I remember something that we always loved to do. When we saw daddy walking up to the house from the car, we all became ecstatic. "DADDY!!!!" We would all shout as he walked in the door. Arms and legs flying, we'd all try to hug him at the same time, nearly knocking him over. It was a ritual, almost, and something that I loved to do. I also remember that I was going to marry daddy when I was younger. I just knew it. He was the most wonderful man I knew (though I might not have appreciated everything he did).
It takes a good father to change a baby's nasty diaper when he knows his wife is tired. He snuggles with that baby, feeds it in the middle of the night to give mom some extra rest, and realizes that that little baby's future is in his hands (in a sense). He has to raise it and take care of it and provide a loving home for it.
There's a lot of pressure on dads. They have to provide shelter for their families, make money so we can eat and not starve, put clothes on his children's backs, and also provide protection.
My dad does all of these things. We've always had a roof over our heads and a warm bed at night. We've never gone hungry. We've always had good clothing to wear, and we've always felt protected. My dad has done so much for us and continues to do so to this very day. He still wakes up early and drives and hour and a half to work. He works on paperwork, deals with customers, drives out to check out properties, etc. All that can be boring and stressful, yet he does it again and again all because he wants to provide for us.
I have never felt unprotected in my home. On days when I feel upset or lonely, I simply have to go and lean on my daddy. When he wraps his strong arms around me in a hug, I feel warm, safe, and secure. I know that I have someone watching out for me, protecting me, loving me.
One of the things I admire most about my daddy is his teachable spirit. He studies God's word so that he knows how to better himself for/in Christ. He wasn't just a 'hey, I gave my life to Christ, I'll keep on living the same way I did before' guy. He was a 'take action and move on' kind of a guy. He became a Christian and searched for ways to continue to grow in Christ. He still does to this day. He wants to become a better man, and he's not afraid to admit that he's not perfect.
I also admire how he treats my mom. They are best friends. I love watching them tease and joke around with one another. I also love to see the tender looks he gives her, or the joy on his face when they laugh at something together. I love seeing how he cares for her in every way he knows how. However, the best thing with their marriage is seeing the difficult times. That sounds odd, but I love to see how they work it out. How my dad learns he did something wrong and works to change it. It makes me pray that I find a man like him someday to marry. I know God has a man for me (or I certainly hope so!), but I pray that he will be like my daddy in some of these qualities.
Over the years, I've come to realize that my daddy was given to me to give me that 'man love' until my husband comes along. There is something so beautiful about a Father/Daughter relationship. I treasure every moment I get with my dad. When I'm able to spend lots of time with him, my heart tends to not 'sigh' over boys so much. I appreciate how my dad knows this and strives to make sure that we have time together on a regular basis, even if it's just riding in the car while we work cows. He's even willing to stay up all hours of the night talking with me about issues that I'm concerned about. Those are things I treasure.
It also takes a good father to set an example for his children. It's hard to do because we are all sinners and have fallen short of the Glory of God... but, sometimes the failings ARE the best examples because we get to see how he handles those failings and what he does about it. I learn a lot when they don't fail, but I sometimes learn more when they do because they have taught me to get up, dust off, and keep moving on.
I've appreciated how my dad loves me so much, he wants to protect me from all hurt. He knows he can't completely, but he does his best to shield me from the worst. He also knows that I want to save myself for my husband, and he encourages me by helping me make good clothing choices that don't show off my body, or too much skin. He also helps me by telling me how I need to behave around young men so I don't lead any astray and what I need to do if someone seems to 'like' me. He loves me enough to help me in those areas and shows me that he cares about it. My heart always aches for girls that I see when shopping or running errands that don't seem to have caring fathers. They don't show interest while eating lunch together, and they don't seem to take their fatherly role seriously when it comes to protecting their daughters. It makes me appreciate my father even more.
My daddy isn't afraid to give me instructions, whether it be about how to engage people in conversation, or telling me how to drive properly. He loves me enough to do that, even if it seems hard at times (like telling me 'no' if I ask for something that he knows might not be a wise choice).
I appreciate and love my daddy so much. I honestly couldn't ask for another. He isn't perfect, but it's through those short-comings that I see a real man and a good example for me to walk with Christ.
I love you, dad, and I really don't know what I would do without you. :-) Love, Sarah
P.S. Sorry this is a bit 'rambling'.... just sharing my thoughts and appreciations for a wonderful man in my life. :-)