Dear son: your dad is messed up

Your mother and I are counting down the days until you shake the hospital room with your first wail. Our home is a small one, and sometimes our bouncing dog makes it seem smaller, but you are most welcome to fill it with your little giggles, abrasive screams and tender tears. We love you.

Here’s something you should know: much of our world is made up of appearances. From advertising, to entertainment, to the small talk of social interactions, it seems that putting on masks and pretending to be a different ‘you’ is quite common. Most everyone has a shinier version of themselves which they put on and off, depending on who’s taking notes at the time.

But I don’t want you to see me in my shiny armor. (I’d rather get rid of it, really.) Instead, I want you to see me the way my Saviour sees me. It’s the only accurate portrayal of who I am. When you look up at me, look for these things:

  1. Your dad is a sinner. He’s messed up. God created him with a beautiful purpose: to know & worship the Triune God. But your dad missed the mark. Repeatedly. And purposefully. Your dad wasn’t an awesome person with just a few faults. He was faulty all over. He was like 200 lbs of swiss cheese, bespeckled with holes. Drained of any righteousness and yet overflowing with pride.
  2. Jesus Christ saved your dad. And saved is a pretty big word. It’s the words loved, rescued, washed, freed, adopted, and called all rolled into one! A whole bunch of wonderful things happened to your dad — yet none of it happened because of your dad. God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved me, rescued me in Jesus Christ. He bought a slave and promptly called him ‘My child’. I hope to share this story with you many more times.
  3. Your dad keeps messing up. It’s frustrating, I know. Just ask your mom. Your dad messes up more often than you do in your cute little diaper. Before God’s eyes, your dad is completely blanketed by the perfect holiness of Jesus Christ. And the Holy Spirit is molding and shaping me. But you’ll see this over and over again: when you compare your daddy to Jesus, there’s a huge gap. Dad doesn’t mirror his Saviour perfectly. However, your parents find relief, forgiveness and comfort in Someone Who is perfect. Someone Who not only began a good work in us, but will complete it.
  4. God is pouring this thing called grace on your dad and, boy, does he need it. Grace is the sharpening tool, the correcting rod, and the comforting blanket. I need grace because Jesus Christ is the only standard — the only appearance — that God is pleased to see. There’s nothing that pleases our Father more than His Son. And grace is how God is making His children become more like His Son. Grace is the fuel that motivates the Christian in his Heavenward journey.

Here’s your dad in his true colors: sinner, growing, depending and needy of grace. So your dad isn’t the defining item in your family. He can’t fix everything, protect everybody, or meet every need every time for everybody for all eternity. He certainly doesn’t have all the answers. Only God Himself can make worthwhile change in your dad, your mom and you. Only God can fix our sick world and its messed-up values. Only God can make something beautiful out of our messed-up stories.

Welcome to our home, baby. It must be a place of  broken hearts and not shiny masks. Hearts that find their meaning in the only Father worth knowing.

“Paganism is optimistic with regard to unaided human nature, whereas Christianity is the religion of the broken heart.” – J. Gresham Machen

  • Stephen Gardner

    Good stuff. You have my name. Or rather, I have yours. I like your perspective. Keep faith in knowing that you will wander but He won’t.

    • http://www.lifeschooled.com/ Daniel Gardner

      It’s great to meet another Gardner! Thank you.

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  • http://sbcjr.com Steven

    Just read this again, and wow…this is excellent. Can’t believe I didn’t comment any of the previous times I read it. Gonna rebrand it for my own son. :)

    • http://www.lifeschooled.com/ Daniel Gardner

      Do it! :)