Tomorrow morning I am supposed to stand up in church and give a testimony about my dad. That should pretty much get me out of buying a gift, right?!
Here’s where my little public speaking nightmare turns into a blog-worthy story:
Mom and Dad came into town for the weekend, and guess what? We all had a fight! About what? As usual, it’s too silly to mention. My family fights (debates firmly…whatever you want to call it). It’s kind of tradition. But I’m still supposed to stand up tomorrow and tell our little church just exactly “how I have been affirmed by my father.”
I refuse to say anything that isn’t completely true. But I also can’t say, “I’ve just had a really rough weekend, and I do not have anything to say on the subject, at least not at this particular time.”
So, in preparation for tomorrow, I looked up “affirm.”
1. To declare positively or firmly; maintain to be true.
2. To support or uphold the validity of; confirm.
Modern day couples and parents have some incredible knowledge that sadly escaped the last generation. Now we know all about a little phenomenon called “Love Languages.” I have the knowledge that my dad and I do not usually speak the same language, even though (in all other regards) we are eerily alike.
While I know, and have always known, that my dad does love me, I struggled to think of specific examples of just how he has shown me that he does. But, for whatever reason, those definitions acted like grease on rusty gears; the wheels finally began to whir.
Here’s what I’ll say tomorrow, because it is 100% the truth:
The number one way my dad has affirmed me is to support me in my mistakes. I so often hear people (mostly Christians) saying things like, “Well, I don’t think they made a wise decision, so they need to dig themselves out of the result. How else will they learn their lesson!?” And while there is minuscule truth to that statement, grace and mercy (when inspired by the Holy Spirit) go so much further than we like to think.
Today in the dollar store I bought a bag of cat food for a woman who was having to choose between oil for her car and food for her cats. While it might be irresponsible of her to own pets when she can’t take care of herself, I don’t think that is my judgement to make. I could have found a very godly sounding reason for not offering to buy her $2 luxury, but it would have been at the expense of a piece of my soul. God told me to buy her cat food, and it’s because George Hawkes Jr. is my father (and Lorie Hawkes is my mother) that I am able to hear the little, seemingly insignificant, things that He speaks to me.
When I was stuck in Denver, broke, abandoned by my roommate, crying myself to sleep, my dad didn’t say, “Well, I could have told you this would happen!” He said, “I can come get you right now, or I can send you some money to help you stick it out.” I took the money and ended up having an incredible nine months in the big city where I made a couple of life-long friends and met the man who is now my husband. I had the confidence to stay and accomplish those things because I knew my dad was behind me, no matter what.
The other, even more important, way that my dad has affirmed me, is to teach me to receive my affirmation from my heavenly father. My dad has instilled in me heavenly definitions of success, love, and failure. It is because George Hawkes Jr. is my father that I never feel like a pauper in a mansion or a queen in a shack. I deeply know the worthlessness of material things, college degrees, and deep pockets if they are not being used to further the Kingdom. I compare my successes and failures to no ones but try my best to hear God’s will for each stage of this otherwise trivial life. And, you know what? When I’m succeeding in that (Lord, help me to succeed in that!), I really like myself.
And that’s all because of my dad.