Today is a bittersweet day as a parent. Our oldest daughter Selah started Kindergarten this morning. Although Selah is so ready for this new phase in her life, Hope and I are left wondering where the last 5 1/2 years have gone. Our youngest daughter Mercy is 11 months old, looks just like Selah at that same age, and is now wearing all of Selah's hand-me-downs. It seem like just yesterday that Selah was that little, and we can't help but feel a tinge of sadness knowing that try as we might, time cannot be paused. Hope said it well: There were lots of tears this morning, none of which were Selah's.
I guess as we enter this new era, I see why God has really been revealing to me more about fatherhood. Now is the time when being a dad really gets tough and yet holds such significant importance. Selah will now be spending over half of her time outside of our influence as parents. Although she will be receiving a Christ-centered education at school, it is absolutely imperative that she gets a Christ-centered foundation at home. And guess who is responsible and ultimately accountable for that: Dads! A huge, often times tough, and awesome privilege it is for sure.
Yet when we as Dads are living In Christ, being the spiritual leader to our family flows out of us naturally. If we are not living In Christ and instead find ourselves more focused on ourselves (read: my wants and my desires), our families will ultimately starve spiritually. Matt Chandler (a pastor in Texas) said it quite well: "You cannot feed your family if you are not getting fed yourself. You can't feed them because you are already starving yourself." God is teaching me that in order to feed my family spiritually, I will need to be in His word and on my knees every morning before the chaos of another day begins. Psalm 78: 3-4 shows us the significance and ultimately the result of being a father who teaches his children about the Lord:
things that we have heard and known,
that our fathers have told us.
We will not hide them from their children
but tell them to the coming generation
the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might,
and the wonders that he has done.
The Lord gifted Selah with such a big, compassionate, and loving heart. As a dad, I want to nourish and cherish that wonderful quality in her. Yet even more, my desire is to nuture in all of our kids a heart that intimately knows, loves, and seeks Jesus with a never-ending hunger. Selah, Judah, and Mercy will learn this truth by seeing the exact same desire in their dad. My prayer is that by watching my walk with the Lord, they will continually see and know that Christ alone is their All in All.
I love you Selah and am sooooo proud of you! - Love, Daddy