I’ve never celebrated Father’s Day with my own biological father. I never knew him or met him. I guess he died eight years or so after I was conceived. As a matter of fact I didn’t even know that my brother and I had different biological dads until I was twelve years old.
You see I was the result of a short term relationship that my mom had with a guy named Toney whom she had met through a mutual aquaintance. They partied and she got pregnant. He found out and he got gone.
Mom decided to leave town too. She drove from Denver to the east coast, fleeing the shame of having to face her very Baptist parents with another reason to make them cringe at her hard partying lifestyle. Instead of having this baby and creating more havoc in her own personal life she decided to have an illegal abortion out of state. She left town under the guise of visiting relatives in Boston.
My mom had been a rebellious daughter since her teenage years. She already had one son that she was trying to raise on her own and she was way too proud to accept government assistance. Between the shame of facing her parents and the pricetag of yet another kid to raise she decided to flee the scene of the accident.
When my mom was in Boston my grandparents found out about her pregnancy (thanks to my relatives there!) and convinced her to come back and have the baby. And, believe me, I’m glad she did. When my mom was going through her guilt spells I used to try to get her to laugh by saying, “Hey ma, I’m not glad you sinned, but I’m glad to be here!”
A good hearty smoker’s laugh would always ensue, sometimes followed up with a smack to the back of my head and a “ya jerk!”
Sidenote: It kind of gets me ticked when I hear pro-choicers try to make a case for abortion through the old, “well abortion is better than having to be raised in a broken, violent home in a high poverty situation.” Whenever someone uses this one on me I ask, “Were you raised in a home like that?” The answer is inevitably “no.” I respond with, “Well, I was and you have no clue to what you are talking about.”
But I digress….back to Father’s Day.
So I never really celebrated Father’s Day. My brother’s dad was never around. I can’t remember if I ever actually met him either. He was a jerk to my brother and mom anyway. If you looked up dead beat dad in the dictionary it would have a picture of him and the alimony money he refused to pay.
Later on my mom married another dude named Paul but that ended abruptly with a bat cracked upside his car and then his head after he disappeared for a long period of time and then suddenly showed up looking for money. The bloody beating I witnessed that day taught me to always obey my momma.
So, needless to say, Father’s Day was not a holiday I was familiar with much growing up. But, as I’ve been thinking about it, maybe I did actually celebrate it but in a totally different way.
Five years ago, before my mom went to be with the Lord, I had several conversations with her while she was slowly dying. In one of our many chats over the forty days that she was in Hospice, she asked me, “Do you remember what you used to say when the neighborhood kids used to make fun of you for not having a dad?” I couldn’t remember. She said, “You used to say, ‘God’s my Daddy!'” I said, “Mom, I don’t remember ever saying that but I remember feeling that.”
I still feel that to this day.
For me Father’s Day is everyday! I met my Daddy when I was 8 years old and He has never left me or forsaken me. He wasn’t disappointed about my entrance into the world like my biological father was. He didn’t leave town when He found out about me. Instead He loved me so much that He sacrificed His own Son so that I could be adopted into His family.
I get to tell the story of my bio dad often when I preach across the nation. Whenever I sense an audience is tempted to feel sorry for me because I don’t have a “real dad” I remind them that I do have a Daddy, the best Daddy ever, and that He loves me like nobody’s business…and that he loves them too.
If you know me you know that I’m consumed with getting things done on a ministry level. As a matter of fact at Dare 2 Share we just officially embraced the goal of mobilizing teenagers at every one of the 67,000+ high school and middle school campuses to relationally and relentlessly reach and then mobilize their friends for Christ. This is a daunting goal that, by God’s grace, we tend to accomplish through thousands of participating local churches.
This is a very aggressive, some would say, unrealistic goal. But we are going for it anyway and I believe that it will, through God’s strength demonstrated through His people, get done.
Sometimes people ask me what drives me full throttle toward goals like this. Sure I want to see teenagers reached and I want to see the church revived. But I think the biggest driver for me personally is the hope that, someday, when I stand before my real Daddy, I will hear Him say, “Well done my good and faithful servant.”
I want to make my Daddy proud of my life, family and ministry. I want to do as much as I can in His power for His glory so that when I stand with my life report card in His presence He looks at me and say’s, “Well done son. I’m proud of you boy.”
Whether you have a biological father or not this Father’s Day, celebrate the reality of a Heavenly Father that loves you so much that He sent His most cherished Son to die in your place for your sin. Through faith in Him you have eternal life. Receiving the gift of eternal life means you are entering into a relationship with your real Dad forever. As Jesus prayed to His Father in John 17:3, “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God….”
Amen and happy Father’s Day!