In honor of Fathers Day, today’s next gen writer shares about dads and Fathers Day. In a time of accelerated change, do dads still make a difference? Welcome to my own JoHanna, sharing about one of our epic family memories and one way my Jeff has impacted her life.
“Jump.” He said. I felt disbelief and uncertainty as I stood at the edge of a racing alpine stream. “Dad, this is crazy,” I replied. He smiled confidently, holding out his trekking pole. “You can do it,” he said simply. I was terrified.
Hours earlier I awoke at base camp in the high country of the Wind River Range. We watched elk climb across scree and glacial fields over breakfast, before beginning the ascent of Square Top Mountain. This far in the back-country there were no trails. We had a topo map and my father, a well-seasoned, audacious mountain man. I would rather be stuck in the back-country with my dad than Bear Grylls any day.
Dads lead our journey
The journey to the top took focus and strength. I was entertained by scuttling marmots and cliff dwelling mountain goats. At the summit I was enthralled by stunning peaks in every direction. Slide Lake’s glacial waters glittered below. The 360 view of snow covered peaks went on forever. The rest of the world felt so far away. Our gazing was short-lived as ashen storm clouds moved in, and we decided it was time to descend.
The first rule of adventuring is to never go back the way you came. We traced a new route down the mountain on our map. A few tricky spots were expected, but it was passable. Mountain weather changes dramatically in a matter of minutes. On the way down we endured two blasts of hail and fierce rain. The wind howled between bent, gnarled pines standing like soldiers, solid and strong. We took shelter between cracks of massive boulders and moved quickly between the waves of weather.
We seemed to be getting closer to the bottom when a puzzled look crossed my father’s face. He studied the map closely with my brother, searching for the right way. It wasn’t long before we realized we had chosen the wrong way down. Everywhere we turned we saw sheer drops. We hadn’t come prepared for repelling down slick cliffs. It was time for Plan B. We would find a way down eventually. Even if it meant a night spent in Square Top’s rugged cracks, we were prepared. Dad was determined to find a way down.
We found ourselves at the foot of a rushing, bone-chilling, torrent of water. Meters away it plunged off Square Top’s side below. The bottom wasn’t visible, but I knew it was far enough to be fatal. Dad hopped to the other side, with my brother close behind. Those who know me well know that few things scare me in the woods; I’m more comfortable meandering through trees than in a shopping mall. But this glacial stream was unrelenting, and I knew I was not as strong or coordinated as my two guides. A slip could mean hypothermia at the least and extreme pain at the worst.
Jake stood down stream “just in case.” My skin crawled and my ears rang with the sound of the rapids. I took a deep breath, gained momentum, and jumped across, grabbing desperately for my dad’s stick. I landed a little short and filled my boots with water, but I was safe. Dad smiled reassuringly and I smiled back.
Dads show us a picture
That day, I began to more fully appreciate my dad. He has been a solid rock in my life, giving me security, safety, and confidence. Whether it’s been on the edge of mountain or in the midst of heartbreak, he’s persistently been my guide. He’s provided a tangible picture of my Heavenly Father.
My Heavenly Guide pursues me, cherishes me, strengthens me, and cares for me. There will be times when He asks me to “jump,” as my dad did on Square Top. I may be fearful or unsure, but I can trust Him to get me to other side of any river or down any mountainside.
This summer I’ve had various experiences with younger children at my place of work and in the classroom. I’ve been broken hearted to realize how so many lack fatherly security. There exists a deep void where their father has left them, neglected them, or given them no reason to trust. Hearing their stories of hurt has given me a deeper gratitude for the earthly father I have, but also made me realize how much dads DO matter.
Dads influence our lives
I am convinced that being a father is one of the highest callings in a man’s life. Providing a sense of security, safety, respect, and confidence in someone’s life is invaluable. A Christ-like father can enable and influence in a way like no other.
Psalm 127:3-5 says, “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!”
Fathers, you DO matter in your child’s life. You have an immense opportunity to be a father to your own or a spiritual father to others who have a fatherly void.
Children, appreciate who your earthly dad is. Even more, appreciate your Heavenly Dad, who pursues you like no one else. And when He asks you to “jump,” take a leap.
Today’s next gen guest is my own JoHanna, a sophomore at Cedarville University, pursuing Elementary Education and TESOL. Some things that make her happy are journals, antique shops, dark chocolate covered blueberries, mud on her hiking boot, jasmine loose-leaf tea, farmer’s market mornings, and airports.
TWEET This > Does the #NextGen think dads still make a difference? http://wp.me/p2H4E4-1DI #DadsMatter
or TWEET This > A Christ-like father can enable and influence in a way like no other http://wp.me/p2H4E4-1DI #NextGen #FathersDay