Written by: Luisa Parish
In honor of my Daddy and Hero
As a self proclaimed “daddy’s girl” I could write pages and pages about all the reasons my dad is the greatest! He worked hard and provided for his family; he laughed at our jokes and made us laugh in return; and he was a great listener, encourager and supporter. Yet, out of his many great qualities, one thing has always stood out to me above anything else: he has a deep relationship with Jesus!
As a young girl I remember him studying God’s word, praying, fasting, and giving glory to God! He prayed for our family daily and loved to teach us about God’s word. I’ll confess that, as kids, we learned that if we wanted to stay up later than our usual bedtime all we had to do was ask dad a question about the Bible. Dad would begin passionately teaching us all about what we wanted to know while mom stood behind him shaking her head, knowing that we had gotten away with our little trick again! It all paid off though, because much of my knowledge about God comes from my dad’s teaching as well as the example that he lived out as a father, husband, and friend. I can truly say that the teaching and example from my dad helped me discover one of the most important lessons of my life…although it didn’t necessarily come quickly – and it didn’t come exactly as you might expect!
In our younger years it is often easy to take things for granted. Think about it – as a child you walk to the fridge and pour a nice big glass of milk, grab a handful of cookies out of the cupboard, and turn on the TV without a second thought. You go to sleep in our comfortable bed and wake up the next morning with clothes, breakfast, and shoes waiting for you. Until we grow in our understanding of the world we can easily miss the fact that someone has to have worked hard, earned a paycheck, driven to the store, stocked the fridge, and cleaned our laundry in order for life to work together like that!
As a young Christian looking up to my dad, I took some things for granted spiritually as well…
I saw my dad’s relationship with Jesus – his Bible study, his prayer, his passion – and I figured that being a Christian would come easy to me. I thought, “If I commit to a youth group, sing on the worship team, and listen to Christian music, I’ll be doing pretty well!” The trouble is that, in spite of the amazing example my dad showed me, I never looked deep enough to see the real sacrifice and devotion that it takes to have a relationship with Jesus like his.
I came to a point in my life where I realized that even though I claimed to be a Christian who heard and obeyed God I wasn’t nearly as close to Him as I had convinced myself that I was. I wasn’t spending time devoted to Jesus and it was certainly showing up in the way I lived!
1 John 2:6 says that “Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” In order to know Him and obey Him we must spend time with Him. (Crazy concept, I know!) But it’s a simple lesson many of us overlook. Going to church on Sunday’s and Wednesday’s, getting emotional in worship, and knowing a few scriptures in order to sound like you know what you’re talking about doesn’t cut it. I was failing at living the life God wanted for me because I didn’t have a close relationship with Him. I believe that our relationship with God will influence all of the relationships in our lives. If I couldn’t bring myself to honor and obey my Heavenly Father, how well do you think I was doing at honoring and obeying my earthly father? Not well!
You see, as I was growing more and more independent and disconnected from God, I also began to grow independent and disconnected from my dad. Pride leads us to believe that “we can do this life on our own” – we don’t need God’s word, His leading, or His power. I was so caught in pride that I began leading my own life, neglecting my relationship with God. Likewise, my pride drove me to disregard and disrespect the words and leading of my dad.
I was caught in a “me” centered life where both my heavenly and earthly fathers were left behind. After all…I had it all together, right?
Thank God for the investment that dad made in my life as a child, though! Proverbs 22:6 tells parents to “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” All the years of learning from my dad and seeing his example were not lost – God was about to bring me back to the way I was intended for…
I entered a season of my life in which some of my decisions and actions were having a negative impact on my relationships with others. Somehow, one day I had reached my limit and remembered what dad used to do when he needed help…I cried out to God.
In those moments of true humility before God, He helped me see myself clearly for the first time. I wasn’t living a God honoring life. I had to own up to my mistakes, face the consequences and move forward with Christ. I couldn’t simply pretend I was the victim in life any longer. This was one of those amazing moments in life where God’s grace meets you where you are, and leads you back to the path chosen for you to go!
The more time I spent seeking God and spending time with Him, the easier it was to love, honor, obey, forgive, and grow in humility – the hardest one for me to learn! I don’t know how I would have learned to grow in those things, though, had it not been for my dad – and my mom as well!
It helped to have such a good example at home in both parents. I was able to take what I learned from them growing up and apply it to my walk with God. And, because my father was such a godly man, there was love and forgiveness and grace extended when I didn’t deserve it. I believe that my relationship with my heavenly father is strong because of my earthly father’s example. My relationship with my earthly father is stronger because of the love of my heavenly father. In order to have healthy relationships with those on earth we must have a healthy relationship with our heavenly father.
Our father’s and mother’s can point us in the right direction and teach us the best they can but it’s up to us to make the decision to seek God with all our hearts. I am so thankful for the father God has blessed me with. To this day I am still amazed by his love for us, his patience and the grace he extends to all those around him. I hope to be like him one day!
Luisa Parish is big on family, friends and cake! She lives in Sudbury ON with her husband Corey, who is the associate Pastor at New Sudbury Pentecostal, with their two gorgeous children. She is a part time radio Dj, has a love for music, baking, crafting, and having spur of the moment dance parties with her kids.