My kids rarely ever call me by my given name. When they do, they are either trying to get my attention or are just being snarky. From day one, they have always used a different name: Dad. I cherish this name far more than my given name. It's not the name alone that I treasure, but the deep and profound meaning behind it. The fact that three individuals on this earth refer to me as "dad" is humbling. I am so thankful to God that I have the privilege of loving and leading this crew of kids and teenagers as a father. It is one of the greatest joys and tremendous responsibilities I have been given. I'll be the first to admit, I don't have a perfect track record when it comes to being dad. I've been known to blow it--regularly. But truthfully, since the day Juli and I found out we were having our first child, my hope and prayer has been that God would allow me all the grace, wisdom, love, and strength needed to fulfil this role as a father. I know that being a great dad is one of the best ways I can bring glory to God.
There is a fourth little one in our family that has just begun to call me dad. This has been a strange and new experience for me. When I hear it, I am reminded yet again of the wonder and weight of this role. You might laugh, but "DubDub" (based on my life-long nickname "Dub") is the name we taught him to call me. For the last two and a half years that's the name I've heard. But since he arrived in our home, he has heard the other kids call me by a different name. I am sure in his beautiful little brain, he has wondered why, why the difference. Names and titles have huge meanings as these foster children grow, learn, and feel attachment. So this shift, though natural, has been super eye opening for me. To hear him, who has never known a biological father, say the name dad, has reintroduced me to the beautiful gift of what it means to father. It's kind of overwhelming really. I have the opportunity, by God's grace, to offer a child the type of relationship that could impact how they see themselves in this world. It's that profound.
So, onward we go fathers. God help us!! The cause is great. The calling is huge. Be overwhelmed, along with me, as we seek to best live up to this name: DAD.