This Sunday, we’ll be celebrating dads, both naturally and spiritually. In anticipation of this day, we asked long-standing member, Heath Kirkendoll, who is a father of two young boys to talk about what he has learned about a Father’s love:
When I became a parent, I instantly knew my own son’s cry apart from anyone else’s. In a room of crying babies and kids (shudder), I know whether any of the cries are one of mine. And my kid’s cry moves me to action. My oldest is three and a half now, and most of the time when he cries it is because he hurt himself doing something we warned him not to do or because he is blocked from doing something he is not supposed to do. But that does not keep me from running to his side and consoling him. A lesson afterward, yes, but in that moment, he needs comforting, and my love. My love.
It still blows my mind that there is someone out there who wants me before anyone else (except for Mom, of course). Knowing that he wants me uniquely is shaping me into the Dad I am becoming. He wants me uniquely, because I know him uniquely. I know how to talk to him; I know how to console him. He knows he will not be disappointed when he comes to me. I’m his Dad. And when he has a question or needs help, he comes to Dad. When he wants to play with his trains or his Legos, he comes to Dad. When something is broken, he comes to Dad. When he wants to feel proud of a feat, he comes to Dad. I can’t put into words the feeling I have when he comes to me. Nor can I describe how it feels when he leaves satisfied.
Being a Dad has taught me so much about relationships, both with other people (especially my wife) and with God. A dad is meant to be someone we can go to (or run to) to get help, advice, to spend time with, to comfort us, to cheer for us. And why our dads? Because they know us intimately, which is why God is the ultimate Dad. No one knows me better. When I mess up being a dad, I am put at ease because I know I have the best teacher on how to be a dad, my own ultimate Dad.
But there are real challenges to being a dad as well. As one of my own spiritual dads at Liberty Church, Bob Green, has said: “Being around children, especially your own, brings out who you are”. Since becoming a dad, I’ve had to deal with my own impatience, anger, and superficiality—things I thought I had rid myself of since suppressing them a long time ago. But it’s been great to have Bob around to teach and model how to go to my own ultimate Dad to deal with these things, which are not being suppressed but redeemed now. Fatherhood is allowing me to really understand and live Psalm 23. I am comforted and guided by my own Dad, and he helps me to comfort and lead my sons. I love this!
Thanks Heath for sharing and for being a great role model as a godly dad!
Join us at both communities and bring your father, grandfather and friends who are dads or about to become one. 11:00am in Lower Manhattan at Scholastic, 7:00pm in Union Square at the NY Film Academy