(Enjoying God and all He has given to us can be difficult to understand and abstract at times. That’s why I’ve asked a few friends to share how they have enjoyed various aspects of the Christian life, seasons, and disciplines. I pray you are encouraged by this series of guest posts.)
By Erik Wolgemuth
I celebrated a birthday recently. Progressing through my third decade of life, the birthday had approached much like the others, but this one proved different. This one I was uniquely aware of the gift of being a father. A new child wasn’t born into our family on this day, instead I was blessed immeasurably by the three young lives already in our home.
Throughout the day, I experienced tangible reminders of the joy of fatherhood again and again: as I was doing my best to decipher a handwritten note from a burgeoning speller, as I was looking at a still-wet and slowly smearing portrait of me on construction paper, and as I felt arms lock around my neck for a ride – with me half-choking – to the dinner table. My birthday reminded me that these are the moments of fatherhood that are beginning to resonate most deeply with me. They’re moments, as I reflect now, that I don’t know that I’ve fully appreciated.
The gift of these lives that the Father has given contains countless subsequent gifts tucked into normal life. His generosity is on full display in these routine moments and rhythms of everyday life, which are spilling over with opportunities to enjoy if I’m only attentive to them.
A walk through the aisles of Walmart with a hand completely enclosed in mine. Slowly (slowly) progressing through a beginning reader book. Conversations about imaginary neighborhood cheetah sightings and attacks by flying coyotes. Meaningless games about traversing a land of candy, skips and reverses and draw 4s, and the rolling of a full house or a large straight. Wrestling matches, tea parties, prayers before bed, and bike rides. Bowls of ice cream, Saturday donut runs, and free grocery store cookies. Dart gun battles, color by number teamwork, and throwing pop flies. An apology given out of repentance and forgiveness genuinely extended. A face bearing all the evidences of a meal well enjoyed.
These – and so many others – are moments I’m learning to savor. They’re moments where deep joy comes from the gift of these lives that I’m blessed to father. And they’re moments that help me, in a small way, recognize exactly what it means to have a Father in heaven who calls us his children. Children he delights in (Zeph. 3:17), children he pursues (Mt. 18:12), and children he deeply loves (1 John 4:10). My heart, at its fathering-best – loving, kind, gentle, patient, understanding, compassionate, forgiving – doesn’t come close to comparing to the heart of God for his children. The love of the Father is unmatched, and so it’s a humbling gift and honor to image, in a small way, his love to my children.
If capturing the joys of fatherhood seem unattainable and far-fetched, I understand and can relate. On many days, with the work hours complete, all I want to do is rest and disengage. In moments like these, engagement with those little lives take more effort than I’d like to admit. There are days when I tuck them into bed, step out into a finally quiet house, and realize I blew it. I chose not to engage, instead opting to withdraw and avoiding the busy, loud, and often chaotic life of a parent. Thankfully there’s grace for these days when my selfishness is on full display. Every moment that I die to self and pursue them is worth the effort. And I’m in awe to think of a God who never grows weary or tired and is always pursing me.
I don’t deserve these precious lives of my children. Their presence in my life is a daily reminder of a heavenly Father who delights in giving good gifts. And the more I learn to enjoy fatherhood, the deeper I realize and understand the love of the Father for his children.
More about Erik: Erik Wolgemuth has worked for Wolgemuth & Associates as a literary agent since 2005. He lives with his wife Kendal and their three kids outside of Denver, CO. You can follow him on Twitter (@ewolgemuth) or find him writing about being a dad at dadcraft.com.
(Learn more about Trillia’s new book Enjoy: Finding the Freedom to Delight Daily in God’s Good Gifts)