By Contributing Writer, Stephani
The sun wouldn’t rise for another hour or two, yet I could hear Dad flick on the light switch. “Good morning,” he said, encouraging me to lift my eyelids and prepare for a chilly day in the branches of a tree. In less than 40 minutes I was dressed, had a quick breakfast, and was preparing to don my fashionable orange marshmallow jacket!
Just minutes later, we began our annual trek into the dark woods: neon-orange jackets buttoned, four-wheeler running, guns in their cases, and expectation in our eyes. It was opening day of hunting season!
Ever since I was little, I have enjoyed venturing into the woods of Northern Minnesota with my dad and sisters. Whispering for fear of scaring wildlife, my dad and I would talk together sitting in a two-person deer stand, waiting to see what I rarely saw… deer. We talked about real life stuff way up in those trees, and despite years of never seeing a deer with my dad, I am so glad I went.
My sisters and I have grown to enjoy hunting season over the years, not only because we enjoy watching beautiful snowflakes fall around us, not only because we learned to shoot a rifle, and not only because we enjoy cooking venison, but mostly because it is a great way to spend time with our Dad.
Time… Helpfulness… Joy…
As an unmarried woman, I am excited to address this month’s topic from a little different angle. As a daughter…
Every day my dad makes dozens of decisions, has many responsibilities to bear, and is constantly juggling his schedule to make time for everything! Needless to say, some days are more stressful than others.
I’ve found that in the midst of the barrage of responsibilities he strives to balance, my dad is often blessed when I choose to cheerfully spend a little time helping him—doing whatever he is! He is blessed when I engage in conversation, come alongside to help on his projects, participate in activities that interest him, etc.!
Sometimes it is as simple as being a willing runner during his construction projects. In November, it is joining him in an exciting endeavor to bring home a deer. In the evenings it may be tagging along on an errand to the store or helping with a household project he wants to complete. In the summer it may be spending an early morning on a fishing boat baiting a hook.
Instead of spending time only on hobbies that interest me… instead of looking out only for my schedule and interests… instead of becoming irritable when he needs my help on a project… I have an opportunity to embrace biblical femininity for the blessing of my earthly Dad and the glory of my heavenly Father!
But My Life is Sooo BUSY!
Have you noticed that life doesn’t slow down very often? Right now, you probably have a list of projects, responsibilities, relationships, ministry opportunities, homework assignments, etc. that require a great amount of time and effort from you on a daily basis. In the midst of a long to-do list, you also want to bless your dad! Below are five reasons that encourage me to make time in the busyness of life to bless and honor my dad:
- As a Woman, I am called to embrace a unique, God-designed femininity that encourages and supports biblical masculinity in the men in authority over my life.
- As a Daughter, I am to recognize that my dad has a unique, God-given authority over me and my family… a position I am to honor and respect.
- As a Member of my Family, I want to live in such a way that cultivates family unity, peace, and productivity.
- As a Future Wife, (if the Lord wills) I want to develop a humble, supportive spirit toward my dad, knowing that I am laying a foundation for a future relationship with my husband.
- As a Child of God, I am lovingly commanded to be like Jesus in my relationship with others, “Outdo one another in showing honor” and “…look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” -Romans 12:10b, Philippians 2:4
But HIS Life is Sooo BUSY!
If developing an honoring, joyful relationship with our dads is important to us, we will need to creatively find time to spend with our dads in a way that shows THEM honor, instead of thinking only about our preferences, schedules, and desires.
Your joyful helpfulness will often bless your dad more than you know!
Creativity is Essential
- Running Errands - Once a week my dad drives our vehicles to a nearby gas station to re-fill tanks for a week of travel. The gas station is about five minutes from our house. Including the time it takes to fill up with gas, a round trip ends up taking 15-20 minutes. These short errands to the gas station are great opportunities to talk, laugh, and discuss things with my dad.
- Projects in the Garage - My dad occasionally asks me to help him change our vehicle’s oil in the garage. As he works, I pass him different tools and guide the flashlight for him to see. I don’t particularly enjoy greasy car maintenance projects. however I am growing to appreciate his work and enjoy his company as we work together. Whether it is holding a container, passing him a tool, or just watching as he works, spending time with him in different situations blesses him and allows me to communicate my gratitude for his work.
- Taking Out the Garbage - We have a long driveway. It takes 10 minutes just to walk the garbage to the end and return home again! I have enjoyed some great conversations with my dad walking down our long driveway with the garbage. The more I do with my Dad, the more I realize that “quality” Dad-time is made of real life experiences, projects, and conversations!
- Organizing – With many people living under one roof, our garage easily fills with extra “stuff.” A couple of months ago, the day came for a family “cleaning party.” My dad suggested everyone spend time together organizing and de-cluttering the garage stalls. Although he was tired after a long day at work, his ambition to tackle this project increased as my family and I joined him in the garage. Joyful willingness to help is such an encouragement to those in authority!
The above snapshots are a few ways my sisters and I spend time with our dad. Likely your dad is different in many ways: personality, projects, work, schedule, desires, and interests. Isn’t it exciting to think about the opportunities you will have to bless your dad that will be completely different from mine? How can you bless your dad in creative ways that are individually suited to him?
Caution! You Are Not His Wife!
One red flag to mention. In our efforts to encourage and bless our dads, we need to be aware of our mom’s position and place of honor! We need to be sure that we are not making our mom uncomfortable or trying to take her place. God didn’t design daughters to be help-meets to their dads–that is a place of honor for one woman–a man’s wife! Sometimes instead of running an errand with your dad, ask your mom if she would like to go instead! Allow your parents plenty of time together!
Look to the Interests of Others
As you seek to bless your dad during this season of life, remember to keep your eyes always on Jesus–our Lord and Ultimate Example! He lived and died to glorify His Heavenly Father and to lovingly serve those around Him. We are to do the same by serving our Heavenly Father and those around us… including our dads!
Consider blessing your dad with TIME, HELPFULNESS, and JOY!