My Man - Grateful Thoughts for Father's Day 2015

Dear friends,

Bernie is not my father, but he is a father to our four adult children, father-in-law to their two wonderful spouses, and grandfather to eight, and so this father's day I have some thoughts of appreciation for him that I would like to express.

It is really hard to know exactly where to start as I think about it!  When I married my man I really didn't yet know what an excellent father he would be. 

But as childbearing began, he was always excited to enlarge our family and welcomed each child with gratefulness and joy.  One memory I have early on in our parenting adventure is one night when our firstborn wouldn't stop crying and Bernie stayed up and held and walked him most of the night until he fell asleep. (This didn't happen often for me, I was blessed by babies that tended to sleep well.)

The way things worked out in our family is that I was the manager and organizer and schedule maker, always trying to keep things running smoothly and moving forward with what eventually became a busy household of 6 and the demands of homeschooling, but when Bernie was home from his work on college campuses or later with his metro ministry in Washington DC, he was always willing to give a break to me by playing with the children, taking them on outings, retreats, to parks and museums, playing games with them like chess or checkers, or reading them great books. We were certainly a team and he brought leadership, insight and rest to me in my often frazzled days, and balanced my work and accomplishment mindset with play and patience. And for many, many years he maintained his several nights a week basketball playing that gave him exercise and joy, so don't think he was always home helping me!  But when he was home, and not needing to work in his home office, he was usually available and was a great and fun father to our then young ones. 

And as the teen years hit, he moved into a larger role especially with my sons, teaching classes and leading programs they were involved in and I do think they were always proud of their Dad, and although there were tensions at times, I believe he actually was even stronger as a Dad to teens than he was when they were younger.  I have been so blessed by this man for so many years it really is amazing to me that God was so good to me to bring us together!

And his love for God and ministry always was the main core of how he has lived his life, and I am so grateful for that too!  There has been a focus and priority he has given to learning about God and studying as well as teaching scripture and then giving hands and feet and mind to sharing the message of the gospel that has never relented.  He is faithful.  The Lord will surely tell him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant!' And I believe this has marked his children in a way that is so important and significant.

I am thinking how in many ways he really was like a Christ-head to me in our marriage, often sacrificing other things he might have pursued by himself to spend time with the children, and I think he actually liked it. :) Now I must say he is naturally endlessly extremely social and extroverted and spontaneous, (I am the introvert that needs the supposed 'man cave') so that worked well for him.  And how he interacted with his children often was just by including them in ministry things he was already doing, so rather than sacrifice he viewed it as enlarging and making his time even more enjoyable.  All men are different, so I am saying all this not as a model for all men!!; the complementing and sharing that happens in marriage and child raising will be different based on the couple's personalities, and I believe there is always something you can be grateful for if you have eyes to see, and always a way you can be a team!  No one person has it all, no marriage and no person is perfect and you can spend your time complaining about what you don't have or be grateful for what you do.  And I do believe Bernie really has chosen to do that with me; at times I am in awe of how grateful he is for me in spite of my many weaknesses over many years, so how can I do any less for him??

And I have found that when you focus on choosing to be grateful, you actually become grateful. :) I am saying all this not to undermine my true gratefulness for the amazing and wonderful husband and father Bernie really and truly is, but just in the hopes that you don't think, 'Oh she has it so easy, I wish my husband was like that!' and you understand that I really think we all probably have amazing husbands and fathers if we take the time to focus on what they do well and to encourage and be grateful to them for that. And your husband's strengths may well be different than mine's, but he does have them. :)

I really could go on with much more detail so I might add to this later but for now I will end here!

Thank you Lord for bringing me such a wonderful husband!  And Bernie as you read these thoughts I am sharing about you with our many friends, thank you beyond what words can express for all you have been and still are to me! I can't imagine anyone better in the entire world to complete me and to raise up children with me.  God is soooo good, beyond what I deserve for sure!! Thank you thank you!

Happy Father's Day beloved husband of mine!

My love and devotion to you always,

Your LMB :) aka Linda

Photos by: Susan Schmidt Photography