Honestly, he's taught me so many good things. Like working hard, working for others, and finishing a job. He taught me to be strong, and to learn as much as I can about as much as I can.
I told him one time that no matter how good of a show part-time dad's put on to try to show everyone what a good dad they were, I know he's the kind of dad who was there for me. He was standing at the finish line when I ran my hardest 1/2 marathon, he put his arm around me and held me when I cried when I sold my steer (*and didn't even act like I was silly), he was there for my quiz meets, helped put on llama leaps, has picked me up from the airport hundreds of times, and fixes my car without ever complaining! He taught us how to play basketball--in the living room with a ball of socks. He didn't bail me out when I got into a project over my head. He stood behind me and reassured me that I could tame that steer, or back that rake into the barn, or end that relationship. And when I had to make a hard decision he never told me what to do-even if I cried and begged. He just gave me some things to think about and told me that he knew I would make the right decision. Well, this list could go on forever, but I think you get the idea.
But the things Dad taught me went beyond physical achievements. He encouraged me to know the Lord. He challenged me to read and memorize God's Word, and think about my decisions and actions and how they represent God. He introduced me to Mexico and missions to unreached people. I'm sure he had no idea that would have such a deep impact. He and my mom modeled sacrifice like no human I've ever seen. Imagine, 13 kids, all fed, clothed and educated. And we never had food-stamps or medicaid. They trusted in our God to be faithful-and He always has been. And my earthly dad has been a cool example of unconditional love when I make really poor choices and sacrifice when I don't deserve it, and the encouragement to do more than I think I'm capable of.
This kind of reminds me of someone else...Jesus who "loved me and gave Himself up for me" (Galatians 2:20),
In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that He loved us
and sent His son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. (I John 4:10)He is the ultimate example of love and sacrifice. Of accepting us and loving uis just the way we are. And as cool as my dad is, I can assure you that he probably has felt on a few occassions that he would rather just put me up for adoption--I was a pretty stubborn kid, okay?! But our God is faithful in spite of our sins, longsuffering and kind. He has sent Jesus to pay the debt we've incurred because of our sins that we could never repay. And that's grace. And on top of all of that He showed even more grace by giving me the family I've been given. And because of that, I think no sacrifice is to great to give. As CT Studd once said,
"If Jesus Christ be the Son of God and died for me,
Then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him"