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My Father’s Richest Blessing

I decided that of all the things he taught me, this was among the best.

A daughter celebrates her father's appreciation of God's blessings on Father's Day

Recently Dad and I sat in on his front deck. The spring day was fresh and clear. He and I had steamy mugs of coffee he’d made. “It was a long winter,” he said.

I sipped, agreed, and smiled. Mom and my smaller boys played in front yard, gliding airplanes made of balsa wood.

“It was worth the wait,” he said. “One of my favorite things is watching the world bud and bloom. Seems in the spring, the Lord made a hundred shades of green.”

Shawnelle as a baby being held by her dad.It was the same thing Dad said every May. He always, without fail, took the time to notice the pale green of flower stems. The fresh, lively green of buds. The new green of young grass that would darken and deepen with summer.

I’d never forget.

As I sat there in the warm sunshine with my dad, I decided that of all the things he taught me, this was among the best. It surpassed that he taught me to ride a bike. To throw a softball. To work an algebra problem.

It’s more valuable than how he taught me to drive. It’s more precious than how he taught me to be gentle and strong all at once or how he modeled caring for others as natural as drawing breath.

This–seeing God all around me, was a rich blessing.

And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is filled with his glory!” (Isaiah 6:3, NIV)


Dad’s awareness, his keen sensitivity, isn’t limited to spring. It flows all year. He sees God’s love for us in the smile of a child. In the way the sky colors. In the way a little one reaches for a loved-ones hand.

He sees God’s goodness in the wonder of a newborn and in the gangly-grace of a teen. He sees the Lord in the soft knowingness of eyes that have seen years beyond his own.

Shawnelle's dad lifting baby Isaiah several years ago.Dad and I sat quietly for a few minutes. There was beauty in the hush, and with Dad, there’s no need to fill spaces. After a moment, a balsa plane sailed over the deck rail and fell at his feet. He bent to retrieve it.

“Thanks, Dad,” I said.

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Now he smiled. He lifted his arm and the plane sailed over the railing, back into the yard.

Perhaps Dad thought I was grateful that he returned the boys’ toy.

That’s not what I meant.

I was thankful that he taught me to see a mighty God’s tenderness in what could be dismissed, overlooked, or taken as the ordinary.

And that, I understood, was anything but small.

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