up in Heaven; maybe he was addicted to drugs or alcohol, is in jail, or was even abusive; or maybe you never even knew who your father was. Maybe your father isn’t the hero of your story but the villain of your story. I know that the “fatherless” resonates with the hundreds of children that I work with every year in my ministry when I hear them tell me how they don’t have a father anymore, or that they don’t even know who he is. Maybe someone who is reading this just suffered a loss and you are feeling fatherless yourself. No matter what category you fall under, there is a perfect father waiting to embrace you as His own. His name is God. He is full of grace and unconditional love for you. He wants to adopt YOU and call YOU as His own. He wants YOU to be the sons and daughters of not just any king, but THE King! God promises to His people “I will be a Father to you and you will be my sons and daughters.” Especially to those who are “fatherless.” Even before you were born, God intertwined your soul upon His own. All you need to do is open the door.
Just as our earthly fathers can give us unconditional love, respect, prayer and forgiveness, God magnifies that by a number that we can’t even comprehend as human beings.
So whether your father is the hero or villain of your story, if you turn to God and let Him pick you up, and adopt you as His own, you will have the greatest Hero you have ever known who will never leave or forsake you. You simply have to turn to Him.
Happy Father’s Day to all the men who are fathers, grandfathers, animal fathers, adoptive fathers, and spiritual fathers. May you receive the greatest blessings from God on this day, and may you always strive to walk in His light for your own families and those in the rest of the world that need you.