This is Father’s Day weekend. It is bittersweet. Investing in your kids makes you feel like a million bucks! I’m so grateful for Kristen Levitt and husband Josh, Jeremy and Jesi Kendall, Luke and Rachel Kendall. They are a great sense of joy to my life. I’m so proud of them. I will never regret the time I spend with them only regret it wasn’t more. And that leads me to the bittersweet part.

Dads feel like they can never do enough. I had a talk with a dad today. I wished him a happy Father’s Day. He said, he didn’t feel like he was a very good father (he is). And that is the rub. Father’s often feel like they could have done better, like they aren’t as good with relationships as they wish they could be. They regret any poor decisions their family makes and feel responsible.

The world says, get out there and make a great living so your family can live the American dream. The families needs and expectations also rank sky high. How can you make it all work? And then there is the deep desire in many of our hearts to be fully available to Jesus and his church. How do you make it all fit?

That leads me to think about my Dad, Paul Kendall, today. I miss him. He’s enjoying his eternal reward and I’m happy for him. The last decade wasn’t kind to him physically. Like any other kid growing up it is easy to say, I wish this or that would have happened differently. I don’t have a ton of those. But from my perspective now I look back and wonder how he got done all he did. I wonder how he loved so many so deeply and poured himself out for them. I wonder how he gave us the home, the family, the rearing he did. He truly gave himself for us–even to the point that it took a toll on his health.

I learned so much from him. I know I’ll never know how deeply he impacted my life. I know I caught the ability to dream from him. I find it easy to relate to people and I think I got it from both my Mom and my Dad. It was definitely a strength for him. He gave me a tender heart towards God and others. I believe he gave me much of the bold, fearless personality I have. He gave me a strong sense of discipline. I am forever indebted. 

Even in the areas where I wish things had been different I can learn and grow from them. It gives me hope to remember that as often as I can I want to leave a positive example for my children to follow and when I leave one that is less that what I’d like–that is an example too. And I pray they will have the grace and discernment to take what is good and discard the rest.

God will use it for good. I told my friend today, I take confidence from God that if He chose to the use the word “Father” to describe Himself that it means we can expect His help. I’m glad my Dad asked for His help and He gave it. I’m asking too with a grateful heart for all my Dad gave me. And I’m asking with an expectant heart for the ways that I fail. I’m going to embrace Father’s Day even though I wish I could do more and be more.