As everyone knows, this past Sunday was Father’s Day. So after church, we did what Scott wanted to do. Unlike me and what I wanted to do for Mother’s Day, he wanted to just eat lunch at home, without the Father’s Day/Sunday Lunch crowd, take a nap, and hang out with his girls. And that’s just what we did.
I noticed as I was cooking spaghetti for our Father’s Day lunch that Elsie had mysteriously vanished into her bedroom. She was very, very quiet, so I should have known she was up to something. Then as it was almost time to eat, she emerges from her room, fully dressed in Scott’s clothes, all the way from his boots to a duck call. She had on her footed pajamas and robe underneath to give a more 3-D affect 🙂 She tried to make her hair tie around her chin to be a beard, but she said it was just ‘too hard’ to make a beard. It was so, so cute and funny.
But once again, God confirmed what He was wanting me to write about this week with regular old everyday life that happens all around me. I had already contemplated writing a Father’s Day post today and sharing a journal entry that I had written for Zoe when she was 1 years old. It was about another experience when she was ‘imitating’ Scott back in 2005. So when Elsie came trotting out this past Sunday imitating Scott, I knew God was confirming what He had already dropped in my spirit. I love it when He does that. Please read this journal entry below:
Prayer Journal Entry
Dear Zoe –
I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time, but as you will soon learn, our lives are very busy. So at times we don’t have chances to do what we want to do. But it’s important to try and always do what is best for God and for your family. This will be the first of several thoughts and prayers I have to share with you. Advice, wisdom, warnings, humor, and just plain love should come from these pages.
The first thing I wanted to share with you is something that happened the other night – Thursday night – to be exact. I’d given you your bath, and I took you downstairs so we could visit with your Papa. He was downstairs playing in the garage and in his hunting room. (He’ll do this a lot in our lifetimes!) So we went into the hunting room, and you picked up one of Papa’s duck calls. Then Papa started blowing his. Now, he is very good at duck calling – he’s been doing it for a long time. You saw him put it to his mouth – and you did the same. You heard him blow into it and make a sound – and you did the same. You couldn’t really make the duck sound. You just kind of hummed into it. But it was precious. Why? Not because a 1 year old baby girl was blowing a duck call, but because you were trying to be like your Papa – your father.
And no, you couldn’t do it just like him. Not yet – but one day! If you keep trying. But there is a spiritual lesson to be learned here. You will soon learn that you have a heavenly Father, who loves you even more than I do or than Papa does. And He shows us what to do and how to live. And we are to try to be like Him. Do what He does. And we won’t be able to be perfect like Him, but we can sure try. And when we try, God makes it perfect. II Corinthians 12:9 says, “My strength is made perfect in weakness.” God is saying this. It means that although we may try hard to do the right thing and be like God, we will mess up. But He will always help us. Never forget that. And never stop trying to be like your Papa – your earthly Papa or your heavenly Papa!!
In case you didn’t know, Scott is an avid duck hunter and outdoorsman. I knew nothing of this lifestyle when I met him. In our 17 years together, I have been fully immersed in the hunting world. I now know several different types of ducks, I know the proper way to say ‘crappie’ fish, and I can even shoot a shotgun! I love that I now always notice when a flock of Canadian geese are flying overhead. I am grateful that Scott has introduced me to a part of the outdoors I’ve never really engaged before. And even more than that, I’m thrilled that he’s sharing his passion for the outdoors with the girls. Zoe in particular seems to have an affinity for the outdoors. When he goes duck hunting, which is during December and January, Zoe always wakes up and says, “I hope Papa’s having a good day. Can’t wait to see what he got.” She’s the first out the door to greet him to see what birds Scott has brought home. She is not afraid of holding those dead birds or even helping to clean them. She’s WAY more brave than her momma!
But when I see Zoe out there holding those ducks with Scott, or see her in the backyard with Scott learning to shoot her BB gun, or see her fishing with Scott, trying to hold the rod just like he does, or working Gabby (our dog) through her drills like Scott does, I’m reminded once more of the journal post back from 2005. She is trying so hard to be like her father, her Papa.
Music ALWAYS speaks to my heart. I think God uses it as a direct line to speak to me. There is a song by Jason Upton from his CD titled Faith called ‘Just Like You’. It reminds me of this ‘fatherly imitation’ I’ve been describing:
I tried to walk on the water and found myself under the sea
So with water up my nose I felt your hand come close to save me
I’ve tried to cast out the demons I’ve gone to the darkest of regions
When fear has me shaking you suddenly break in to save me
To be like you
Like any son or daughter
I want to be like my Father
I desire to be like you
You promised to never forsake me
So I’ll risk it all if you’ll make me like You
You stand beside me just waiting while I try to go it alone
Smiling You say son come here won’t you let me just help you
But frustrated I try to make it cause I’ve just got something to prove
Not knowing it is my weakness that perfects your power
In the Methodist church, there is this teaching on grace that is broken down into three ‘types’ of grace. The first is called ‘prevenient grace’. I had never heard of it before. It’s the grace that ‘goes before’ – the grace that is working in your life before you are even aware of it. Once you have made a decision to follow Christ, the second type of grace, ‘justifying grace’ comes into the picture and we find forgiveness for sin and come into the ‘new life’ that Christ gives us. I had definitely heard of justifying grace before, and understood it. Then we move on into the third type of grace, ‘sanctifying grace’, which is the grace we find ourselves in as we are growing in our faith, bearing fruit, and trying to become more like Christ. This place of ‘sanctifying grace’ is our trying to be more like our father, our ‘Papa’. Ephesians 5:1-2 perfectly describes this ‘holy imitation’: “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
Although we should always strive to be like our Father, like I mentioned in my journal entry above, many times we miss the mark. Many times, Christ is the last thing I look like. When I’m caught in the heat of road rage, I’m fairly positive I do NOT resemble my Father! When I’m at the brink of frustration and finally give in and yell my head off at the girls, I’m sure I’m not looking very Christ-like! And even when I’m super depressed about my weight-loss endeavors and I feel as though there is no hope, once again, that is not imitating Christ. He was more than a conqueror, and He told me that I am too! I have to remember whose child I am, pick up my chin, and try again. That is what Christ is about. Always encouraging, always loving, always giving second chances – even to myself. Just like II Corinthians 12:9 says, “My strength is made perfect in weakness.” He is there to help us when we are having trouble being ‘just like Him’. He makes us perfect in spite of ourselves.
Remember, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Although flattery has a negative connotation at times, one definition says ‘to cause someone to feel pleased by showing respect, affection, or admiration. To praise excessively’. I can think of no one more deserving of excessive praise than our God!
Happy Father’s Day, Scott. Thank you for imitating Christ, making you a fabulous example for our girls.