I love being a dad. I'm glad God gave me girls. They are a blast! They love seeing daddy come home and are still at the age where they run up to me and hug me when I come in the house. They let me toss them in the air and use them as my free weights to do "daddy-workout".
I am learning something - I only get one shot at this time in their life. They are growing up too fast! I have to admit, I still get a little weepy when I hear songs like "Cinderella" by Steven Curtis Chapman or "It Won't Be Like This For Long" by Darius Rucker (yes, I listed a "secular" artist - Heaven forbid I list "She Thinks We're Just Fishin'" by Trace Adkins - LOL). Seriously, this era of my life is passing fast. One day they will be grown, married, and out of my house (not till age 30 though).
The past couple of weeks have been a counseling marathon for me. Last week's phrase was, "you aren't sorry. You're sorry you got caught." This week's phrase was, "stop acting like a jerk". I replaced "jerk" with "punk" one day. Why? These dad's are missing it! I don't know how many dads I've begged to get right and not leave. I've lost count of how many husbands who I've pleaded with over and over to step up and be a man of God and love their wife and kids.
I don't want to look back with regret. God is full of grace. My wife and kids don't have to worry about if I'm coming home or not. They don't have to worry about if we are going to have supper together most every night. I'm going to lead them to the Lord, not away from Him. When I look back in life I don't want to have regrets in the time I've spent with my family or how I've done it.
I've got a lot of aspirations in life. Some I've completed, but others are still in front of me. I want to write books, lead and plant churches, reach thousands of people for Christ and many other noble tasks. Right now is a pretty busy time in my life for several reasons. I'm meeting with about 25 different people for counseling right now. I have five weddings in two months. I'm leading our 10,000 sq ft. building project at church. I want to be great at them all - but most important to me is being dad and husband. Why? Isn't the church more important? If I don't take care of my bride, how can I take care of His? If I don't love and lead my family, How can I love and lead Family Church? What a poor testimony of someone who is a great pastor but a terrible husband and father!
I am Stevie to my wife. I am daddy to my kids. Everyone else knows me as Stephen or Pastor but only they get Stevie and daddy. This week is CRAZY on the construction end at church. Ceilings, flooring, masonry, electrical, concrete, painting, kitchen installation, you name it has been scheduled. I've organized, coordinated, prepped, and planned as best as possible. The tug-of-war yesterday was this: I'm scheduled to be off a few days with my family next week but feel the pressure of what may happen and who may need me next week. My conclusion: I've done all I can to prep for next week. I know all our contractors by name and I enjoy seeing them at the job site. But those girls mean more. I realized this - the job site will function without me because I've prepared it well. My family won't and no excuse in the world, no matter how "important" I make it to my girls, will suffice.
Jesus told the disciples in John 14 that they had seen the Father. Phillip longed to see the Father and said, "Show us the Father and that will be enough." In other words, "I long for a Father so much that one glimpse of the real thing will fulfill my deepest desire." Jesus told them they see the Father through Him. I desire to be like Christ and show Him through my life to my girls.
I pray three things for my girls every day: 1. They give their lives to Christ. 2. They are called into full-time ministry. 3. They marry men who love Christ and His Church and not settle. I must set the bar high for them by living the life of the type of man they should marry. One who values them over work. One who values them over prestige. One who values them over power and money. One who looks and loves like Jesus. I'm not perfect in this and have to say no and know when enough work is enough. But I'm trying.
After all life is done and finished I may say I pastored a great church and loved thousands of people. I may say I have done and built great things and fulfilled many aspirations. But the greatest thing I'll say is I was Stevie and daddy.