Sunday

Faith of our Fathers

So many precious men have touched my life. One of them is sitting in his big ol' green chair waiting for me to come snuggle with him, but I need to pay honor where honor is due.

I'll start with the family patriarch, Poppa Max. That's my father's father. He has buried two wives, including my grandmother, and is currently married to Mrs. Marion. What a precious, precious man. Poppa Max lost his own father at a very early age and went from taking care of his own mother to his wife. I have always known him as the voice of calm. He's so many things I'm not and can only hope to be (including tall! :-) One of those things is sparing with his words. A deacon at the church where I grew up called him the "E.F. Hutton of Forsythe Avenue. When Max Riley speaks, people listen." He's also incredibly slow to anger. He has love for people so deep in his heart, anger does not come quickly to the surface. But a child at heart like you can't imagine. Not too many Thanksgivings ago -- I'm pretty sure it was within the last 9 years when I have had children -- I was thankful that I finally felt 'old enough' to sit in with the 'adults' and discuss the previous election and cholesterol levels. Poppa Max was nowhere to be found -- he was too busy playing hide and seek with the kids. I'm certain he had more fun than me that day. I could go on, but I'm so thankful for the family God placed me in and for Poppa Max.

My dad -- now known as 'Gran'dad' -- is a whole other ball of wax (and in a good way). He is different from his own father, but the love for other people is a commonality (actually, it all begins with a love of the Father that carries over to loving His children). My father taught me lots of little things about dealing with people. Most of them make good business sense ("The sound of someone's own name is the sweetest sound to their ears") and good people sense as well. My father has lived right there in Monroe, Louisiana for the last 56 of his 60 years. We can't go ANYWHERE in town that we don't see someone we know. I always notice -- people are always glad to run into my father. He'll say their name, remember important (to them) information about them, and wish them the best in their lives. I've been privileged to watch my father grow and mature in his own faith. He is a model for me to never quit growing closer to the Father, always know there is more to learn. One of the things my father said to me that I want to pass on to my children the most is when he verbalized to my brother and me: "There is nothing you can do to make me quit loving you." It made it easier for me to believe that my heavenly Father could say the same. How was I ever so blessed?

Then, there's my Troy. I don't know where to start or stop and perhaps it's the two above models that helped me to know what to look for in a man that would father my children. Troy, I have watched you, also, grow not only in your faith, but in your parenting as well (I certainly hope you can say the same for me -- I was not a model of much of anything in the diaper days). I'm so proud of the man you have allowed God to mold you into, I'm so thankful for your love and consistency with our children, and I love that you enjoy playing with them. If I had to choose all over again -- I would choose you.

I can't finish this without acknowledging the Father of us all. I'm so thankful for the countless blessings He pours into my life, including the 3 men mentioned here. I'm thankful for the unconditional love even though He's seen my ugly heart and knows my selfish wants. And there are no words (I'm doing that again) to thank Him for the blood sacrifice of His son that made it possible for me to look forward to seeing Him one day. Thank you, Lord, for sending your spirit into coaching us all into better parents.

A Father's Day honorable mention to Paul Benjamin, Tony Timms, David Mathews, David Jones, and Micah Harper as men who helped mold and shape my faith "back in the day". I have truly been abundantly blessed in my life with models of Godly men.

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