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Parenting On Purpose Part II

December 31, 2010

We learned about found gifts from our friend and pastor, Roy Moran. You can read more about the concept in his blog post. It’s been part of our Christmas tradition for several years, and this year I drew my daughter’s name. Here is the letter that accompanied her gift:

December 24, 2010

Dear Xandra,

It is still hard to believe that you are 18 years old, a legal adult. You can leave home any time, do whatever you want, and there is nothing your mother and I can do to stop you. But you know what? That doesn’t scare me one bit. You have demonstrated time and time again that you are a responsible young woman. God has indeed begun a good work in you, and I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that He will be faithful to complete it. One of my greatest joys in life is that I get to play the role of your earthly father in the good story you are living.

In his book, A Million Miles In A Thousand Years, Don Miller defines “story” as a character who wants something and overcomes conflict to get it. No conflict, no story; or at best, a boring story. Jon Franklin, in Writing For Story, provides a simple model for a story outline: complication, development, and resolution. The way an author weaves those threads together is what engages the reader in a good story. Your story is already exciting, not because of the conflicts you have encountered (like an upset stomach the day you left for South Africa, or a looming PEO scholarship deadline at Thanksgiving), but because of the confidence and persistence you have applied toward finding resolution.

As you go off to college and from there to life on your own, you will encounter numerous conflicts. Life is complicated, and your faith will be tested when resolution is vague and uncertain. When those times come, you’ll need a reminder that there is hope. Perhaps my found gift for you will serve that purpose. It is my key to 2210 Rainbow Drive. I haven’t lived there for almost 30 years, and even though I can no longer return – in a physical sense – it still feels like home. It reminds me that our heavenly Father has reserved a place for us in His eternal home, that one day all the complications of this world will be completely resolved, and we will forever experience the happy ending for which we were created.

My primary role as your earthly father is to point you toward the heavenly Father, and to encourage you to return to Him daily. Sometimes you’ll feel very close to God, as close together as you and I were the night before last, when you rested your head on my shoulder as we watched the video of the Christmas Eve service. That moment, I think, was a foreshadow of eternity. But there will also be times when God seems far away, completely detached and disinterested. Kind of like when you come home from school with something on your mind and I’m busy working on the computer. But you know that I love you, and that God loves you infinitely more than I do. Keep this key close at hand. May it remind you of my love and God’s love; may it offer hope in seemingly hopeless situations; may it give you strength to persist in pursuit of the happy ending.

The role I play as your earthly father will diminish in the coming years. Someday I’ll exit the stage completely but, God willing, I’ll always be watching from the wings. May this key also remind you to return to your earthly home for a visit now and then. I love you so much, Xannie. You make me so proud to be your dad.

Listen… do you hear what I hear?

It’s an echo from the future as God welcomes you into His eternal home: “Well done, sweetheart. Well done.”

Love,

Dad

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One Comment leave one →
  1. December 31, 2010 11:05 am

    Nicely written, Dad, nicely written!

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