“The shortest definition of a Christian is someone who knows God as Father.”
J.I. Packer, as quoted by R. Paul Stevens in his book, Doing God’s Business, Meaning and Motivation in the Marketplace
“For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call HIm, “Abba Father.” For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share in his glory, we must also share his suffering.”
Romans 8:14 – 17 (New Living Translation)
Praying and waiting and praying again and again are all I can do as my wife, Lyn, was wheeled to the delivery room. She was about to give birth to our first child. Will it be a boy or a girl? In no time, the answer came. A hospital attendant came out of the delivery room pushing a pink bassinet with a label, “girl Gabriel”. Yes, I am now a father! I have a baby girl. I never thought before how profound the experience of being a father until I get to know Christ in 1987 two years after our first child was born.
But that moment when I first saw my child, our own daughter, will forever be etched in my mind. Although the hospital building where she was delivered was no longer in that same place (it was demolished and transferred to a much bigger space), I can clearly reconstruct in my mind how that doors of the delivery room opened and closed as I eagerly awaited liberation from severe anxiety of becoming a daddy. It was both a liberating and a profound experience that very first time I saw my daughter, “blood of my blood and bone of my bones”.
And nine years after our first child, the second, third and fourth came, I should say responsibly and intentionally planned. My wife and I are both CPAs so we know that under our Philippine taxation system we are only allowed to claim four additional personal exemptions as income tax deduction so we agreed to stop producing more children after our fourth child. We thought, we now have two girls and two boys so it balanced. The words balanced and reconciled are what CPAs or accountants go for in their work!
I have many fond memories of all of my children. As struggling dual income earners, I remember leaving our first child to the baby-sitter. I recall my daughter’s expressing her sadness and disappointment of being left by her parents when she drew a picture of a crying child in one of the Sunday school activities which she gave to her teacher. It is heartbreaking for us to realize that. But God is good. He allowed me to earn more as my career as a CPA progressed so that my wife can stay home and become a full-time home maker three years after our fourth child was born. Being a full time home maker, she became the Chief Executive Offier of our household while I took on the role of Chief Finance Officer, making sure that we will have the means to provide for all the family’s needs. And just like our Father in heaven who is faithful, I stayed the course of being a loving father to my children and faithful husband to my wife through the years up until now.
Was it easy? Yes and no because there triumphs and successes but there were struggles and challenges too that came our way. It was only for the grace of our loving Father in heaven that we made it.
Now all of my children are grown up now, have completed their education and are blessed with work that they love to do. I pray that they will be faithful too as they serve God and others through their work.
My memory brought be back to the day when my girlfriend and I got married in June 1984. My girlfriend, now my wife, was inspired by the American essayist Erma Bombeck’s quote about children. We decided to adopt that quote as part of our wedding invitation. It reads:
“Children are like kites. You spend a lifetime getting them off the ground. You run until you are both breathless. They crash, they hit the rooftop, you patch and comfort, teach and adjust. Finally they are airborne. You watch them lifted by the wind.
The kite becomes more distant. It needs more string and you keep letting out. But with each twist of the ball of twine there is sadness that goes with joy. For you know it won’t be long before that beautiful creature will snap the lifeline that binds you together and soar as it is meant to soar, free and alone. Only then do you know that you did your job.”
This quote was a fitting tribute to our parents who raised us up and provided us a decent education. It also became a vision for our future role as parent to our children.
Thank you Daddy for being our loving Father in heaven who loves us so much that you gave us your one and only Son, Jesus, your true revelation of who you really are so that we may know you as our own father here on earth as in heaven. Amen!